The American Landscape 2015 Contest Winners
1st Place: Ryan Pastorek
Title: Atchafalaya Autumn
Inspired by the work of David Chauvin, I traveled back to my native Louisiana last fall to photograph the Atchafalaya Basin. On this particular morning, I woke up at 4 a.m., drove an hour to the shoreline, kayaked a few miles through rusty, old-growth cypress groves and finally arrived at my scouted location. I waded into the chest-deep water with my tripod to capture the morning’s peace and tranquility. The clouds moved across the sky to obscure the rising sun just enough to cool and soften the image, and reveal the display of fall color, which was washed out just a few minutes before. I captured the moment and paddled home, exhausted, but elated.
2nd Place: Sherry Bell
Title: A New Day Begins
This was my first time to eastern California. I had planned on one of those iconic shots of the Owens River with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance. I arrived to a preselected spot a few miles into the middle of nowhere before sunrise. Still dark, I walked about a quarter of a mile along the river’s edge until I found my spot for my sunrise shots. I had plenty of time and took many photos before sunrise, during and after. This photo won my eye because of the alpenglow on the mountaintops and the light just touching the tops of some of the tall grasses across the landscape. There was no wind, so I chose ƒ/22 and 100 ISO to give myself a longer exposure to further smooth out the river’s already slow and gentle movement toward the Sierra. One never knows what a sunrise will bring, but this one was perfect in so many ways. I really love the clouds and their soft colors in the sky, with those colors being reflected in the river giving a deeper intensity to the colors.
3rd Place: Terry Shapiro
Title: The Tempest
On the way back from a trip to Wyoming, not too far into Colorado, the sky seemed to explode. The constant rumble and vivid colors from the lightning inside the storm, in combination with the sunset to my back, compelled me to pull over and take the photo. Storms tend to chase me; I don’t chase them. This was one of those times when you just didn’t want to stop and get out. But I knew if I didn’t, I would be sorry later.