Diane (11.26.10, 4:55 PM): Congrats to everyone who made it to the semi-finalists list! When does the voting start?

Cleon M (11.25.10, 7:53 PM): wow i never expected that i wood be nominated my photo is #5 the black and white male (cell phone division) thank you Michael and also all the people who vote for me.

Mark Nuttall (11.25.10, 5:11 PM): Wow, I'm in the semis for landscape!! This is the first competition I've ever entered, and didn't think I stood any sort of a shot at it. I won't be going any further than this - the quality of pretty much all of the other images in my category is head and shoulders above mine - but am so pleased to have progressed this far. As a (very) amateur togger, I'm made up :) And a massive thanks to Michael for the amount of effort that must go in to organising this contest.

Punman (11.25.10, 7:04 AM): Thank you Michael. I, for one, am very happy that I even got nominated amoungst the rest of this tremendous talent. I never entered this expecting to get selected, let alone win. I instead wanted to learn and get inspiration, and that I have certainly done. I now have idea brewing for next year, and for other comps. Thank you for all your hard work in the background. It is very much appreciated.

Michael Andrew (11.25.10, 4:49 AM): First let me say thank you to those who appreciate what I am trying to accomplish. The contest is more work than you can imagine. I am learning that I cannot keep everyone happy, and some people will not like my rules, but for majority of the contestants, it has been a positive experience. Im doubtful about the "only pros can win" theory. All of last years 1st place winners were non-pros. Kate Justice placed in several categories and is still not shooting professionally, her images last year are as good as any finalists this year. Lastly, we have an 11 year old girl who is a semi-finalist this year, so. I like some of you suggestions, like only those images which have not won another contest can enter, but some suggestions made are not practical, nor enforceable - and I am learning somoene is always going to be unhappy. Sorry that is the case. I will continue to do my best.

Alex Rubio (11.25.10, 2:13 AM): Hi Shannon. couldn't have said it better myself. LOVE the contests Michael, keep them coming and THANK YOU again for having them, ALL the work you do is appreciated immensely.

Shannon Morgan Photography (11.24.10, 10:26 PM): As the overall winner of this competition last year, and a nominee in the portrait division, but NOT a semi finalist, this year, I have to say, holy crap, you people are talented :)!!! The caliber of work submitted this year has been exceptional. I for one am beyond excited to see how far this competition as come from this year to last. I have SOOO much to learn, and sometimes it is over whelming. But for me that is probably the thing that I love most about photography. It is a never ending journey. I may or may not EVER be as good as these semi finalists, but it sure is going to be fun trying :)! Good luck to you ALL!!!!

Sam (11.24.10, 7:10 PM): No one is asking Michael to change any rules to stack the odds. No one has gotten upset at Michael and said he picked bad photos. No one has said they will stop being his customer. No one has said they wouldn't enter again. People have made observations about the contest and noted them, nothing more. If Michael wants to take those opinions to heart and see if they are warranted then great. Like he has said, these contests are a learning process for him. Maybe there are ways to improve it next year. No one is complaining about not liking it this year, people are just noting that they are up against professionals so good it is against all odds. So, how can I improve to get to that level....Let's see, go to film school, quit my job, make photography a profession, etc...(ain't gonna happen for the majority of us). Can Michael adjust the comp by having different divisions? That would seem easier to me then asking everyone on this site to dedicate their life to professional photography. It's like trying to play Tiger Woods in golf, if I said to you in a straight face... If you can't compete with him then go improve. You'd probably laugh at me and quickly come to the realization that it's just not possible.

Jerry J (11.24.10, 6:38 PM): Being a good friend of Michael, I know that he is already considering not having this contest next year because it just isn't worth the time, money, and hassle. It is unreasonable for anyone to expect him to change every (or even any) rule to stack the odds in their favor. I would suggest that if you lack the skill to be competitive, it would be more constructive to ask yourself how you can improve instead of trying to blame someone else.

John Scott (11.24.10, 4:57 PM): I'm with Dale. This contest has turned into a bit of a monster from last year to this, with over 2,000 entries. From what I can tell about Michael he's all about encouraging and developing new amateur photographers like myself. With the outstanding quality of many of these shots, some apparently submitted by long-time pros, how does Michael keep the amateurs excited about entering their shots? After this year many could just figure "why bother" when next year rolls around. I too would suggest the possibility of having Amateur and Pro divisions with the definition of Pro being anyone who has ever received any type of remuneration for a photo. Obviously this would have to be on the honor system with some type of penalties if caught cheating. This approach works in other types of competitions and I feel it is at least worth considering for this one. Thanks for your time and any feedback.

Adrian (11.24.10, 3:46 PM): how about an MA products division? all pictures must use lollipops, paintballer, or cite the chapter and the DVD that helped you make the picture into what it is.

Dale (11.24.10, 11:34 AM): Jose, agreed. Something similar would be good as others have noted. A handicap of sorts. Like in golf. Have something like amateur/pro. 1-5 years experience division, 5-10 years. It all depends on who Michael targets the competition too I suppose. If he wants to show great amateur work or showcase people who have learned things from him; or from director/producers who have worked with Spike Lee and have done photo shoots with Dennis Hopper. Only Michael can decide that. This contest has obviously got a wide range of submissions this year and maybe adjustments are in order next year or maybe not.

