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Natural Landscape Award Winners

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A fabulous collection of inspiring photographs: https://naturallandscapeawards.com/gallery-2021/

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 Paul Evans 02 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Some excellent stuff in there, thanks for sharing!

Paul

 Sean Kelly 02 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

That Matterhorn photo is amazing, just awesome!

 Jon Read 02 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Nice to see non-overcooked landscapes!

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 Moacs 02 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Wonderful, thank you

In reply to Robert Durran:

Excellent photos, thanks.

In reply to Jon Read:

> Nice to see non-overcooked landscapes!

Yes, the competition was set up as an antidote to the stylised nonsense which too often seems to dominate these competitions. One of those behind it is Tim Parkin who posts on here sometimes. Also Alex Nail whose youtube videos are brilliant - both inspiring and instructive.

I don't think I'm too keen on the overall winning shot though - a bit too abstract for me; I would never have guessed what it is a photo of!

Post edited at 11:42
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 Bob Aitken 02 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Many thanks for bringing those to our attention Rob, some superb photos.  But I agree with you about the winning shot, just a bit too studied and precious for my taste.

In reply to Robert Durran:

I do like these images and the concept. I seem to recall that one idea that was proposed is that where a RAW file was used the submission should include that image as well as the final product, though it doesn't appear to be required in the rules.

Several of the Youtube photographers that I watch do just that and it is often very revealing to see the changes they make.

On a different note the winner of Landscape Photographer of the year is creating some discussion re processing amongst the photo community. https://www.lpoty.co.uk/news/lpoty-2021-award-winners.

Post edited at 17:39
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> I do like these images and the concept. I seem to recall that one idea that was proposed is that where a RAW file was used the submission should include that image as well as the final product, though it doesn't appear to be required in the rules.

I think I read that the RAW file had to be submitted for the finalist photos.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think I read that the RAW file had to be submitted for the finalist photos.

Hi Robert, 

Yes, for all of the images that were shown to the panel of judges, RAW files or evidence supporting film submissions was required. We do plan on contacting some of the winners to see if they don't mind us sharing the raw files as part of our campaign. It's really interesting to see. For instance, the ice shot that won the photograph of the year was shot on transparency film and unedited. The winner of the Intimate was surprising in that it was really not far away from the RAW file at all, likewise the runner up in the Grand Landscape category. 

I can understand some people not liking the photograph of the year, it's not a 'grand landscape' and quite abstract, but very, very clever and well seen, and that's a key part of a landscape photographers' skils.

What amazed me was how different the judges were in their opinions. I have to admit to being behind the founders awards idea, I had to make sure we represented some mountains and was glad one of them was Scottish!!

Tim

I think the winning shot is a worthy winner, just beautiful, right up my street.

Is there really still a debate over how final image and RAW can't differ too much?

The whole point of RAW is that you are maximising the digital image capture process (S/N, highlights etc) within the constraints of the sensor to get a base image file to work with, rather than shooting for the 'final image' 'out-the-camera' - a well shot RAW should look washed out (and often a bit crap).   This 'out-the-camera' = final image nonsense is surely so outdated for digital RAW captures.

I'm not surprised that the winner of the intimate and the runner up in the Grand Landscape category are not far from the RAW ... that just how RAWs often look.  And that's the choice of the photographer in how they wanted the final image to look, rather than them doing something magical 'in-camera' that the others haven't done.

(my popcorn is ready)

In reply to ChrisJD:

Is it even meaningful to talk about a "RAW image"? Aren't all actual images including the base preview at the start of one's processing already processed according to some algorithm from the RAW file? I use Capture One and there are a multitude of settings for that initial preview (I use one, which, if I exported a jpeg without doing any further processing, would be indistinguishable from the Provia Fuji film simulation jpegs I used to get straight from the camera before I started using RAW).

I assume that the judges are not requiring that the final image is not too different from some supposed "RAW image", but rather that, given the RAW file, it is plausible that the final image naturally reflects the scene the photographer actually saw, rather than being the result of extreme processing.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

Well you could of course take it back to an array of individual pixel analogue sensors readings of light intensity, but that would all be a bit too reductionist to have much meaning.

I think the starting point would be everything zeroed in the particular RAW processor you are using. After that, everything is your choice.

It is interesting that you have immediately placed an arbitrary constraint on your RAW editing by adopting a baseline pre-set to give you that 'out-of-camera' look you got when you were using a particular flavour of the Fuji jpg processing engine.

