In Search of Mystery in Gold Butte


A few weeks ago Aubrey and I made our way south to explore Gold Butte National Monument. Though it is one of the nations more recently protected areas, established in 2016, what makes the area special is its ancient history. Sandstone sculptures shaped through countless seasons of weathering are scattered about the desert landscape. Occasionally, these natural works of art are further embellished with petroglyphs created by the ancestors of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, aging from 700 to a few thousand years old.

The Buffington Pockets and Muddy Mountains

We started our trip at the Buffington Pockets, a little outside of the monument. Here we found strangely colorful sandstone sometimes rivaling the best abstract art you might hope to find in a modern art museum. While wandering the canyons we found several mylar balloons, likely having found their way here after escaping from parties in Las Vegas. In our desert adventures we’ve found quite a few of these flying pieces of trash, however, there is often story associated with them that is fun to ponder. On our last trip we found one celebrating someones 100th birthday. This time, we found a remarkably well preserved Woody balloon.

After a night at the Buffington Pockets, we made our way across the desert landscape towards Gold Butte, taking the scenic route. We made a little detour to visit the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area, on foot. Here we found a secluded valley decorated with colorful sandstone mounds. Near one of them we first smelled, and then saw, several recent animal carcasses including a bighorn sheep and fox. We suspect a mountain lion must have had a nice home there, but didn’t stick around long enough to find out. The following morning we were greeted by our campsite by a band of hungry wild horses.

solitude, sandstone, nevada, deserts

A tiny shrub, from the right angle, looks like a lonely tree in this surreal sandstone landscape.

abstract, sandstone, nevada

Strange colors and patterns in the sandstone abound in southern Nevada’s sandstone country.

Mylar Woody

The Muddy Mountains

Gold Butte National Monument

Our first few stops in Gold Butte were to explore some of the many petroglyph panels adorning the sandstone outcroppings. I was, however, equally intrigued by the natural “art” consisting of impossibly crisp lines of color cutting through the otherwise light pink stone.

Enjoying the views and wondering what was on the minds of the people who created these petroglyphs.

petroglyphs, gold butte nm, nevada, deserts, man in nature

Seven of the ‘twenty-one goats’ petroglyph panel in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.

abstracts, sandstone, nevada, deserts, gold butte

Mother nature is the original modern artist, and sandstone is her favorite canvas.

That evening we returned to an area we had visited several years ago, known as little finland. Having little to do with Finland, I imagine the name stems from the strange and fragile sandstone fins that decorate the area. Many of these larger shapes likely started out as small pockets like in this image, resembling the tafoni found along many coastlines. The white residue found in the area is consistent with the hypothesis that these structures likely formed, and continue to evolve, through salt weathering.

Overnight a significant thunderstorm moved through the area and listened to the pounding rain and crashing thunder from the comfort of our bed in the truck. The following morning Aubrey got to enjoy her coffee in bed while taking in the lovely scents of a wet desert.

sandstone, gold butte, deserts

Weathered sandstone takes on strange shapes, almost like chocolate melting in the sun. Found in Gold Butte National Monument, NV.

Morning coffee in bed.

On our last day we explored a few other sandstone outcroppings in the landscape, finding several more remarkable petroglyph panels. Although people have no doubt written theses about the meaning of these panels, I myself wonder if some of them weren’t simply the works of young men and women looking to make their mark on the world.

deserts, nevada, gold butte nm, joshua trees, red rocks

The spiky green Joshua Trees contrast beautifully with the sensual and smooth red sandstone found in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.

petroglyphs, sandstone, canyons, nevada, gold butte

Petroglyphs adorn the walls of this narrow sandstone canyon in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.

gold butte, nevada, landscapes, grand landscapes, deserts, open spaces, warm

Protrusions of colorful sandstone adorn the wide open country of Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.

The Circus

The goat men. What do you suppose they are up to? Who made this “drawing”, and why?

Tags: desert, gold butte, gold butte national monument, red rocks


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Step out of your comfort zone for better images


October 9, 2022

In his latest column for AP, nature photographer Marsel van Oosten reveals how facing his fears and leaving his comfort zone led to success

I often hear that I have a very recognisable style. When asked what it is, people often use words like ‘simple’, ‘clean’, ‘graphic’, ‘uncluttered’, and even ‘sterile’. I agree with all those words because they perfectly describe the artistic form that I am trying to create in my work.

