Bing Earth Day Winner Is a Honey of a Photo

REDMOND, Wash. – April 21, 2010 – Out of more than 17,000 entries, Alan Bosse’s photo of a bee gathering nectar from a riotously colored passion fruit blossom has been voted the winner of Bing’s first Earth Day Photo Contest.

Picture of a bee gathering pollen earns Alan Bosse top prize from 17,000 entrants.

Bosse, who lives in Panama City, Florida, and attends Gulf Coast Community College, took the photo in California using a Fujifilm FinePix S8100 camera. The picture will appear on the Bing home page April 22 – Earth Day – as the featured daily photo.

Stephanie Horstmanshof, managing editor for Bing, says her team was nearly overwhelmed by the response to the contest. “There was a lot of word-of-mouth about the contest,” she says. “And the Bing home page photos are something that people really can grasp easily. It’s the big ‘wow’ feature of the Bing page.”

To choose 12 finalists from the entries, which were in four age-group categories (ages 5-10, 11-13, 14-17 and 18+), Horstmanshof and her co-workers holed up in a darkened room for hours, studying blocks of 20 photos at a time. “We just flipped through them looking for things that caught our eye,” she says. “What we wanted were pictures that were high-quality, beautiful, and that make you want to learn the story behind the picture.”

The quality of the entries surprised the Bing team. “They were much better than we expected,” Horstmanshof says. “We weren’t sure what we would get, especially in the younger age groups. We loved the fact that the entrants really put some thought into what they were doing. They really took the Earth Day theme to heart, and it was fun to see the different ways people worked with the theme.”

Once the 12 finalists were selected, their photos were posted on a Bing Earth Day Photo Contest site. Visitors to the site could then pick their favorites. More than 200,000 votes were cast. Among the finalists were a photo of a grey whale’s tail slapping the ocean’s surface; a green iguana peering from tropical foliage; and a sweeping vista of a mountain range in Alaska.

In addition to Bosse, who won the 18+ age category as well as the grand prize, the other three winners are:

5-10 year olds: A 4th grader at Lomond View Elementary School in Pleasant View, Utah, for a photo of the gray whale off the coast of Maui.

11-13 year olds: A 7th grader at who attends Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont, N.Y., who captured a butterfly at rest.

14-17 year olds: a 12th grader at Princeton High School in Princeton, N.J., and snapped the bold iguana in Puerto Rico.

Although Bosse earned the big award – seeing his photo appear on the Bing homepage – the winner in each age group also earned prizes. Each won a trip for two to the Microsoft campus to take part in a Bing editorial team meeting where they will help pick images for future home pages. Also, each winner receives equipment from Hewlett-Packard and Canon to help build digital photo resources at their school. Prizes for individual winners and their schools across the four age groups will total more than $70,000.

In addition, Bing gave out $5 GivingCards each day during the finalist voting round.  To date, people who voted have made donations on the site to more than 6,500 projects across the country, with these projects benefitting more than 170,000 students.

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