Main sponsor Epson Australia has named Spanish photographer José D. Riquelme as Open Photographer of the Year in the Epson International Pano awards after a record 4,414 entries from more than 100 countries. Entrants were competing for thousands of dollars cash and prizes including Epson SureColor printers.
“The winners of the 2023 Epson International Pano awards have been announced and the overall winner of the 2023 Open Photographer of the Year and also the Nature/Landscape category is José D. Riquelme from Spain for his entries The Bridge, Alone in the Dark and Ghost Cave,” said an Epson Australia press release.
“The RAW Planet Award went to Teo Chin Long from Singapore for Yellow Net 1 and the Epson Digital Art Prize went to Swee Choo Oh from the USA for Disney Concert Hall."
This year the competition received 4,414 entries from 1,104 professional and amateur photographers in 102 countries representing more entries per entrant this year, and an increase in entries overall from 2022, with main sponsor Epson Australia alone providing prizes that included an Epson SureColor P7070 printer, an Epson SureColor P5070 printer and an Epson EB-1795F ultra-slim projector.
Epson Australia MD Craig Heckenberg, said: "2023 has again proven to be a truly inspiring year for Pano Award entries. They are all excellent in terms of quality and creativity. Epson is proud to support and sponsor these awards as they connect photographers of all levels and from all walks of life through their passion.”
Describing The Bridge [pictured above], José D. Riquelme said: “After over a dozen visits to Iceland, exploring its majestic lands, during a rest stop, I decided to change my perspective and launch my drone. To my amazement, I captured this incredible image. From above, lines form a bridge extending from left to right, while on the ground, abstract shapes emerge from the flowing river water originating from the glacier.”
Riquelme, a passionate landscape and night photographer hailing from Murcia, Spain, has embarked on a fascinating journey into the world of photography. Despite his extensive background in graphic design and printing, his photographic journey began just 8 years ago. In his initial two years, challenging the conventional notion of photographic locations, he used his mobile phone to perfect compositions in seemingly unphotogenic environments.
“In this stunning image, we are immersed in the mysterious and desolate landscape of Deadvlei, Namibia,” Epson said. “In the foreground, a petrified tree, a solitary witness to the passing of time, stands majestically against a starry sky. The cracked and dry ground creates a surreal stage that adds depth and texture to the composition.
“Ghost Cave is a breath-taking extreme panorama captured at the iconic Kirkjufell in Iceland. This image is composed of three rows of photographs spanning from the ground to the sky, embracing the wall behind. This panoramic composition achieves a stunning optical effect that simulates the appearance of a cave, adding a magical touch to the image.”
RAW Planet Award winner Yellow Net 1 by Teo Chin Long, Singapore
About Yellow Net 1, Teo Chin Long said: “This lovely photo was taken in Vietnam. It is a huge net set up with a motor which, when activated, will raise the nets and catch any fish trapped in it. I was happy to be here to document this scene during the golden dusk hours. The light was gentle and could interplay with the yellow of the nets for a great composition.”
Epson Digital Art Prize winner Swee Choo Oh’s Disney Concert Hall
Many photographers have been drawn to Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, an iconic Los Angeles landmark, falling in love with its curves and lines. When Swee looked to create her own study of the building she saw silver sails, serene and peaceful over water. As she worked on her images, she found that by removing the noise and distraction of everything around it, and by allowing the building to see its own reflection, like Narcissus, it was transformed.
Open runner-up and Built Environment category winner was Cao Ky Nhan, Vietnam with Vortex of Ducks.
Cao Ky Nhan said, “I have a significant amount of experience in photographing duck flocks, so I understand their behaviour well. With the photo 'Vortex of Ducks,' I took the shot around 5pm in the evening. At that time, the light was still quite strong and had a beautiful golden hue. When it's feeding time, the duck herder brings food and calls out to them, and thousands of ducks will quickly rush towards the herder, running around him. To capture their movement, I used a drone and added an ND filter to the camera. My intention was to slow down the shutter speed. In this way, with a single static image, I was able to capture the swirling motion of the ducks. At that moment, their movement resembled a vortex.”
The Amateur winner & Nature/Landscape category winner was Merche Llobera from Spain for Jack Fish Art, All you can Eat and Spirits of the Sea.
In Jack Fish Art, captured in Cabo Pulmo, a breathtaking natural spectacle unfolds: a school of jacks forming a figure resembling a tornado. The jacks, with their silver and gleaming bodies, move in perfect synchrony, swirling and undulating in a fascinating aquatic ballet. The turquoise and crystal-clear sea provides the perfect stage for this incredible phenomenon.
All you can Eat
In All You can Eat, a cormorant swims quickly between different schools of fish trying to decide which one to eat while Llobera, much slower, tried to get a good photo. Swanee Reef is a perfect place to see these schools of fish, cormorants and sea lions.
Spirits of the Sea
Describing Spirits of the Sea Llobera said, “Here a pod of common dolphins is captured in motion as they swim swiftly towards the camera. Their intelligent eyes were fixed on me, displaying a curious and playful expression. It is clear that these dolphins were not very used to seeing humans in their underwater world, as they appear to be fascinated and intrigued by the encounter.”
The Amateur runner-up & Built Environment category winner was Hung Chang Lin from Taiwan with Mystical Inca, Perú.
Hung Chang Lin said, “This was my first time to Perú. Everything was mysterious to me. I know that Machu Picchu is a very popular tourist spot in the world. In order to take pictures of the real Inca civilisation with nobody there, I set off from the foot of the mountain before dawn and I took an incredible amount of time to reach the ticket gate. As I entered Machu Picchu, the sky was still filled with dark clouds, and there was a gentle drizzle in the air. However, when I finally discovered my ideal spot, the sun pierced through the clouds, causing the Incan buildings to appear as if they were floating on the clouds. In that moment, I felt so touched.”
The Curator's Award went to Krzysztof Browko from Poland for Church.
Krzysztof Browko said, “Church was created during an autumn photography trip to Slovenia. The St. Thomas Church, which is the theme, emerged from the morning mists at just the right moment. I've been to this place several times before; however, I've never hit such good conditions. This time I succeeded.”
Competition curator David Evans said, “2023 represents a diverse collection of images, demonstrating new boundaries being pushed - such as Merche Llobera's striking underwater panoramas. Also notable is the strong performance of entrants from Southeast Asia and Europe this year, mirrored in the entry statistics with an increase in new entrants from those regions in particular. It's always exciting to see the competition evolve year-on-year, and without doubt 2023 is no exception.”
The judging panel for The Epson International Pano awards includes some of the world's top panoramic photographers and industry professionals.
To view all the winning and top image galleries go to: https://thepanoawards.com/2023-winners-gallery