/ Landscape photographer of the year

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Wanderer100 10 Feb 2020

Some amazing images to browse through whilst you are enjoying your lunch.....

https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-51386024

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Tom V 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

Says something for the quality of the selection that the Sierras pic, excellent though it was,  ended up being my least favourite.

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Philip 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

Taking the piss a bit, the first four are portrait!  They don't fit on my screen.

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Simonfarfaraway 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

Thanks for posting this link. Interesting images. What surprised me (and I love photography and looking at images) is how many looked more like paintings than pictures, and how many looked like fantasy art! Great to see but lots are too heavily processed for me. Thanks

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Robert Durran 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Simonfarfaraway:

> Thanks for posting this link. Interesting images. What surprised me (and I love photography and looking at images) is how many looked more like paintings than pictures, and how many looked like fantasy art! Great to see but lots are too heavily processed for me. Thanks

Agree absolutely. I thought this when I first saw the link but didn't want to be the first to put my head above the parapet! Generally a sterile lack of authenticity. Better photos on UKC most weeks.

Post edited at 22:21
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Tom Last 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

Nearly all of these left me completely cold, with the exception of the Mongolian and the SpaceX exhaust plume. If I ever see another photo of Iceland too it’ll be too soon. 

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Agar Jelly 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom Last:

Yeah, many of them wouldn't look out of place in someones pretentious lavatory.

Although I liked the textures in the Kerlingarfjoll snap and the tree photo cheered me up a bit.

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Robert Durran 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom Last:

> Nearly all of these left me completely cold, with the exception of the Mongolian and the SpaceX exhaust plume.

I liked the tree and the Mongolia one but the SpaceX one did nothing for me.

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Tom V 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Simonfarfaraway:

I agree in some respects.  I wonder if it would  be possible to have a competition where the images to be judged were completely untouched, not even cropped? That would probably get some interest.

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Tom Last 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think it’s just that it’s genuinely something new (well, I expect thousands were taken, but...).

Maybe this is something that we’ll all get used to seeing though, in time. 

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timparkin 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom Last:

I was one of the judges of the competition and it’s hard one to judge. The “trend” seems to be a lot of processing and so most of the good pictures had these treatments. Unless you massively downgrade everyone with this then you end up with many winners with that style. I did downgrade many images for excessive editing although the other judges obviously disagreed with me on some pictures. Oh and the novelty of the SpaceX and the fact that it’s a good picture even without that unique aspect made it a pretty high ranking picture.

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pasbury 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

Enjoyed the pictures, my first thought is how tightly composed they all are. No wide angles. The photographers seem to be constraining the subject. A claustrophobic set of images. Or the judges have just selected those sort of images.

Anyway off to pseud’s corner for me.

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Luke_92 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

To be honest, I'm fairly useless at landscape photography, so definitely not a good judge.

That being said, I love a good landscape. I didn't see a single picture I liked there...

People have gone mad with a love of over processed images. I came across a wildlife photographer's work yesterday; people talk about him as if he's the messiah of wildlife photography. To me, it looks like he's taken really good images and then put every adjustment slider in Lightroom to %100! I don't get it... 

Post edited at 06:51
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Robert Durran 19 Feb 2020
In reply to timparkin:

> Oh and the novelty of the SpaceX and the fact that it’s a good picture even without that unique aspect made it a pretty high ranking picture.

I just groaned at yet another night photo exposed or processed to look more like daylight.

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Wanderer100 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Photography is art and like art it has evolved. The imagery might not be to everyone's taste but, in my very humble opinion, some of those pictures are works of art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder......

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Lankyman 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

That's amazing - I took a very similar photo to the winner just a few weeks ago (without any knowledge of it). My pic isn't anywhere near as good but it's of a rock (mine is covered in glowing green algae) sitting on an outcrop of undulating sea-worn sandstone. Far too arty-farty for this site ....

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Wide_Mouth_Frog 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom Last:

> Nearly all of these left me completely cold, with the exception of the Mongolian and the SpaceX exhaust plume. If I ever see another photo of Iceland too it’ll be too soon. 

I'd have to agree with you, although they all look too much like paintings to me. All interesting images, but as photos?? I'm not so sure.

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Tim Sparrow 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

I did like the French salt plant one. It really looked like some oil painting brushstrokes until you spotted what it was. Clever!

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Robert Durran 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Photography is art and like art it has evolved. The imagery might not be to everyone's taste but, in my very humble opinion, some of those pictures are works of art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder......

Art? Well yes and no........    While all are clearly technically superb, many of them just feel soulless to me. Almost too perfect? Hard to put a finger on it.

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timparkin 20 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yes, sadly it's a 'trend'. 

You have to realise that  a lot of the good photographers who submit work to these competitions also run workshops and hence are putting in pictures that hit a zeitgeist. Most photographers producing more 'subtle' work tend not to enter competitions. So there's a self selection for "impactful" images (horrible word). 

That said, there are some classic images in the selections above - The Portugese tree, the Sierra Dawn and the amazing image of the mountain goat in the  snow

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El Greyo 20 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I agree, I don't like over-processed photos, but like you find it hard to say exactly why. They are clearly beautiful images but yes, somehow soulless.

The ones I like best are the Mongolian one and the mountain goat in Romania. I think what I like about them is that they are evocative - they convey something of what it would feel like to actually be there. The Mongolian really portrays the dark, brooding weather, the empty, lonely landscape and the harshness of the terrain the animals exist in.

