Sand Hill Cranes by Randy Olson. Wood River, Nebraska, U.S. SIPA Contest Photo of the Year. This photograph harkens back to a time when the USA had braided streams and plenty of space for the Sand Hill Crane migration. Now, only a small area of the Platte River in Nebraska can accommodate all of them. Volunteers at the Crane Trust counted 413,000 Sandhill Cranes on this evening… more than they’ve ever counted before. These cranes are running out of habitat in most of their migration that goes from Siberia to South America.
The Siena International Photo Awards is only in its third year, but the breadth of images they display is incredible. The winning photographs for 2017 feature grandiose landscapes, the mighty animal kingdom, and a look into the lives of people from every corner of the globe. The photo contest is hosted by Art Photo Travel, a non-profit organization whose mission involves “cultural initiatives aimed at spreading, promoting and enhancing art, monuments, traditions, cultures and natural beauty from all around the world.”
This year, the judges had their work cut out for them. They received nearly 50,000 images from both amateur and professional photographers from 161 countries. Their categories included such descriptive titles as Storytelling, Fragile Ice, Animals in Their Environment, and Fascinating Faces and Characters. The winners are equally as expressive as the categories are named.
Above all the submissions, the judges chose a single Photo of the Year. The 2017 honor goes to National Geographic photographer Randy Olson for his image titled Sand Hill Cranes. The nature picture shows a flock of cranes in motion as a bolt of lightning strikes Ogallala Aquifer near Wood River, Nebraska. Olson snapped the photo in August 2016. “There was a ton of lightning right behind the birds,” he recalls. “I put the camera on a tripod and just started pumping the shutter, making sequential 30-second exposures. This shot happened to capture the lightning and all the birds in motion.”
See more winning images from the photo contest, below. Afterwards, don't forget to check the top entries from 2016!
The Siena International Photo Awards is a yearly photo contest that selects an incredible breadth of images from around the world.
Umbrella by Petar Sabol. Palovec, Croatia. Honorable Mention, The Beauty of Nature. On the morning I shot this picture the weather was strange and I had almost decided to stay home as it was about to rain. But then I left and I spotted two dragonflies hiding under a flower as if it was an umbrella.
Dancing Octopus by Baratheiu Gabriel. Remarkable Award, Animals in Their Environment.
Betel Nut by M Yousuf Tushar. Coxbazar, Bangladesh. Honorable Mention, General Color. A young man collecting Betel nuts to sell them in a local market in Coxbazar, Bangladesh. The plantations of Betel palms are helping many people to overcome unemployment.
Pine Rock Lightning and Full Moon by Miguel Angel Artus Illana. Tossa de Mar, Spain. Honorable Mention, The Beauty of Nature.This night photo was shot with a long exposure which allowed to capture a lightning in a stormy sky. The magic atmosphere of the image is also created by the light of the full moon illuminating the water and the beach.
Lionrock by Gabriela Staebler. Serengeti N.P. Moru Kopjes, Tanzania. Honorable Mention, Animals in Their Environment. During a safari, I discovered this male lion sleeping in the shade of a huge rock. It seemed that the lion was stopping with his leg the rock from rolling over him. Next to this huge rock the mighty lion seemed small and fragile.
Cave Dwellers by Scott Portelli. Remarkable Award, Journeys and Adventures.
Flatiron Building in the Snowstorm by Michele Palazzo. Remarkable Award, Architecture & Urban Spaces.
Berlin Biker by Wenpeng Lu. Berlin, Germany. Winner, Architecture & Urban Spaces. In classical landscape painting, there is always at least a tiny human presence, whose role is to put things in perspective and scale. Urban photography can choose to focus on architectural details and become abstract art, or to honour this tradition and put buildings in relation with people using them. In most cases, human silhouettes will seem dominated by the gigantic proportions of contemporary architecture; in this case, the bicycle wheels act as an ironic counterpoint to the building’s eye. Architecture might have solved the quadrature of the circle, but the guy just doesn’t care as he happily rides.
Beast by James Smart. Black Hawk, South Dakota, U.S.. Winner, The Beauty of Nature. Chasing this storm in Black Hawk was amazing. After waiting hours for something to develop, the storm began to turn into a supercell. This absolute stunning ship like structure invaded and took over the Black Hawk area.
Walker by Xiaolu Tu. Remarkable Award, Journeys & Adventures.
Painting of the Wave by Dieter Schweizer. Iceland. Honorable Mention, The Beauty of Nature. Aerial picture taken while flying over the Snaefellsnes peninsula on the West coast of Iceland. The weather was very bad, but I was lucky to get some rays of sun when we flew over this beach with the seagulls.
Baby Sea Lion by Filippo Borghi. Mexico. Winner, Animals in Their Environment. While diving in the waters of Mexico, I came across a curious sea lion cub, which left the other cubs to approach my camera and play.
Last Rays of Sunshine by Eberhard Ehmke. Remarkable Award, The Beauty of Nature.
On the Class by Jilin Lv. Remarkable Award, Journeys and Adventures.
Red Army by Qiusheng Hu. Africa. Honorable Mention, Animals in Their Environment. A long shooting time and the reflection of the pink flamingos on the water, give to this image a dreamy sense of peace and the impression that one is observing a painting rather than a photo.
Collapse by David Oliete Casanova. Remarkable Award, General Color.