The Rockaway Times Photo Contest/ Photo Expo closed to entries on Thursday, April 30 and eight judges went to work sorting through hundreds of outstanding photos, making the selection process this year the toughest one yet. Judges included reps from The Rockaway Times, co-sponsors the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, NYC Ferry, and NYC Parks. To ensure fairness, the judges were given access to the photos with numbers as identifiers. No names.

The categories this year included Rockaway Life (a wide-ranging category allowing photographers to submit photos that capture peninsula life); Boardwalk Life; Pets/Animals; In the Water; and Humor/Fun. Six photos were picked for each category.

In addition to the Top 30, five Honorable Mention photos were selected as well. The TOP 30 will be blown up to poster-size and be affixed to the boardwalk railing in the area of Beach 95th Street and will be eligible to win the $500 Grand Prize when the top photo is selected later in the summer.

Although not eligible to claim top prize, the Honorable Mention selections will also have their photos enlarged and placed at the ferry dock or elsewhere on the boardwalk. The photos will appear in future editions of The Rockaway Times.

This year’s TOP 30 include an entry by 2018 winner Don Riepe. Several photographers who’ve made it to the finals in past years are again in the competition for the 2020 top prize.

Argirios Kostaras (Mister Softee) has landed three photos in this year’s competition.

One caveat: We may be forced to withdraw a couple of photos because the resolution is not a high enough grade. When photos with low-res are enlarged, they often become pixelated and lose their beauty. One of the rules of the competition was to submit high-res photos only. If any photos can’t make the cut, they will be replaced by photos in the Honorable Mention category. Work is being done on the photos at Duggal Studio in Manhattan. They will advise us regarding the photo quality.

The Top 30 photos are in this week’s paper – see pages 13,14 and 15. In addition to appearing in the paper, and on the boardwalk, the photos will be posted on Instagram and on so make sure you subscribe and follow The Rockaway Times!

Oh, and one more thing. One of the photos from the contest, not necessarily a Finalist or Honorable Mention, will be selected as the cover for the upcoming Rockaway Summer Guide.