The 6th International Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2019
Sydney, Australia – Monday 3rd February 2020
Professional and amateur photographers worldwide were invited to enter the sixth International Landscape Photographer of the Year competition for a chance to share in the prize pool, including US$10,000 cash.
From over 3400 entries from nearly 1000 photographers from around the world, the winner of the sixth International Landscape Photographer of the Year (based on a folio submission of at least 4 images) is Oleg Ershov from Russia.
Q: What does it take to win the International Landscape Photographer of the Year Award?
A: Four strong and inspiring landscape photographs and at least one of them must have been selected in the Top 101 as well. The idea behind the Photographer of the Year Award, as distinguished from the Photograph of the Year or the Top 101 Photographs, is that we’re looking for a photographer who can provide more than a single winning image. We want entrants to demonstrate that not only can they produce a world-class photograph, but there’s a degree of consistency and repeatability to their skill and imagination as a photographer.
This year’s winner Oleg Ershov has demonstrated both skill and imagination with an inspiring series of brilliant landscape photographs. Wrote an excited Oleg from his home in Moscow, Russia, “My passion for landscape photography is based on a love of nature, especially in places where human intervention is not yet visible. Just being in a location at dawn and watching the start of a new day gives me tremendous vitality.”
Oleg is an amateur landscape photographer, funding his passion by working for a food distribution company.
“My interest for photography began in 2007 when I bought my first DSLR camera and signed up for a photo tour to the Southwest USA. I was struck by the tremendous variety of landscapes, colors, and textures found in nature. Since then, I spend all my free time improving my skills and knowledge in landscape photography. I usually spend six weeks a year on photo trips, sometimes in groups, often on my own.”
Oleg says that at the beginning of his career, he really liked shooting panoramas. “In fact, I shot panoramas most of the time – multi-row, HDR and vertical – but then I met landscape photographers such as Joe Cornish, David Ward, Rafael Rojas, and Bruce Percy. I didn’t try to copy their styles, rather I took from them what I liked the best and then gradually, I felt that my skills were improving and that my work was becoming more serious.” Now Oleg also enjoys vertical landscapes because of their dynamism, expressiveness, and depth, and indeed all four of his winning entries are verticals.
“I have always used full-frame Canon EOS 5D-series cameras. Currently, it is the Canon EOS 5DSR because the high number of megapixels is very important for landscape photography and for me personally. “Regarding lenses, I started with the holy trinity of Canon zooms (16-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm). They were convenient, universal and generally accepted. Then there was a period when I was fascinated with tilt-shift lenses (Canon’s 17mm and 24mm and Schneider- Kreuznach’s 50mm and 90mm), which required much more time to build a frame, but this was compensated by the sharpness and geometry of the image.
“Today, I use two Canon zooms (24-70mm and 100-400mm) for versatility and three Zeiss Otus prime lenses (28mm, 55mm and 85 mm) due to their unsurpassed quality. Of course, it can be challenging to carry 1.5 kg lenses, but ‘good glass is heavy glass’.”
Oleg uses Gura Gear camera backpacks and loves Really Right Stuff tripods, heads and plates. “It would be unfair not to mention Lee’s ND and graduated ND filters, although instead of using the latter, I often do several exposures for HDR. And I must say thanks to Sandisk memory cards that have never let me down, plus I keep copies of the files on my trips with two fast and compact Sandisk Extreme SSDs.”
Oleg’s favorite destinations for landscape photography are Iceland, Scotland and the USA’s Southwest. “I always return to my favorite places because this allows me to get to know the country better and to find new scenes and places to shoot. When I immerse myself in a familiar environment and slow down the pace, my productivity increases many times over. For example, I have been to Iceland 15 times and it took me 10 years to make my first photo book, but the second book only required two visits in 2019 and it turned out even better than the first!
“I try to get an almost finished shot right from the camera and limit myself to minimal edits. I usually do 95% of the processing in Adobe Camera Raw, taking maybe 10-15 minutes, including panoramas and HDR. Finally, I’ll use Adobe Photoshop for content-aware removal of fellow photographers from the foreground or focus stacking, and sometimes I’ll do the finishing touches using the Color EFEX Pro and Silver EFEX Pro from Nik Collection 2 filters.”
And Oleg says that a photo is only good when it’s on a wall and so his workflow is focused on creating large prints. “I make the prints myself on an Epson SC-7000, so megapixels and attention to details are important to me. And we have no doubt his prints look exceptional!
French photographer Magali Chesnel says salt marshes are one of her favorite subjects. Her winning photo, titled The Harvest of Road Salt, depicts The Salin de l’île Saint-Martin in Gruissan with tiny vehicles below harvesting the road salt.
