The winners of the 2021 Epson International Pano Awards have just been announced and this year's images are breathtakingly beautiful. From the mystical marshlands of Louisiana to the colorful but toxic landscapes of Huelva, Spain, the category winners couldn’t be more different.
The overall winner of the 2021 Open competition was US photographer Joshua Herman who submitted three entries - Eternal Triangle, Morning Burn and Ancient Backwaters. All taken in the marshlands and swamps of Louisiana, the three images show how much difference the time of day and season can make. Each picture focuses on a different cypress tree, each beautiful in its own right.
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Herman describes how he created the image Morning Burn, ‘When conditions are right and cool moist air begins to warm over water in the swamp, mist begins to form over the water. If you are lucky enough for the mist to stick around when the sun breaks the horizon, a wonderful show takes place. There is a short window of time where the sun begins to set the mist ablaze with light. As I paddled, the scene constantly changed in front of me while the sun inched higher above the horizon. I stopped in front of this grove and setup my camera as the swamp put on a light show went on in front of me.”
Austrian photographer Daniel Trippolt received first prize in the amateur competition for a series of images entitled Shining Night, Shining Heart and Legendary Peaks. Taken in Slovenia, Switzerland and Italy respectively, Trippolt’s images are truly stunning landscapes that capture light from the stars, moon and sun in a way that feels ethereal. Trippolt got into photography when he was just 12 years-old after his father gave him his first camera.
“Every second of my free time was used to take photos of everything and everyone. From animal photography to sport, architecture and portrait photography, I tried everything and found my greatest passion and hobby in landscape photography.”
Trippolt specializes in hyperreal landscape photography which distinguishes from other Austrian landscape photographers. The fact that the Covid crisis has limited his ability to shoot over the last two years, makes him even happier he won the amateur awards.
The final category was for the Epson Digital Art Prize which was won by Spanish photographer Manuel Enrique González Carmona for his abstract image, Anatomy Lesson. In all honesty, the photo looks more like an abstract painting but it is in fact taken using his drone. Carmona explains, “ “Minerals, water and water currents are the ingredients with which nature creates these ephemeral landscapes. With each rainy period, the canvas is transformed. This canvas is actually a raft of toxic waste from a copper mine, located in the province of Huelva, Spain, which was captured by aerial shooting. These ephemeral formations will disappear with the next intense rains.”
As he lives just an hour away from these ever-changing formations, he usually visits once a week and there are always countless new structures that allow him to create countless abstractions and figurations. Carmona often feels like he is capturing fragments of a piece of art done by an abstract impressionist painter rather than capturing something that happens naturally.
The Epson International Pano Awards is the largest competition for panoramic photography. This year the competition received 5,378 entries from 1,245 professional and amateur photographers in 97 countries, despite the global pandemic.
Other categories included a VR/360 category which was won by Russian photographer Oleg Gaponyuk for his 360-degree image of a Jellyfish lake in Palau plus a raw planet award, a curators award and a Nikon Australia award. Special awards were also handed out to photographers for the highest scoring aerial image, smartphone pano, film capture and IAPP member.
Competition curator, David Evans was blown away by this year's entries, describing them as “nothing short of amazing”. He said, “We are yet again, overwhelmed with the level of support from entrant and sponsors, especially Epson and we thank you all so very much and also congratulate all this year’s winners and entrants.”
To see the top 50 winning images and to find out which photos won the special awards, head to the Pano Awards website where you can also find out information about prizes, who judged the competition and join the mailing list to be the first to find out about next years competition.
Scroll below to see a selection of our favorite images: