These days, even if we're looking at a photo of a beautiful landscape, we often assume that there must be quite a bit of Photoshop involved in the final product. But a new photography contest is proving that many photographers don't need a lot of post-production help to generate spectacular images. The Natural Landscape Photography Awards was created to highlight landscape photography by artists who “value realism and authenticity in their work.”
Any photograph entered into the contest was subject to strict rules. No compositing, removing or distorting elements, or combining images were allowed. In fact, all photographers who made it past the first round were required to submit the RAW version of their photos to ensure that they weren't breaking the rules. This means that, when you look at the winning photos, you are seeing what photographers can do right in camera.
Eric Bennett and Steve Altermann, who won Photographer of the Year and Photograph of the Year, respectively, are wonderful examples of photographers who captured landscapes in an authentic way. Altermann's creative photo of an iceberg settled onto a black sand beach in Iceland is visually captivating. The image, which earned him Photograph of the Year, proves that being able to observe the right moments can pay off.
For Bennett, whose portfolio of landscapes won him Photographer of the Year, the win was a nice reward for the type of subtle images that he likes to take. “As a photographer who strives to show people the value of wilderness, I have always enjoyed seeing and creating more subtle and personal photographs that portray nature in a realistic manner. As these kinds of images tend to have a quieter impact, they often end up being largely ignored in most photography competitions,” he shared. “To be given this award by such a prestigious and well-respected group of photographers whom I have always looked up to is a great honor for me. I hope that the Natural Landscape Photography Awards can continue for many years to come, remain true to its values, and inspire other photography competitions to award photographers based on similar principles of artistry.”
With over 13,000 photographs entered by more than 1,300 photographers, it seems like many are interested in being judged for their in-camera work rather than their post-production prowess. Scroll down to see more winning photographs and enjoy what will certainly be a new highlight of the photography contest world.