Whereas, while the Portuguese tree is an amazing image, because it is so heavily processed, I know it would not look or feel like that if I were actually there. 

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Robert Durran 20 Feb 2020
In reply to El Greyo:

> I agree, I don't like over-processed photos, but like you find it hard to say exactly why. They are clearly beautiful images but yes, somehow soulless.............. I know it would not look or feel like that if I were actually there. 

Yes, I think this is the issue for me. The Oman, Sierras, and Capitol Reef photos portray a hyper-reality which I find impossible to relate to having been to all three areas; they do not reflect the experience of actually being there and leave me completely cold. I think the very best photos almost feel more real than the reality, distilling the essence of a place (uistgr's brilliant POTW on here of Stac Pollaidh a couple of weeks ago being a superb example). I'd like to think this is what I strive for in my own bumbling efforts!

​​​​​​Some of the photos are really good, but, although I know it is a matter of taste, none had a real wow factor for me.

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keith-ratcliffe 20 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

I can see the merit in all the pictures even though some were not to my taste, I thought several of them were surreal and I couldn't think that I would ever see their image in reality.

This is a UK competition with nearly the same name and I think that these pictures are excellent and believable. https://www.lpoty.co.uk/gallery/2018

By the way this year's entries are open until April 5th if anyone wants to give it a try.

Post edited at 20:43
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Robert Durran 20 Feb 2020
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> This is a UK competition with nearly the same name and I think that these pictures are excellent and believable. https://www.lpoty.co.uk/gallery/2018

I love the trees in the snow in particular, but I'm afraid far too many of them deserve similar criticism to the other lot in my opinion!

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Solaris 22 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> While all are clearly technically superb, many of them just feel soulless to me. Almost too perfect? Hard to put a finger on it.


I wonder whether it's partly to do with digital (super sharp, clean images) vs film (grain, "depth" (layers of emulsion))? (Compare records: Digital (clean and clinical) vs vinyl (warm, resonant - and sometimes scratched!).) That said, sensors enable so much more detail to be captured than in film (when I used it) that there's a lot more to work on in post-processing, and that often brings out things that the eye doesn't see.

Hence, digitally produced images are more remote from "normal" human experience than film, and may be thought of as more readily able to stand as artifacts in their own right (eg SpaceX) than film-created reproductions of unassisted-eye visible reality. 

Another thing about the BBC site's images is that many of them don't have any particularly interesting natural lighting (tree and W Mongolia are exceptions for me). It's often what natural light is doing that gives images "soul" isn't it?

I'm not here arguing what anyone should judge to be visually preferable, just thinking out loud about why we react to some images as we do.

Post edited at 14:47
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timparkin 22 Feb 2020
In reply to Solaris:

I think there's something of that but you can still make digital look 'film' like (i.e. visceral) even with some post processing. My Flickr stream is a mix of digital and film and I'd challenge many people to tell the difference. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/timparkin/

Also, if you get your film images scanned the right way (I run a scanning service using old 6 figure sum drum scanners) you can get serious amounts of detail to beat even the latest 150mp £40k cameras. 

https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2020/02/8x10-film-vs-iq4-150mp/

To keep it climbing related, check out the first couple of comments after looking at this photo

https://www.flickr.com/photos/timparkin/5640827032/in/dateposted-public/

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Solaris 22 Feb 2020
In reply to timparkin:

Well, you've got some wonderful pics there (and nice to see you got Godafoss "in nick"!). Some thoughts:
1) The vast majoriry of your pictures have wonderful light, and I think that's what makes them living, pleasing, and in some cases breathtaking.

2) Your pictures are not crudely or excessively processed (eg impossible light): they are clearly photographs and not image artifacts.

3) I was very pleased with what I could get out of my trannies with Lightroom after I scanned them (on a merely 4 figure scanner, which we sold for what we'd paid for it). Velvia was way, way better than my older images shot on Kodachrome 64. So I am not surprised you could get a lot out of a ?medium format scanned image of Glen Nevis - very impressive, all the same.

4) It's not just about detail, is it? I mean, what one could do with a film image was rather less than what one can do now with a 2mb image from a point and shoot, wasn't it? I don't know. My sense is that it's not *just* about detail, it's what computers allow you to do with it.

5) Agreed about "film" presets. Interestingly (and merely anecdotally), a friend who is a competent photographer showed me similar images he'd shot on film and on his digitally (5d MkIII) and added film presets to. The former were nothing like as sharp but they were more pleasing and more "natural" - cue another philosophical discussion!
 

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In reply to timparkin:

In the early days of digital I read an article that compared film grain to digital pixel size. It was when 12 Mp sensors were top of the range and it suggested that 35 mm Fuji Velvia had a similar resolution to a 16 Mp sensor. However a significant difference was that film grains are random whereas pixels are regular. This means that the eye/brain combination can perceive greater regularity in digital images and they require to be much finer to appear smooth. Nowadays of course sensors can be much larger but I wonder if the regularity is still a factor in our perception of sharpness.

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timparkin 17:11 Mon
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I think that it's true and false at the same time. Pixels give a  hard edge and can look  contrasty, however the random and small nature of grain can give very fine details albeit at low contrast. I much prefer the softness and detail of film  vs the contrast but plasticity of digital (this might be comparing your 16mp digital vs a  very well scanned Velvia 50 frame)

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