Australian landscape photographer, Mieke Boynton, has won the 10th Epson International Pano Awards for a set of three aerial images of braided rivers captured in Iceland and New Zealand.
Mieke is the first woman to win the homegrown panoramic contest, coming out on top of 1258 photographers and 4913 entries from 72 countries.
The top scoring photo, Dragonfire, was captured last year in southern Iceland on a chartered flight over the glacial braided rivers, a network of small channels.
‘As the mighty glaciers travel down the mountains, they grind up the rock underneath and as the melted water fans out across the river deltas, these suspended rock particles cause a slight milkiness to the water,’ Mieke explained. ‘The colours alter according to the presence of different elements and minerals such as sulphur and iron, and the endless variations are absolutely breathtaking. It wasn’t until later that I saw the fire-breathing dragon in the photo, but now that I’ve seen it, I can’t see anything else.’
A thrilled Mieke, still in slight shock that she won, told Inside Imaging that the particles of rock refracts light differently.
‘What you see in the second and third photo, the rock particles refract more of the blue and green end of the light spectrum. This is what results in the really strong turquoise and blue green colour in the photos – that’s the rock sediment suspended in the water refracting.
‘Before I went there, I wasn’t sure whether I’d see what I’d seen in other photos because I thought ‘that’s too amazing, it’s got to be Photoshopped’. But no, it really does look like that. It’s absolutely incredible.’
Mieke first photographed glacial braided rivers at Lake Tekapo on New Zealand’s South Island.
‘I put off going to Iceland because I’d seen so many photos from there and thought it had been photographed to death,’ she said. ‘But as soon as I saw the braided rivers of New Zealand, and knowing the ones in Iceland are even more spectacular, I knew I had to see them for myself.’
While NZ’s South Island is a landscape photographers dream location, Mieke says it’s not really well known for its many incredible braided rivers.
The New Zealand image, Deadly Beauty, is a panorama consisting of three stitched photos, while the other two are cropped panos.
Mieke has had a few big years. Having settled back into living in the Victorian High Country, after spending a year travelling the globe to photograph spectacular natural locations, she has had three solo exhibitions and numerous award wins. Before that Mieke lived in the remote Kimberley region, which she photographed from all angles including from above.
This year the judging panel includes Abe Blair, Juan Pablo de Miguel, Adam Williams,Anna Gibiskys, Isabella Tabacchi, Aaron Spence, Bill Bailey, Sean Davey, Chris Collacott, William Long, Timothy Poulton, Mark Gray and Ayrton Camargo.
The Epson International Pano Awards have grown to become the premier photo contest for panoramic photography. The contest was founded in 2009 by South Australian photographer, David Evans, and Epson Australia has been on board since its inception.
Other Australian businesses are also involved, including Atkins Photo Lab and Nikon Australia,
Click here to see all the winning photos.