As a photographer, you not only need to decide what you want to photograph but also how you want to photograph it. Every photographer has his own preferred way of shooting – one that gives the best and most pleasing results. For me, that means simple, clean, graphic and uncluttered images. As a result, I always find myself drawn to subjects with a strong, graphic shape, in a habitat with as little distractions and visual clutter as possible. For that reason, I prefer photographing deserts over grasslands, and dead trees over live ones. I didn’t always know this.

Golden snub-nosed monkeys, Qinling Mountains, Shaanxi, China Nikon D810, AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 3200 leave your comfort zone for better images

Golden snub-nosed monkeys, Qinling Mountains, Shaanxi, China. Nikon D810, AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 3200

If you have a particular style, it’s usually the result of certain preferences you have as an artist. Then, once you’re very comfortable with that style, you become extremely efficient and almost go into autopilot. Everything is easy because you’re in an environment that fits your photographic style, so you immediately know what to do. You work fast and efficiently and become very productive. Whereas if you’re suddenly in an environment that you are not very familiar with, or even dislike, that’s a whole different ball game.

Abandoning the comfort zone

Many years ago, my wife Daniella and I went on a trip to Costa Rica. We both love the wilderness and a rainforest is as wild as it gets. I had just started in photography and was excited to photograph the wildlife. But, as much as I enjoyed the experience, I wasn’t inspired to take any photographs. I checked my Lightroom catalogue to see how many images I shot on that trip: ten. It was a pivotal moment in my development as a photographer as it forced me to figure out why I was not inspired. Conclusion: too much visual clutter.

Self-portrait in Shaanxi, China, at the exact location where Marsel van Oosten shot the award-winning ‘The Golden Couple’ image

Self-portrait in Shaanxi, China, at the exact location where Marsel van Oosten shot the award-winning ‘The Golden Couple’ image

For the next ten years I stayed far away from forests. The ‘cleaner’ the landscape, the more inspired and happier I was. But, after a while, my decision started bothering me. Every now and then I saw beautiful images taken by other photographers in dense forests and realised that I was running away from a challenge. Years later, I saw a very bad photograph of golden snub-nosed monkeys, in a brochure, somewhere in China.

They were the most fascinating looking monkeys I’d ever seen, and when I learned that they were endangered I knew I had to photograph them. Lichens are the main staple of the monkeys’ diet, and dead trees have the greatest lichen coverage. Unfortunately, those are being taken by the timber industry. The monkeys are also eaten by the local population. Anyhow, the problem was: they live in dense forests.

I absolutely love forests from a nature-loving perspective, but a forest is nothing but clutter. For the first time in my career, I had to think long and hard about how to face my fears, and how I could overcome my ‘clutter-phobia’. No more relying on intuition… it was time to get way out of my comfort zone.

Golden snub-nosed monkey with baby Nikon D810, AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 160

Golden snub-nosed monkey with baby. Nikon D810, AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 160

In an effort to get control over the immense clutter in the backgrounds, I decided to use a polariser to limit the amount of reflections off the leaves, and to use flash to create separation between the subjects and the forest behind them. Flash enabled me to control the ambient lighting and get sufficient light on the monkeys while, at the same time, being able to underexpose the backgrounds using polarisers, decreasing the amount of reflections.

This proved to be the recipe for my project, and many of the images I shot there are among my favourites. One of them even won me the grand title Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Had I decided to stick to my standard routines, and comfortably continue on autopilot, this would never have happened. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Marsel van Oosten at work in China step out of your comfort zone

Marsel van Oosten at work in China

As told to Steve Fairclough

Featured image: ‘The Golden Couple’, overall winner in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2018. Nikon D810, AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 1/320sec at f/8, ISO 1600

Marsel van Oosten

Marsel van Oosten was born in The Netherlands and worked as an art director for 15 years. He switched careers to become a photographer and has since won Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Travel Photographer of the Year. He’s a regular contributor to National Geographic and runs nature photography tours around the world. Visit

Further reading

Whether you’re new to wildlife and nature photography or looking to improve your skills, we have plenty of tips and techniques to help you on your way. Take a look here.

See more of Marsel van Oosten’s columns:

You need better backgrounds

Why scale is important

How to pre-visualise a photograph

Making the most of bad weather

Why planning is important in photography

Why you should photograph wildlife at low angles

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.



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The Most Interesting Photography Blog In The World


The Top Ten Aaron Reed Photography Blogs of All Time

Is Aaron Reed’s Fine Art Photography Blog the most interesting of all time? Do you think blogs are a waste of your time? No one reads blogs anymore right? If you answered yes to any of these questions you need to heed the famous words of ICE CUBE and Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.

Currently, roughly 409 million internet users read about 20 million blog pages monthly. 53% of marketers prioritize blogging as their primary content marketing strategy. When it comes to fine art photography, EVERYONE knows Aaron Reed is the business, even the most interesting man in the world.

Searching through an extensive catalog of blog posts can be quite boring though, so I have gone the extra mile (I’m always looking out for you guys) and have created this list of my top ten photography blog posts of all time. No time to read? Too Tired? No problem, I’d be happy to read them to you for $250 an hour. Call it the worlds most expensive bedtime story.

Okay, without further ado, the moment you have all been waiting for, here is my top ten list as determined by you, the sad lonely people who actually read my blog posts.

Let There Be Light

A wildfire sunset climbs up the forgotten walkways of the emerald temple of Kirkjufellsfoss in Iceland. Shrouds of whitewater trickle past jeweled gardens of moss on their way to the frigid plain of the open ocean. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

1. Fine Art America? I Don’t Think So.

Fine Art America is a POD (Print On Demand) company and online marketplace that sells the work of more than 500,000 artists around the world. Fine Art America offers various forms of art including wall art, prints, posters, tapestries and apparel. Have you been looking for a shower curtain with a boat powered by butterfly wingsfor your newly renovated bathroom? You got it! A rainbow zebra coffee mug? Of course you can, go treat yourself!

2. Aspen Tree or Birch?

Where do we come from? What is the meaning of life? Is it an aspen tree or a birch? These are the questions that have plagued mankind since the dawn of time. Without a doubt, both are beautiful trees, loved by nature photographers, hikers and all seekers of fall color around the country. But what is the difference? Is it the way they taste? The sound that each makes when they fall in the forest and no one is there to hear their cries? Let’s dig a little and see if we can find out.

On Earth, As It Is In Heaven

The whites and ingidos of an alpine meadow of lupine mirror the crags and glaciers of Mount Rainier National Park’s eponymous peak. The highest summit in the Pacific Northwest, the dormant volcano slumbers peacefully beneath the quiet grandeur of a midsummer sunset. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

3. What Are Peter Lik Style Prints?

In reality, there is simply no such thing as Peter Lik Style Prints. There are acrylic face-mounted photography prints, produced by thousands of photographers around the world and there are acrylic face-mounted photography prints produced by artist Peter Lik. These truths are separate from each other, as one style does not belong to the other.

4. Ansel Adams | Black and White Photography

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was a landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West. He helped found Group f/64, an association of photographers advocating “pure” photography which favored sharp focus and the use of the full tonal range of a photograph.

The Vortex

The desert sun shines down through an iridescent portal in one of Antelope Canyon’s famous slot canyons. Over the eons, the solid rock has begun to take on the shape of the wild rivers which have carved their way through it. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

5. Imitation Is Not The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Flattery, is often used in a dishonest way, as a means to achieve what someone wants for themselves. An employee, hoping for a promotion, may compliment the bosses new suit. A waitress, may use flattery to increase the chances of being tipped. Even laughter, when used correctly can flatter and therefore influence a person’s opinion of you.

6. My Scandalous Affair With The Sony A7RIV

As described in my previously released, highly debated and riot inciting story about the FUJI GFX100 and Sony A7RIV, I explained my history with the Canon EOS system and a little bit about myself as a landscape photographer. I have been a Canon shooter since I began my adventure with photography, beginning with a Canon 40D, then a 50D, a 5D2, a 5D3 and finally a 5DSR.

Heavens Gate

The gnarled branches of a Japanese maple spread forth a flaming crown in a sculpted garden in Portland, Oregon. Beside a tranquil pond, the winding footpaths and soft beds of moss are scattered with the gold and crimson stars from this dazzling display. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

7. How To Light Artwork In Your Home

You have a fair amount of choices when it comes to lighting, each having its own set of benefits and considerations. The best lighting enhances the artwork, without distracting from the rest of the decor in your room. Before we go any further, lets discuss the various types of lighting available to you.

