The 2021 Epson International Pano awards results have been announced with US photographer, Joshua Hermann, the overall winner of the 2021 Open Competition.
Hermann grew up in south Louisiana, and is drawn to the ‘unique beauty’ and ‘interesting ecology’ of the swamp and marshlands.
‘I hope to share the beauty of these places through my imagery, allow people to get a closer look into the uniqueness of these areas and ultimately to inform them of the importance of protecting these wetlands,’ he said. ‘When shooting Eternal Triangle, I observed a cypress tree generally has a wide flaring base. Due to its watery habitat, it develops this triangular base and root protrusions called cypress knees to help it stand in the soft, soggy bottom.
‘As I paddled amongst the trees on this foggy morning the triangular trunks stood out in a symmetrical fashion. To me, it looked like enumerable triangles receding into the fog. I named this picture Eternal Triangle as an ode to one of my favourite jazz compositions by the great Sonny Stitt.’
Describing Morning Burn, Hermann observes how mist forms over the water when the cool moist air begins to warm over the swamp.
‘If you are lucky enough for the mist to stick around when the sun breaks the horizon, a wonderful show takes place. There is a short window of time where the sun begins to set the mist ablaze with light. As I paddled, the scene constantly changed in front of me while the sun inched higher above the horizon. I stopped in front of this grove and setup my camera as the swamp put on a light show went on in front of me.’
And as for Ancient Backwaters, Hermann captured an old growth cypress growth.
‘Like trees in most of the US, many of the old growth cypress groves were felled during the logging era. Today there are a few places were these 1,000 plus year-old giants still stand. You will usually find these in pockets of backwater that were too hard for loggers to reach, or because the trees themselves were hollow and the trunks weren’t the ideal shape for lumber. When I find these ancient monoliths in backwater ponds and sloughs, I am immediately transported to the swamp lands of ancient times.’
Inside Imaging readers will likely be familiar with the Pano Awards, an Australian owned and operated contest that celebrates international panoramic photography. The competition received 5378 entries from 1245 photographers in 97 countries. Hermann won $3000, an Epson SureColor P-7070, and a bunch of other prizes.
Australian photographer, Mark Brierley, was the overall runner up to the Open Competition as well as the winner of the Built Environment/Architecture category for his photo Tonal Intersection.
The winner of the 2021 Amateur Competition was Daniel Trippolt from Austria with his images Shining Night, Legendary Peaks and Shining Heart.
‘I discovered my passion for photography when I was 12 years old when my father gave me my first camera. Every free second of my free time was used to take photos of everything and everyone,’ Trippolt said.
‘From animal photography to sports, architecture and portrait photography, I tried everything and found my greatest passion and hobby in landscape photography. Here I am very much into hyperreal landscape photography, which distinguishes me from most Austrian landscape photographers. Landscape photography has become a huge part of my life, even if I don’t have as much time to invest as full-time landscape photographers. The Covid crisis in the last two years has limited my landscape photography hobby a lot, which is why I’m all the more happy about my success in this competition.’
A number of Australians also won category or special awards. Here are their images, along with descriptions (when applicable).
‘The Weather Bureau was forecasting snow for the New England Tableland in New South Wales (a fairly rare event) so I packed the warm clothes and camera gear and headed off with a fellow photographer in the hope of capturing snow around the Gostwyck Chapel at Uralla,’ Jennings said. ‘Sadly that didn’t happen so we headed to Walcha where snow was encountered on the way up and saw this simple but striking scene with the fence providing a classic leading line to the eucalyptus tree.’
Click here for the gallery.
Photo contest criteria
Organising group: Australian photographer, David Evans.
Status/Objective: It’s a for-profit contest that ‘Our aim is to give the genre of panoramic photography its day in the sun, especially via the showcase of winning and top-scoring entries to media around the world’.
Entry fee: US$22 per entry for Open Awards, US$18 for Amateur.
Prizes: A prize pool worth over $40K, with the grand prize worth $9300. Cash, Epson printers, a Nikon camera, etc.
Sponsors: The main sponsor is Epson Australia. Nikon Australia are also onboard, along with numerous other sponsors.
Judges: A panel of 13 photographers, changing each year.
Number of entrants/submissions: 2646 Open Entries, 2619 Amateur Entries, resulting in a total of 5378.
Categories: There are two primary categories, Open (all photographers) and Amateur (non-pro and students). And within these groups are Nature/Landscapes and Built Environment/Architecture. There are also Special awards, and a category for VR/360 Awards.
Exposure: This contest often gains widespread media exposure in Australia and around the world.
Transparency: Very transparent.
Communication: Readily available.
Estimated Gross Revenue: 2646 Open x US$22 = $58K. 2619 Amateur x US$18 = $47K. Total is roughly US$105K
Copyright standards: Entrants retain copyright.
Overall rating: The Pano Awards is one of Australia’s biggest international photo contests. It has been running since 2009, with Epson Australia onboard since the beginning. As far as a for-profit photo contest, it’s a nice little operation and other contest directors could benefit from taking note. It takes into consideration transparency, fair judging with an expert panel, and a worthy prize pool.