From lush green forests to dramatic star-studded skies, the stunning winner shots of the 2020 International Landscape Photographer of the Year competition have finally been announced. Based in Sydney, Australia, the competition received over 3800 entries from professional artists hoping to win the prize. But there can be only one winner for the “Photographer of the year” category and this year, it went to the 24-year-old artist from Hong Kong Kelvin Yuen, who entered with mesmerizing mountain snaps taken at various locations. “[It] is our main prize, acknowledging the additional skill and artistry required to produce a portfolio of landscape photographs,” Peter Eastway, Chairman of Judges, told in a press release about the “Photographer of the year” award.
The “Photograph of the year” prize that’s awarded for a single image (unlike the previous category, which requires a folio of four images) went to the German photographer Kai Hornung. Kai really impressed the judges with his mesmerizing aerial shot of a stream in the highlands of Iceland. In addition to the winners who snatched top prizes in the competition, the judges also shortlisted their top 101 photos out of several thousand submitted. Scroll down below to see them and don’t forget to vote for the ones that impressed you the most!
Kelvin Yuen is a landscape photographer based in Hong Kong.
“I’m 24 years old and I’ve been taking photos for six years since borrowing my cousin’s camera for a hiking day trip to Lion Rock Peak,” the artist told in a press release for Bored Panda. “There was no particular reason for going, Lion Rock Peak is just a mountain in my backyard and I’d never visited it. This was also my very first time hiking above the clouds and the view from the peak really inspired me. I fell in love with nature.”
“For a person like me, who grew up in a city (Hong Kong), this walk opened a whole new world to me,” Kelvin continued. “Since then, I have spent most of my free time in the mountains, exploring the spectacular views of nature. And after graduating from university in 2018, I have been able to travel around the world and have become a full-time professional landscape photographer.”
#2 By photographer of the year – Kelvin Yuen
For his landscape photography, Kelvin uses a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera. “It can deal with harsh shooting conditions such as extremely low temperature and heavy rain,” the photographer explained. “Most of my wide-angle images are taken with a Laowa 12mm f2.8 lens and I love the distorted perspective it creates. I also use Sigma’s 14mm f1.8 for night photography, plus there’s a Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 and Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 which cover most of my requirements. I find the image stabilization of both lenses provides a lot of flexibility when shooting in conditions where it is hard to set up a tripod.”
In a statement for Bored Panda, Kelvin told that over the years, he has developed “a personal post-production workflow for colour control and atmosphere creation.”
“I use Adobe Camera Raw to adjust the main aspects of my file, such as tone and colour. Then after this rough adjustment, I drag the photo into Adobe Photoshop to manage the details. I always use dodging and burning to highlight the foreground or the main subject, to enhance the attraction of what I want to present in the photo. Also, vertical panoramas are one of my favourite techniques, as some perspectives cannot be captured with a single shot.”
#3 By photographer of the year – Kelvin Yuen
“What I like the most about landscape photography is that it gives me a chance to understand myself,” the winner of the 2020 competition told in a press release. “Working outdoors, I need to deal with many uncertain conditions – for example, shooting without sleeping, shooting inside a storm, exploring areas without a path and even dealing with a car that gets stuck! These challenges have improved my problemsolving skills and give me an opportunity to reach a place I never expected I could in my life.”
“For photo competitions, the International Landscape Photographer of the Year award has been my only focus for the past four years,” Kelvin revealed. “I’ve studied the past winners’ works and I believe ILPOTY presents the highest standard of landscape photography in the world. It fits with what I am doing – and I also want to know how my work stacks up under its high standard judging panel.”
Kai Hornung, the winner of the seventh International Landscape Photograph of the Year, is a German landscape photographer who has been able to turn his passion and hobby of photography into a side job as a freelance photographer and artist. “However, I make my living as a human resources consultant in the finance industry, so I would consider myself a semi-professional photographer,” Kai revealed in a press release.
“It was on a business trip to Ireland back in 2016 when I started to fall in love with photographing landscapes. Before then, I had only used my camera here and there to document family life and travels. Since then, I have travelled within Europe extensively, trying to capture the beauty of nature and shaping my artistic vision,” the German photographer explained.
“Landscape photography combines the joy of the outdoors and being creative,” Kai, the winner of the seventh International Landscape Photograph of the Year, told in a press release for Bored Panda. “And creativity is of vital importance for me. Since my teenage days, I have been writing lyrics and songs and singing in rock bands. Within the last four years, landscape photography has become my main creative outlet. It gives me a chance to slow down and remove myself from the sometimes hectic everyday life. For this I am incredibly grateful.”
“Within the last few years I have started to turn my attention away from the grand and dramatic vistas, towards the more intimate and sometimes abstract scenes. It is there that I feel I can put in more of my own, personal expression. And it feels very rewarding to have images that are truly my own, images that I discovered (or that found me), rather than just the ‘point and click’ process at famous locations,” Kai Hornung explained.
“I enter photo contests here and there, always with mixed feelings because I don’t think that art is meant to compete with each other. Then again, there is another side of me that is curious to see how my images are perceived by the greatest in the world. And the fact that being awarded in one of the most prestigious contests in the world is a huge accomplishment for any photographer, simply cannot be denied,” German photographer Kai Hornung said. “Within the landscape photography community, the International Landscape Photographer of the Year is the most important photo contest in the world. It honours artistic and visual craftsmanship, combined with the love for nature, unlike any other contest. When looking at the winners of the past and the images that get a spot in the prestigious top 101 book, I am in awe. Having had an image in last year’s book was, and still is, a true honour for me.”
#7 By photographer of the year – Kelvin Yuen
“As our annual award grows with over 3800 entries this year, so does the range and diversity of subjects, locations and styles. Landscape photography is a powerful medium, even more so when we acknowledge the impact of climate change and our footprint on this Earth,” Peter Eastway, Chairman of Judges, told in a statement. “So, should landscape photography highlight the global challenges that lie ahead if we don’t change our ways, or is it an opportunity to create a landscape of the imagination, perhaps a better place to be?
““Fortunately, there isn’t a single answer to this and similar questions and each photographer is entitled to follow their own path. All we’re looking for is an engaging image – and images that communicate something seem to gain more attention,” Peter continued.”
The International Landscape Photographer of the Year Award 2020 again presents 101 incredible landscape photographs with a truly international flavour, representing photographers and locations from all around the world.”
#8 By photographer of the year – Kelvin Yuen
#9 Photograph of the year by Kai Hornung