8. Creating A Custom Las Vegas Photography Gallery

Since then, Helga & Vlajko have continued to add even more fine art pieces of mine to their collection. Now with 35 total pieces of mine on the walls of their home that really does rival any Las Vegas fine art gallery. Please have a look below at some of their choices for this project!

Echoes Of Fall

A tangled web of skeletal branches lace together the ashen trunks of a grove of aspen near Leavenworth, Washington. Unfazed as yet by the chill of winter, the fiery hues of the autumn undergrowth bleed through a hush of fog. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

9. The Great American Landscape Painters

Many landscape photographers today, including myself, have found beauty and inspiration in the works of these masters. The composition, light and overall mood created in many of these paintings hold the same allure to landscape photographers of today. Please read on to learn more about the Hudson River School, the movement itself and more about three of the painters who helped cement these works into history.

10. The Best Fine Art Print Mediums Explained

These days, you can have your photographs printed onto almost anything. Care to see your photos printed on a natural plank of wood freshly cut from a tree? No problem. A slab of cold steel? You betcha. How about a t-shirt, coffee cup or a backpack? Consider it done my friend.


You did it!! You have officially wasted a signification portion of your day today reading this blog post and I just want to say thank you! Now grab another cutoff coffee and get back to work!!!


The bleached skeleton of a leafless tree weathers the cold chill of a desert valley in Zion National Park. The rosy sandstone, vibrant even in the depths of winter, bleeds through the spider’s web of bare branches. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.


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The Human-Nature Relationship | Vogue


Eleonora Strano

Eleonora Strano is a Franco-Italian photographer based in France. Her work explores themes such as isolation and invisibility whether it is geographical, cultural, environmental, social, political or visual. Her images are often imprinted by nostalgia, memory and time. In 2019, her work was exhibited at Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux, as part of “Des marches, démarches” curated by FRAC PACA, and has been part of Jeune Création in Romainville, Circulation(s) in Paris and the 37th edition of the Festival international de mode, de photographie et d’accessoires in Hyères. She was nominated as one of the 31 women photographers to watch for in 2019 by the British Journal of Photography, one of the 250 photographers of 2020 by the PhMuseum, and has been listed as one of the 150 emerging European photographers of 2021 by GUP Magazine. Eleonora Strano is a member of Eyes on Talents, Hans Lucas, Women Photograph and Blink, and works in the South of France. In parallel to her work with the media as a photojournalist, she develops artistic projects among which is a photographic commission launched by Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, Villa Arson and Académie 5 about biocontrol. She is currently working on her next project about shipwrecks, memory and the Anthropocene in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon for which she was the recipient of the BnF grant Radioscopie de la France.


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On Social Media, You Get an ‘A’ for Effortlessness | Opinion


Today on social media, girls flaunt perfect lives: styled hair, trendy and fashionable outfits, picturesque backgrounds, flattering but casual poses. The snapshots curate a particular image of effortless beauty, but behind the scenes, even the most casual selfies take tens of tries and a full face of makeup. Posed photos are the result of a million pieces falling into place, making one photo the one that outdoes the others: the background, the pose, the outfit, the hair are each good enough. Aesthetic shots of cities and landscapes are carefully chosen to match a color scheme and curate the feed.

These posting rituals speak of long-held beauty standards, modeled by popular accounts and cascading down to the normal person and 16-year-old girl. If you’ve been wondering “why is everyone famous on social media so thin/attractive/white?”, you’re not alone. It’s widely speculated that the TikTok “For You” algorithm scores users by euro-centric standards of attractiveness, and Black influencers find it significantly harder than their white counterparts to secure brand deals and make income. The fact is algorithms boost well-performing content, absorbing an entire human history of white and thin people imposing standards on everyone else.

While beauty standards aren’t new, one might argue that social media promotes them in an especially harmful way. Research isn’t yet conclusive on how social media’s unique interactivity affects perceptions of beauty. Social media does contribute to negative body image; however, exposure to traditional media has a similar effect. Meanwhile, the nature of influential content is shifting from aspirational to relatable, as increasingly digestible media forms connect with audiences in more casual ways. Marketers know this, so marketing has moved from traditional advertisements towards influencer sponsorships. For example, Doja Cat made a Tiktok jingle about Mexican pizza for Taco Bell, and Duolingo is known for its “unhinged” social media persona.

