That is landscape photography at its most unfiltered.
These breathtaking pictures are prizewinners within the 2022 Natural Landscape Photography Awards (NLPA), an annual contest that honours photographers who ‘value realism and authenticity of their work’.
The competition has strict rules in place to ‘avoid the sorts of deceptive digital editing techniques which have change into commonplace in landscape photography’. Easy post-processing techniques are permitted, but extreme photoshopping tricks – equivalent to introducing or removing elements like trees or birds – aren’t allowed. The result? Incredible landscape photography that guarantees the viewer won’t feel ‘deceived’ in the event that they see the topic of the photo in real life.
This 12 months, the second 12 months of the competition, 10,700 photographs were submitted from 55 countries world wide, with Wisconsin-based photographer Brent Clark reigning supreme overall and taking the title of Photographer of the 12 months.
Commenting on the competition, Clark said: ‘Last 12 months’s NLPA was the primary photography competition I had ever entered because most competitions appear to reward a sort of image I prefer to not create and a mindset I shouldn’t have. What caught my attention with the NLPA was its esteemed judges and core values, quite than the prizes and recognition that include winning. I felt like entering was to forged a vote for what I desired to see more of within the landscape photography community – natural and inspirational imagery, grounded in point of fact.’
The judges add that this 12 months’s winning pictures ‘are a unbelievable showcase of not only the photographers involved, but additionally the true wonder of the landscape in a way that folks can trust’. Scroll all the way down to see MailOnline Travel’s pick of the winners, kicking off with a powerful photograph from Clark’s winning portfolio.
This vibrant picture from Photographer of the 12 months Brent Clark’s winning body of labor shows leaves putting on a ‘wonderful display of color’ in a distant and riparian (situated by a river) canyon in Utah
First place within the Grand Scenic category goes to this spellbinding photograph by American Kevin Monahan of a peak within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area in Washington. Monahan, who snared the shot on a backpacking trip, admits that he originally got down to capture a photograph of the world’s mountains reflected in a lake. ‘After mountain climbing 11 miles (17km) and climbing near 5,000ft (1,524m), I reached the highest and realised the possibilities of capturing that were slim. We were engulfed in fog, couldn’t see anything around us, and there was an excessive amount of wind,’ he recalls. Throughout the sunrise the next morning, the clouds finally began to part, revealing the mountains behind them. ‘The conditions were magical but quickly fleeting… I couldn’t have been happier photographing this scene out within the backcountry,’ he says
Klaus Axelsen lands the bronze medal within the Rivers, Lakes and Waterfalls category because of this stunning photograph of a snowy scene within the Lyngen Alps of Troms in northern Norway
LEFT: Winning over the judges, this shot of Lake Oberon in Tasmania under a starry sky scoops the gold medal within the Nightscape category. Australian photographer Marley Butler recalls that it was ‘an uncharacteristically clear and still night for a region known for a few of the most inclement weather in Australia’. Detailing the celebrities seen within the sky, Butler says: ‘Above the peaks, the galactic core rises and the violet light emissions from the Carina Nebula might be seen at its peak. The night sky is swathed in airglow – a natural phenomenon where atmospheric oxygen atoms release green light. The small and huge Magellanic Clouds feature in the highest right of the frame and below on the horizon the Aurora Australis dances.’ He says he was ‘shivering in enough insulation to make the Michelin man jealous’ when he took the image. RIGHT: This astonishing photograph, which tops the rostrum within the Seascapes category, is the work of photographer Andre Donawa. Titled ‘The Great Wave’, it was captured in Barbados and shows a stormy sea rise and descend ‘in a gargantuan waterfall of water and foam’
This atmospheric picture shows steam rising from layers of badlands [a type of arid terrain] after a day of ‘non-stop’ rainfall followed by shiny sunshine in Death Valley National Park, which straddles each California and Nevada. It is the work of U.S photographer Peter Coskun, whose portfolio of photography ranks fifth overall within the Photographer of the 12 months category, with this particular photograph also singled out as the highest prizewinner within the Desert category
Above is one other breathtaking shot from Coskun’s portfolio, this time showing a lightning bolt and a rainbow illuminating the sky above ‘stunning varieties of desert vegetation’ near the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Moments after he took this shot, one other bolt of lightning struck ‘way too close’ to where Coskun’s camera was arrange, leading him to duck to avoid it, he reveals
Snowcapped peaks rise through the clouds in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains on this third epic shot from Coskun’s portfolio. ‘There was something special in regards to the way the mountains were being unveiled by the clouds,’ he recalls, adding that the saguaro cacti within the foreground ‘look so small with the mountain being so commanding’
Behold, the winner of the Frozen Worlds category. Photographer Brian Pollock says that the photograph shows the ‘last gasp of a short-lived winter’ within the Scottish Highlands, with coniferous Scots Pine trees within the foreground. Soon after Pollock took the shot, the snow melted and the Highlands enjoyed an unexpected early heatwave, he reveals
Alfredo Mora is the photographer behind this striking shot, captured on a ’beautiful winter day’ near the Flatirons rock formations in Boulder, Colorado. Mora – whose portfolio ranks third within the Photographer of the 12 months category – was mountain climbing in the world when he ‘heard thumping sounds nearby after which saw an “avalanche” of snow crashing down the pine trees’. He recalls the falling snow interrupting ‘the wonderful quietness of the forest’. The photographer says: ‘I really like how the drifting snow softens the background almost like fog. Seeing the powdery snow falling within the forest made me smile. My imagination spins and I believe that just perhaps, the trees have snowball fights once we will not be looking’
Snapping up the bronze medal within the Frozen Worlds category, this picture by Steve Evans – taken in an unnamed location – shows the sun on the horizon flanked by ‘sun dogs’, an optical phenomenon caused when ice crystals within the atmosphere bend sunlight
Matt Jackisch was standing on the Baltoro Glacier in Northern Pakistan when he captured this evocative photograph of K2, the 28,251ft- (8,611m) high mountain within the centre of the shot. The U.S photographer recalls: ‘Full winter had set in and all the pieces was white and blue. It was minus 20 degrees Celsius. Cold, windless, lifeless. The mountain looked as if it would roar in silence.’ Impressing the judges, his photograph is primary within the Mountains category
Rating third within the Seascapes category, this photograph shows the rock formations of the coastal village of De Kelders in South Africa. Photographer Kyle Goetsch, who secured the shot in stormy weather, says: ‘De Kelders is one in all my favourite spots to go to for stormy weather. The unique rock formations complement the turbulent waters and dark, cloudy skies’