“I thought it would create an amazing abstract aerial photo, with the white of the salt contrasting against the bright pink colors, thanks to the proliferation of a red alga, the Dunaliella salina. From the ground, this scene doesn’t look glamorous at all, but from a bird’s eye view, it becomes unexpected, beautiful and like a painting.”
While a native of Brittany, award-winning Magali currently works in Geneva as an executive assistant and says she is a self-taught photographer and painter. “I spend most of my free time feeding my imagination, by reading what’s going on in art magazines, on social networks, what are the latest exhibitions, who are the emerging talents and which styles are being recognized.
“I studied Applied Arts where drawing and painting were my favorite subjects, but I moved over to photography in 2016 after flying over Camargue on a ULM (Ultra Light Motor) aircraft. It was a revelation and since this flight, aerial photography has become a need, a therapy, a passion.
“By observing the landscape from above, I discovered the spectacular designs of Mother Nature which blend together to form a canvas which never fails to impress me.”
Magali says she is influenced and inspired by American abstract painter Mark Rothko’s principles. “I rely on the primacy of raw emotion and push the boundaries between photography and painting to offer an extra dimension, a degree of confusion, which offers incredible views and a ‘wow factor’.
“However, my responsibility is to present the subject in a manner both factually and ethically true to the narrative I am documenting.”
Magali took her first aerial photos with a Nikon Coolpix P7700 and then advanced to a Nikon D500. However, she has since discovered the joy of drones and is currently the proud owner of a DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
“I am always carrying my drone in its shoulder bag with five extra batteries, so I never miss a photo, even when I’m in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity to re-charge my batteries. The drone is my favorite tool so far because it allows me to discover and to immortalize inaccessible landscapes and to express my style from above, my favorite viewing angle.
“I may also be one of those rare people who is not dependent on photo editing. Indeed, I don’t use Photoshop or Lightroom. Rather, I always do my best to shoot correctly in camera and this allows me to keep my images looking as natural as possible.
“Before traveling, I find the locations on Google Earth so I can understand what the best angles are likely to be and what the light and weather conditions could do. I understood very quickly that this increases my chances of capturing the perfect shot I have in mind.
“I’m generally looking for atypical landscapes where, ideally, there’s some confusion between reality and illusion, where photography and painting are at their apogee, with vivid and natural colors, geometric shapes and strong contrasts. I like subjects where the boundary between macrocosm and microcosm becomes a question of scale, especially from the air.
“For me, photography is the art of storytelling without words. I take photos with my experiences, my emotions, my heart and the light of my inner world.”
And More Winners . . .
There are also some special awards which change each year to keep things interesting and the 2019 winners are:
The Top 101
The top 101 is the result of expert opinions collaborating to curate a wonderful exhibit of the world’s best contemporary landscape photography. Our thanks go to:
-David Burnett, co-founder Contact Press Images, USA
-Tim Parkin, ON LANDSCAPE Magazine Editor
-Adam Gibbs, 2018 International Landscape Photographer of the Year
-Kaye Davis, NZIPP Grand Master of Photography
-Jim M Goldstein, Fine Art Photographer and Author, USA
Chairman of Judges, Peter Eastway says; “While humanity concerns itself with the challenges of climate change, landscape photographers are doing their part, revealing and showcasing just how amazing and worth saving our planet is. As you turn the pages of this book, we’re sure you’ll marvel at the diversity of locations and revel in the beauty of the scenes that have been captured and created in our world.”
“The International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards 2019 presents 101 superb landscape photographs, selected by our experienced judging panel and chosen from over 3400 entries received from all around the world. We really do have a global audience and a global reach.”
“Each year, the Awards have two main prizes. The Photograph of the Year is awarded to the best single landscape photograph, while to be named International Landscape PhotographER of the Year requires a set of four images. This is our main prize, acknowledging the additional skill and artistry required to produce a portfolio of landscape photographs.”
“However, even the winners will admit there is by necessity an element of luck to take out a top prize. In comparison, to have one of the top 101 landscape photographs of the year is more a matter of skill, consistency and, for many, persistence.”
“Please enjoy the sixth edition of our annual award – and the best international landscape photographs of 2019.”
For all the details and winners, and the top 101 images, please visit the website and download the eBook
For more media information including images for publication, contact [email protected]
Please enjoy these images. Click on an image to see larger and navigate by clicking the right or left side arrow. I hope these serve as an inspiration to you.
Photography is my passion and has been for 47 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of pictures taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through photoPXL.com, this site as well as Rockhopper Workshops and other projects as well as teaching at my Gallery in Indianapolis.