The shift is noticeable. Gone are the aspirational bloggers of 2014, posting DSLR photography and expensive foreign destinations — my current feed is girls about my age, who look like me, holding photoshoots on city streets and parking garages. Instead of VS Pink models, my “celebrities” are influencers like Helen Peng, a girl who could basically be my classmate, except that she’s an incredible dancer with 1.8 million Tiktok followers.

Embedded in the rules accompanying this shift is a gendered expectation, always the message to girls: Try, but don’t try too hard. Look polished but relatable, model but not unnaturally, wear natural makeup but not full glam. Blur your photos so they look taken in the moment.

Instead of aspirational lives that only rich celebrities who evidently have very different circumstances can attain, we constantly view “relatable” content from people just slightly ahead of us. Productivity YouTubers are just like you, but they have a perfect system for studying and note-taking. Fashion bloggers tell you exactly which clothes they bought, so you can buy them and achieve the same look. The standards are subtle but demanding, asking why we can’t do it if they can.

In many ways, the beauty standards of relatability are more far-reaching than before. Instead of being limited to the sphere of physical appearance, an entire lifestyle is idealized and projected. In every aspect of life, there’s relatable content for you to aspire to: diet, outfits, travel, workouts, work, home decor, nights out, nights in, friend groups, even crying. So we strive, because we believe we can recreate these idealized scenes. They make it look easy.

What makes the standards more insidious is that they’re never spoken, only understood by a sea of girls finding their place in the digital age. Influencers often don’t take the stance of a brand selling you a product; they approach their audience as a friend giving an honest recommendation. It doesn’t feel like conforming to a beauty standard when an online persona you trust recommended you a new study system, or a different brand of hair product.

Young girls — the generation we say look like 23-year-olds when they’re only 16 — grew up looking at perfect pictures of others online, and they understand what the digital world asks of them, learning social rules analogous to the ones they pick up in school. Naturally, they learn. They don new haircuts, draw on freckles and eyebrows, learn to pose in photos (perhaps by watching a modeling tips video), get outfit inspiration from 25-year-old bloggers, and wear blazers to school. They become photographers and social media managers. It’s second nature because these are the rules of digital society.

This is the world my little sister will grow up in. Still, I won’t tell her to delete social media and recover some past innocence from before digital standards permeated our consciousness. These are the new rules, and if any girl enjoys engaging with lifestyles portrayed on social media, she deserves to try as hard as she wants without contempt. (No one is telling boys to stop hitting the gym every day in their pursuit of an ideal body type.) Obviously, take care of yourself first, and take whatever measures you need against social media’s many physical and mental negative effects. When your health is spoken for, then curate your Instagram feed if you want, go out with your friends and have a day-long photoshoot if you want.

The act of revolution is not necessarily ignoring standards entirely, rejecting the supposedly frivolous pursuit of beauty in the name of feminism. I think it’s finding a way to love yourself anyway — whether it involves makeup or fashion or fitness, or posting on Instagram, or not posting on Instagram. It’s coming to terms with who you are, both your physical and digital selves.

Elizabeth S. Ling ’23 is a Computer Science concentrator in Eliot House. Her column, “Alone Together,” appears on alternating Fridays.


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Intense moment frozen in time. Aurora framing the mountains in the background and Vikbutan Bay in the foreground, Lofoten Islands, Norway. The intensity of this display lasted for a short 10 minutes.

With humble excitement, I am pleased to announce that my piece, Intensity, which was also a 2020 PPA Gold Medal Winner, has been selected as Best of Show in the 9th Annual Photography Show of the Flagler County Art League by Juror, Eric Breitenbach.

“It’s not just the northern lights but the way their forms and shapes play off the landscape. The photographer made an astute selection of the location for composition and incorporated extraordinary technique for a once in a lifetime picture.” – Eric Breitenbach

This piece, along with three of my other works, (Reaching Out – Honorable Mention | Animals, Fading Mist (Vanishing Mist) – Honorable Mention | Land/Sea/Cityscapes, and Orange Glow) will be displayed alongside a richly talented cohort of fellow photographers, and can be viewed at: Flagler County Art League.

