Winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2014

The winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2014 were just announced! UK landscape photographer Greg Whitton nabbed the top prize with his stunning image of light hitting the Southern Highlands in Iceland. It was taken during a six-day wild camping trip in Iceland with four other photographers. Greg shot the photo on the last night of the trip. During the whole six days, he hadn't had a moment of good light. On the last day, the group pitched their tents below a minor peak and then Greg noticed the incredible view from the top. The clouds were blocking the sun, and to make things worse, his camera battery was running out and he didn't have a spare. Feeling dejected, he started his descent back to basecamp. Then, a miracle happened.

“After making my way about 50 meters down the mountain the clouds started to part slightly. The light only lasted a few minutes. I've got other photographs when the light became really epic, but for me this image, where the light is building, is more successful.”

Greg's image was chosen from more than 10,000 images that were entered by both professional and amateur photographers from all around the world. What did the judges see in the shot? Outdoor Photography magazine editor Steve Watkins said, “Greg's picture turned out to be the overwhelming favorite among the judges. I love how he captured the amazing light sweeping across the Icelandic peaks: it's dramatic, has impact and longevity. His photograph is the worthy winner of Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2014.”

Greg wins a trip of a lifetime. In April 2015, he'll be off to the Arctic for the Fjllrven Polar dog sled expedition.

Below are some photos of the category winners (and those commended). Greg was not only the overall winner he was also the category winner for Light on the Land. His image fulfilled the contest's calling: “Under sunset's fiery skies, in fleeting twilight, with the gentler light of the moon, or with the first rays of a new day, we are looking for stunning landscape images from anywhere in the world.”

Light on the Land: Commended

Gimsy, Lofoten Islands, Norway
April 2013 saw some of the deepest snow that this archipelago had experienced for many years. One snowstorm after another engulfed me but the gaps between the storms provided exciting opportunities. On this occasion the parting clouds briefly framed the mountain at dusk.
Photo and caption by: Claire Carter

Light on the Land: Commended

Dark Lake
I captured this photograph in the mountains around Petit Mont Cenis in Savoie in France. I went to this place many times to find the right weather conditions to capture the gloomy shot I'd had in mind for a while. On this occasion, I went during a storm, and just before sunset the rain stopped. The light filtered through the clouds, creating the right atmosphere.
Photo and caption by: Marco Barone

Light on the Land: Commended

Icelandic beach
This was taken in Iceland as the very last rays of sun hit the beach. A storm had just passed and only a very thin gap in the clouds let the light through, briefly illuminating the basalt rocks but leaving the rest of the scene dark and dramatic.
Photo and caption by: Samuel Feron

At the Water's Edge: Winner

River Wharfe, Yorkshire Dales
The river Wharfe has it origin in the upper northern Yorkshire Dales, and it narrows considerably at a place known as 'the Strid' on the Bolton Abbey estate. There was a lovely thick fog that particular morning. I got to work quickly as the light and weather conditions were changing rapidly. It was the combination of elements within the scene that raised my interest level as soon as I looked through the viewfinder. Golden autumn leaves on the ground balanced the heavy damp air and foliage, and the central river merging with the fog in the distance provided a sense of depth. I chose a long shutter speed to soften the water movement and to instill a sense of time. The ever-strengthening autumn sun filtered by the fog provided wonderful diffuse light.
Photo and caption by: Shaun Walby

At the Water's Edge: Commended

Svalbard
The polar light has broken through the clouds and is playing along the Isfjord coast of Svalbard. I often try to capture the magical high-arctic light in its many forms and expressions. This is taken during a hike up Blomsterhgda, outside Longyearbyen.
Photo and caption by: David Wrangborg

At the Water's Edge: Commended

Shingle Street
It was a stormy day, but the shingle banks at Shingle Street in Suffolk create a natural harbour. There was a spectacular sunrise over the sea, but when I saw that the row of cottages opposite might be briefly illuminated against the dark brooding sky I knew that was the shot I wanted.
Photo and caption by: Lee Acaster

At the Water's Edge: Commended

Ice Dance
One of the difficulties related to this kind of image is that the piece of ice has to be perfectly motionless during the time exposure. This is a challenge because the incoming waves are usually strong and tend to move the ice around. Several trials are usually necessary.
Photo and caption by: Samuel Feron