Suman Debnath (11.24.10, 10:51 AM): I feel the 7D goes for Landscape.........so stunning pictures are posted :-) ...............I have submitted pics for 4 categories and my snap was not nominated for Portrait....but I am not at all disappointed.....I learnt to get a good Portrait - one must focus on the eye of the person......well that is one of the factors one should keep in mind while shooting for portrait....

Jose (11.24.10, 9:21 AM): Sorry I posted in wrong post before. For the next year contest. I think that is necessary don't allow photos that was winner in other contest. (basic rule in other international contest) Example: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/energizer/winners/2010/3/

Sam (11.24.10, 2:51 AM): What kind of a contest would it be if there weren't top notch (pro quality) images? This has been a great learning experience for me in realizing I have a lot of room to grow and improve. I would rather compete against the best and get better.

Steven (11.24.10, 2:38 AM): No, but being able to do it full time like a professional does sure will. Go ahead, tell me it wouldn't...read my post again slowly, great contest, lesson learned, etc.... Currently the contest is set up to play the Michael Jordan's of photography, Not the average person buying a DVD to get better at photography on the weekend. It's all good, different mindset going into next years comp is all.

Sam (11.24.10, 1:41 AM): Hey Steven...Complaining will not improve your images.

Steven (11.23.10, 10:57 PM): To Michael, First, this is your contest and I respect that, it has great prizes and there are some INCREDIBLE images. I am not bitter for not getting picked. Why? Because now I know what I was up against. I know for a fact that AT LEAST one of the semi finalists is a professional photographer, producer, and director in NY city for the last 14 YEARS with 3 degrees in film, arts, and photography. So, your argument about pros not entering is way off base and although a camera won't motivate them, selling it for $1,600 will. That's a nice chunk of change in today's economy, it's not a $50 gift card to Red Lobster. So, what I'm saying is that all the people who buy a DVD from you on how to operate a 40D or a speedlite have ZERO chance to win when up against the caliber noted above. So, that is what I have learned (this being my first year to enter). Enter for fun only, and know that people who do this for a living day in and day out and who travel the world for this will have a HUGE advantage. I now know I am not competing with others who bought a DVD recently, I am competing with the BEST photographers in the WORLD. It's just real world facts, that's all. Unless something is done to level the playing field like is done with 1aa football vs 1a football then expect the 1a team to WIN IN A BIG WAY. Maybe you have learned about how the amateur feels or maybe not. Just throwing it out there. I look forward to see who wins! Please take this the right way. Cheers :)

Kathy (11.23.10, 9:09 PM): Thanks for letting us see these early! I think you did a wonderful job narrowing them down. There are some awesome shots here and very deserving of where they placed! Thanks Michael for the opportunity to compete!!!! The competition will get steeper every year and I'm already thinking about my submissions for next year if you do this again! :)

Adrian (11.23.10, 8:34 PM): Everyone who is critical needs to realize that this isn't a math test. there are no right answers. art is subjective and as much as I think my pictures were as good as many of the finalists, I realize it just wasn't in the cards for me this year. if you didn't make it, take it like a man (or woman) and be happy for those who win.

Cherry (11.23.10, 7:55 PM): I feel so honored to have been a nominee in some of the catergories! Beyond excited that one of mine made it to the semi finals. Thank you Michael for putting on this contest. It lit that spark back in me that I have been missing for the past few months:~)

Shannon Wimberly (11.23.10, 7:33 PM): No doubt you picked the best ones Michael.... they are all amazing and inspiring and thank you for going through all the trouble of hosting a contest...please don't let the critical few spoil the process. All these great photos make me want to go out and try to achieve the level of incredible that I see in these gorgeous shots....

Dina (11.23.10, 6:31 PM): Just wanted to say thanks Michael for all you do!!!

Michael Andrew (11.23.10, 5:50 PM): Most "pro" photographers are not motivated by contests to win a new camera, even as cool as the 7D. If they are really good at what they do, they probably have a 7D, 5Dii or better and wouldn't be interested. I am a little disappointed at the number of people who are critical of the contest and how it is being done. There will only be a few 1st place winners, but the whole idea of the contest is to recognize the great talent that is out there, and to see ways we can improve. I am really thankful to everyone who has participated and have learned so much.

Christie (11.23.10, 5:09 PM): Sounds like crickets around here... Lot's of devastation going around no doubt. The work here is so outstanding though it will be curious to see how many are professionals. I guess I assumed Michael was a teacher and therefore most of his traffic would be "non pros". Maybe one day he can have a contest for amateurs only or clients only or something? Or, maybe I'm completely wrong and all these people are fantastic amateur weekend photographers :)

Ray (11.23.10, 12:49 PM): Good luck to everyone!! ..........bummed I am out.

Ramez (11.23.10, 10:18 AM): What's the chance that the one who will win the Canon 7D camera already has a 7D camera?

Suman Debnath (11.23.10, 5:12 AM): I knew it I knew it.......... :) I am in ................for macro :) Thanks Michael so much............