Polar bear cub interacting with its mother outside their day-den in Wapusk N.P., Manitoba, Canada.

Sunrise through the fog at Seney National Wildlife Refuge in the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

Fishing village in Lofoten bathed by late morning light


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Petrified Sea — Salt Point State Park, CA


After weeks of suffocating heat and smoke from the Tamarack, Beckworth, and Dixie fires, Aubrey and I decided it was time to make a trip the California coast, one of the only places within a 7 hour drive that could promise cool and clean air. We followed the long and windy roads to Salt Point State Park, one of my favorite stretches of coast that has the same strange rock formations you would expect to find in Utah. Ironically, though we came to breath fresh air, the sky itself was foggy most of the day and resembled the smoky skies from home. Still, simply knowing that the air was clean made all the difference, and sleeping in a tent in cold damp air was exactly the relief we’d hoped for.

The area is also quite popular with fishing and other harvesting. At one beach we met some friendly van lifers cleaning out their Sea Urchin haul, and I bravely nibbled on a piece of sea-to-mouth Uni they offered. It was extraordinarily delicate, sweet, fishy, salty, and nutty.

Salt Point State Park, Coast, Sandstone

Bizarre sandstone shapes etched by millennia of wind, salt, and rain in Salt Point State Park, on California’s Pacific Coast. I used a long exposure (30 seconds) in this photograph to blur the misty sea to accentuate the strange figures.

We had visited here once before, but looking through my blogs that image never seems to have made it on here, so now seems like a good time to share it, too. The rocks here are covered in mesmerizing designs of tafoni, the same kind of weather rock found elsewhere along the coast, and in the southwest.

Tafoni, California Coast, Pacific Ocean

Intricate patterns of tafoni (the sculpted cave-like features on the sandstone) adorn the wild coastline of California, while the huge waves of the Pacific Ocean crash against the shore. 

Tags: California, coast, ocean, sandstone, sea, tafoni


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Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022 winner announced!


October 23, 2022

The winners of the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022 competition have been announced. Here’s a selection of our favourites

Landscape Photographer of the Year has now been running for 15 editions. Founded in 2006 by the hugely well-respected landscape photographer, Charlie Waite, each year the judges have the unenviable task of looking through many thousands of images to decide on the best of the best.

The competition is open to images of the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, but photographers can be of any nationality. As well as the main adult competition, a youth award runs alongside it, both sharing the same main categories – many of which you’ll see on these two spreads. The categories are Classic View, Urban Life, Black and White and Your View. There also special awards, comprising Coast, Historic Britain, Lines in the Landscape and Landscapes at Night.

One of the most prestigious competitions to be shortlisted in, it also has a prize fund worth more than £20,000 and culminates in a touring exhibition across the country.

Judges for this year’s competition include some of the leading names in photography and publishing – many of whom you’ll have seen in the pages of our magazine and online. Acclaimed photographers such as Lizzie Shepherd, Verity Milligan and Martin Evening are on the judging panel, as is our very own editor, Nigel Atherton.

The overall prize goes to William Davies, for his beautiful image of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, while the overall Youth award goes to Natasha Burns for her beautiful shot taken in Argyll.

As well as a touring exhibition, a hardback book, published by Ilex Press, containing all of the winners, plus many more runners-up, highly commended, commended and shortlisted images, is available to buy.

For more information on the competition, the exhibition, the book and how to enter next year’s competition, visit

See the winners below

Landscape Photographer of the Year overall winner 2022

William Davies – Brecon In Winter

Location: Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

Canon EOS 5DSR, EF 70-200mm f/4L

Landscape photographer of the year overall 2022 winner William Davies - Brecon In Winter Location: Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales Canon EOS 5DSR, EF 70-200mm f/4L

Image: William Davies

Taken from the Pen-y-Crug hillfort, the viewpoint provides a stunning panorama of Brecon and the surrounding mountains in South Wales. William says, ‘On this December morning,

I arrived in the gloom before dawn but was lucky to find the sunlight soon breaking through a clearing in the snowstorm, adding a burst of warmth and colour to the scene.’ William used a telephoto lens, which has helped to compress the sunlit fields and the snow-covered hills and mountains in the background.