Do you think that if your RAW starting point looked different to what you used to get out as a (processed) jpg, that the RAW image would be a 'false' image and that you were somehow 'cheating'?

In reply to ChrisJD:

> I think the starting point would be everything zeroed in the particular RAW processor you are using. After that, everything is your choice.

All the sliders are calibrated to zero whatever flavour of pre-set I choose. Does a definitive "zero" exist? I presume that I could in principle get to any of the other presets from that starting point and then on from there if I wanted.

> It is interesting that you have immediately placed an arbitrary constraint on your RAW editing by adopting a baseline pre-set to give you that 'out-of-camera' look you got when you were using a particular flavour of the Fuji jpg processing engine.

I don't see why that is the case. I have to start somewhere. The pre-set has not thrown away any data.

I actually started using Lightroom but was often struggling to match the results I had been getting by further processing the Fuji jpegs using the then default windows software (Picture Gallery), though obviously I could more out of the shadows and highlights. As soon as I switched to Capture One with its Fuji pre-sets I found it easy to get far better results, I think because I was starting with something which looked familiar so I instinctively knew what I needed to do to get the results I wanted. My guilty secret is that I still often make some final adjustments using Picture gallery after exporting the jpegs.

> Do you think that if your RAW starting point looked different to what you used to get out as a (processed) jpg, that the RAW image would be a 'false' image and that you were somehow 'cheating'?

No. I'm not sure why you might think that. It would just be a different starting point which I could presumably reach anyway from my chosen starting point.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

>Does a definitive "zero" exist?

Well not definitive, just a programmers interpretation.  As a Fuji user, In LR I'd prob say the Adobe Neutral or Fuji  Pro-Neg is as un-processed RAW as you'll get.

But back to my original point, if you are shooting RAW to maximise the 'digital potential' in the image file, then you might be using the concept of exposing-to-the-right (ETTR) (at least some of the time, depending on the shot), so your RAWs could look over exposed and likely flat/washed-out until you processed up.  So you might not expect ETTR images to look decent out the camera using whatever base profile, so judging out-out-camera to final could be unfair.

 Jon Read 03 Nov 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

It would certainly be able to determine if the submitted image was a non-stich composite though (e.g., different sky to the one shot)

In reply to Jon Read:

For sure.

The entire set of images are beautiful and clearly lovingly shot .. and no doubt in some cases lovingly crafted in post from well captured RAWs   ... and they don't look like HDR horrors (see below).  Overall they maintain a naturalistic integrity; I love them.  (The Icelandic ones might be pushing it just a little too far for me, but I've not been to Iceland, so that may be unjust .. I've heard the light is incredible).

The competition has certainly fulfilled what it set out to do ( ... TLDR: not have HDR horrors):

https://naturallandscapeawards.com/about/

Post edited at 19:33
In reply to ChrisJD:

> I think the winning shot is a worthy winner, just beautiful, right up my street.

> Is there really still a debate over how final image and RAW can't differ too much?

> The whole point of RAW is that you are maximising the digital image capture process (S/N, highlights etc) within the constraints of the sensor to get a base image file to work with, rather than shooting for the 'final image' 'out-the-camera' - a well shot RAW should look washed out (and often a bit crap).   This 'out-the-camera' = final image nonsense is surely so outdated for digital RAW captures.

Ah you're mistaking the "using RAW image as verification of processing etc" with "must look like RAW image".  A RAW file looks like nothing but numbers until it gets assigned correct colour balances and a debayer matrix etc. 

However, the RAW file with default settings and a few adjustments does give you a very good idea of what the scene might have looked like and then you can make some assessments as to whether the adjustments have been done respectfully of that starting point or whether they depart from it substantially.

Thanks for your comments about the competition - we're really happy how the first year has gone.

Tim

Post edited at 20:54
In reply to ChrisJD:

> But back to my original point, if you are shooting RAW to maximise the 'digital potential' in the image file, then you might be using the concept of exposing-to-the-right (ETTR) (at least some of the time, depending on the shot), so your RAWs could look over exposed and likely flat/washed-out until you processed up.

Many of my RAWS look terrible in the Fuji Provia pre-set before I process them, because, yes, I can expose them to try to get the most out of them.

In reply to timparkin:

> Thanks for your comments about the competition - we're really happy how the first year has gone.

I'm glad it was a success. I think it is a great idea and hopefully it has fulfilled its aim of encouraging natural looking photography.

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