We received more than 1,700 submissions to our 2019 The American Landscape Photography Contest. The following slideshow displays our 25 finalist images, as well as the three winning shots!
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Photographer: Don Hurzeler
Description: The Big Island of Hawaii has produced some epic lava flows over the past few decades. The lava from the Pu'u'Ō'ō vent sends lava downhill and that lava eventually meets the sea. This image was taken at the moment of sunrise from a boat just off of the lava ocean entry. The first rays of light lit up some of the white water in the middle and left of the image. On the right, you can see the lava just under the surface of the oncoming ocean surge, and a moment later that would have all been a steam cloud or an explosion. I shot at 20 frames per second to catch the brief moment of clear water over the lava and caught it in just one of those frames. Lava shots like this need to be underexposed so as to not blow out the bright parts of the image and then I was able to bring out the detail of the image in Lightroom.
Gear & Settings: Sony a7R III, Zeiss Batis 18mm lens, handheld. Exposure: 1/100th sec., ƒ/2.8, ISO 320.