The annual Epson Pano Awards is an international competition recognizing the art and craft of panorama photography. Advances in digital photography and editing software has resulted in an ever-increasing rise in the popularity of image stitching, especially in the panoramic format. The 2016 event received over 4545 entries from 1066 photographers in 60 countries, and resulted in some truly exceptional images.
Alex Noriega, from the US, won the overall competition, which celebrates panoramic photography, with his snowy entry Hibernation, featuring trees on Mount Rainier.
Australian photographer Rodney Trenchard was awarded the curator’s award for his photo The Cloud Piercer of Lake Pukaki in New Zealand.
The winner of the VR/360 Award goes to Oleg Gaponyuk of Russia for this amazing underwater image of Mexico’s Pit Cave.
Open Award Winner – Nature / Landscape
Alex Noriega, United States
Hibernation, Mount Rainier, Washington
I’m honored that the judges appreciated these images as much as I enjoyed making them! We all, as nature photographers, have surely chased wide, grand vistas and colorful skies at some point or another. But the first and second-place images, “Hibernation” and “Funnel Factory”, are the most satisfying type of image for me to make. Almost abstract, in soft light, and isolated. They were made at a couple of my favorite places – Mount Rainier, Washington, and the middle of the desert in Utah. The image of Mount Whitney, California, is likewise my ideal type of mountain image – a tighter panoramic portrait that shows the details of the peak in dappled storm light. All of these images are among my personal favorites, so thank you to the judges for rating them so highly!
Open Award Winner – Built Environment / Architecture
Xose Casal, Spain
Submerged Church, Sau Lake, Barcelona, Spain
Amateur Award Winner – Nature / Landscape
Nicholas Roemmelt, Austria
Perfect Night, Tyrol, Austria
It really makes me proud that these three pictures chosen by the jury won me the title of the “Epson International Pano Awards Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016“ as they all have one thing in common: Each of those pictures are in the TOP 10 of my personal favorite panoramas that I have taken in year 2016 and each of those pictures have a story. No one was an easy snap and as a full time dentist it is sometimes hard to live your (photographic) dreams next to your everyday business. So I made a virtue of necessity and focused on starscape photography mainly, being able to capture my dreams ‘after work’.
The Milky Way panorama has been taken on a peak next to my little hometown in Tyrol, and you even can see the lights of my city in the valley. Though it has taken me 2 years and several fruitless trials to realize that planned shot due to bad weather conditions on that mountain.
The three peaks of the “Tre cime di lavaredo” in the Dolomites are probably one of the most often photographed spots within the Dolomites or even within Europe and I wanted to find a different angle at that location. I had to scramble over some rocks off the beaten paths to find that spot that I already had planned virtually at home. Finally I found that place and the weather gods meant well for me that evening and gave this magical light during sunset.
After all my personal favorite is “The Photographer“ on the top of that sand dune in front of the Icelandic Vestrahorn. My buddy Niki Haselwanter was struggling to stand his ground on that sand dune for the exposure while being sandblasted. Blizzards kept on hitting the coastline that night. But during the short gaps in the clouds we were able to witness wonderful northern lights over the Vestrahorn. The clearing gaps only lasted for a few minutes so we had to be quick to take our shots before the next blizzard was hitting us again.
Amateur Award Winner – Built Environment / Architecture
Andreas Paehge, Germany
Colored 14, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
2016 Carolyn Mitchum Award 1st Place
Hougaard Malan, South Africa
Will to Live, Ruacana Falls, Namibia
Namibia has always been a land of extreme juxtapositions and this image is no exception. While the majority of the country is in one of the worst droughts of the past century, it’s border to the North; the Kunene river, was flowing in full force for most of February and March this year. This was thanks to plentiful rainfall in the highlands of Angola. Driving through a drought-stricken Namibia for days to eventually arrive at the mighty Kunene plunging down this gorge, was an experience I’ll never forget. Despite having a full two days there, I was immediately overwhelmed with the panic and fear of not capturing this majestic and ultra-rare display of nature. After a lot of exploring I eventually found this angle and the ideal composition of it. In the frantic shooting I broke my Lee Little Stopper, but luckily only after I captured this frame.
I am completely overwhelmed and grateful to be the winner of this award. It carries two special meanings to me – The first is that it’s in honour of Carolyn Mitchum, who recently lost her battle with cancer. The primary artistic influence in my life was my mom, who I also lost to cancer several years ago. I’m humbled that I can honour the two of them with a photograph of mine – a special thanks to Jeff and his late wife. The second reason is what this reward represents – honesty and integrity in photography. In a time when the hype is all around post processing and making images on the computer, I’m proud to be able to show people that striking images can still be made almost entirely in-camera. People need to be reminded of the merits of chasing the light and making images in the field and how rewarding it is when the hard work pays off.
2016 Carolyn Mitchum Award 2nd Place
Dmitry Arkhipov, Russia
Arctic Landscape, North Atlantic
2016 Carolyn Mitchum Award 3rd Place
Yi Sun, United Kingdom
Tree Lake, Mojave Desert, California, United States
2016 EPSON Digital Art Prize 1st Place
Marsel van Oosten, Netherlands
The Lone Tuareg, Libya
2016 EPSON Digital Art Prize 2nd Place
Hougaard Malan, South Africa
Dawn Fire, Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia
2016 EPSON Digital Art Prize 3rd Place
Jannick Clausen, Australia
Barcode Flight, Denmark