Wildlife Insight: Winner

Arabian oryx, United Arab Emirates
Unlike the story of so many other species, the reintroduction of the Arabian oryx into the wild, after the species went extinct in the wild in the 1970s, is a success. There are now over 1,000 individuals living in the wild. I have been living in the United Arab Emirates for some years, and been into the desert many times to find and photograph the elusive Arabian oryx. On this particular day, I witnessed a scene I had been dreaming of. I drove the 4×4 carefully into position and placed the oryx at the edge of the viewfinder to reflect the sense of emptiness in the desert. I converted the image to black & white to convey the beauty of this desert dweller in the most optimal and simple way.
Photo and caption by: Stefan Gerrits

Wildlife Insight: Commended

Mother Bear and Cubs
We'd had four days in a blizzard in Kaktovik, Alaska, and a small group of us were on a tiny boat, buffeted by the wind but totally captivated by the journey of a mother bear seeking a more sheltered site to feed her cubs.
Photo and caption by: Judith Conning

Wildlife Insight: Commended

Fishing at Sunset
I visited Lake Clark, Alaska slightly too early in the season for the salmon run. Fortunately there were still a few salmon running in the estuary this big female grizzly bear offered up some stunning photographic opportunities, silhouetted against the Alaskan sunset, as she tried to catch the salmon.
Photo and caption by: Kevin Morgans

Wildlife Insight: Commended

Mother and Cub
I was tracking this mother and cub near Churchill, Canada, for five days. Despite the bad weather, I returned to them after dinner on my last day of filming, as I had pre-visualised a shot in the Arctic sunset light. One little gap in the otherwise covered sky for a few seconds was my gift from Mother Nature.”
Photo and caption by: Michael Maes

Live the Adventure: Winner

Ski Touring, Slovenia
The weather conditions were extraordinary that day on 2104m Vajne mountain in the Karavanke Alps in Slovenia. When we arrived on skis under the saddle we were confronted with a heavy windstorm. The sunbeams were penetrating through the thin clouds and the spindrift. I wanted to capture the sense of struggle involved as the heavy gusts tried to throw us off balance. After taking the shot, it was just another 500 metres to where there was some shelter from the wind, and from there we decided to continue our expedition to the summit.
Photo and caption by: Sandi Bertoncelj

Live the Adventure: Commended

Wild Mountain: The Ridge I
Wild Mountain: The Ridge I is the first in a mini-series of images taken on UK mountains, which are processed in a manner intended to convey the often claustrophobic and threatening nature of these majestic lumps of rock. This image is from Striding Edge in the Lake District.
Photo and caption by: Greg Whitton

Live the Adventure: Commended

Al Medawara mountain
Located 100km south-west of Cairo in Egypt, Al Medawara mountain in the Faiyum oasis is an amazing place where earth meets the sky and opens a gate to the stars.
Photo and caption by: Ibraheem Al-Awadi

Live the Adventure: Commended

Grimberger Sichel Bridge
I love to combine sports with architecture and landscape in my pictures. This picture was taken at sunrise on a trip to the Grimberger Sichel pedestrian bridge in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, with Basti Aldehoff, a slackliner from Cologne. I was attracted by the combination of water, architecture and light, and captured the scenery while lying in a rubber dinghy.
Photo and caption by: Jan Fabender

Live the Adventure: Commended

Ride on the Ridge
It was an autumn afternoon when we went with friends on a cycling tour on Gubno Mountain, in the Karavanken Alps in Slovenia. We arrived at the summit half an hour before sunset, just in time to take the best photos. The light was awesome; the sun was shining through the thin clouds, causing long shadows, and mist was lifting from the valley. I asked my friend to ride on the ridge, and I made this shot from some distance away. I aim to capture the spirit of mountain biking and to show that it takes place in a beautiful environment, in this case among breathtaking mountains of the Alps.
Photo and caption by: Sandi Bertoncelj

Small World: Winner

Butterfly at Sunrise, Netherlands
I love to photograph insects in the early morning because of the wonderful atmosphere around sunrise. The idea grew in my mind to capture a butterfly opening up to catch the warmth of the first rays of sun. It took some time to find the right location that matched with the pre-visualized image in my head. I visited this particular place multiple times in search of subjects before both the weather conditions and the subject were perfect.
Photo and caption by: Johannes Klapwij

Outdoor Photography of the Year website
via [ePhotoZine]

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