Landscape Photographer of the Year Overall Youth winner 2022

Natasha Burns – Dawn Reflection

Location: Loch Creran, Argyll, Scotland

Nikon D3400, 55-300mm f/4-5.6

overall youth landscape photographer of the year 2022 winner Natasha Burns - Dawn Reflection Location: Loch Creran, Argyll, Scotland Nikon D3400, 55-300mm f/4-5.6

Image: Natasha Burns

Your View category winner

Simon Turnball – Oh! Limpet Games

Location: Ayrmer Cove, Devon, England

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

Simon Turnbal - Oh! Limpet Games Location: Ayrmer Cove, Devon, England Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L your view landscape photographer of the year 2022 category winner

Image: Simon Turnball

Simon came across this fascinating scene while wandering along the Devon coast. He was immediately taken by its intriguing lines and colours, with the rock pool providing a wonderful composition and the limpets adding interest. He describes them as ‘playfully sliding down the gully like an Olympic bobsleigh team’.

Black and White category winner

Paul Killeen – Souls Tied

Location: Stranocum, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L

Paul Killeen - Souls Tied Location: Stranocum, County Antrim, Northern Ireland Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L black and white category winner

Image: Paul Killeen

Paul’s beautifully peaceful image has a poignant message behind it. Taken on the same day as the funeral of a family friend, the two birds at the centre of the image reminded the photographer of his late friend Lynsey and her husband Simon.

Urban Life category winner

Kevin Williams – Fully Loaded

Location: The Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, England

Nikon D810, 24-120mm f/4

Kevin Williams - Fully Loaded Location: The Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, England Nikon D810, 24-120mm f/4

Image: Kevin Williams

Kevin used a long exposure of 120 seconds to achieve this beautiful image.

Coast category winner

Gray Eaton – The Sacred Garden

Location: Anglesey, Wales

Nikon D3, 14mm f/2.8

Gray Eaton - The Sacred Garden Location: Anglesey, Wales Nikon D3, 14mm f/2.8

Image: Gray Eaton

This tiny chapel – St Cwyfan – has been photographed many times. Inaccessible at high tide, Gray wanted to capture something that was a little different. In a single frame he wanted to show both the chapel and the aquatic world surrounding it, along with the submerged garden of algae.

Lines in the Landscape category winner

Damian Waters – Loch Awe

Location: Argyll and Bute, Scotland

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 17-40mm f/4

Lines in the Landscape landscape photographer of the year 2022 category winner Damian Waters - Loch Awe Location: Argyll and Bute, Scotland Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 17-40mm f/4

Image: Damian Waters

Damian planned this image before arriving at the scene, but discovered that the train was delayed on his arrival. He thought that the evening would close in too quickly, but just in the nick of time, the train emerged from the gloom.

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Five Myths About Photographing Portlands Japanese Maple


The Portland Japanese Garden

In the city of Portland, Oregon there is a world-famous Japanese Maple tree, located just inside the gates of the Portland Japanese Garden just waiting to capture your spirit and imagination. Millions of visitors each year travel to the Pacific Northwest, to the city of roses, to explore everything that this city has to offer including the world renowned Japanese garden.

In 1958, Portland became a sister city to Sapporo, Japan, helping to create a broad interest in Japanese culture. Soon after, several business leaders and the Mayor of Portland decided it would be wonderful for Portland to have a traditional Japanese Garden. On June 4th, 1962, the City Council created a commission to establish the garden on the site of the former Washington Park Zoo.

The Legendary Lace Leaf Maple Tree

This beautiful Japanese Maple tree that so many have grown to love, was not an original planting in the garden. No one is 100% sure of exactly when it was planted, or where it came from. Speaking to Adam Hart, Senior Gardener of the garden, after looking through historical photographs, I was told that this lace-leaf maple was most likely planted sometime around 1971 and is between 65-70 years old.

Every year, when the carefully pruned leaves of the trees & shrubs in the garden shift from the greens of summer to the reds, oranges and golds of autumn, photographers from around the world flock to the garden to capture the transformation of fall and often, specifically to photograph this single lace leaf maple.

Maybe you yourself have wanted to photograph this maple tree and have heard stories about the experience itself. Let me enlighten you with some common myths about the tree and prepare you for your adventure to the city of Portland.


Nebulas of scarlet stars erupt from the twisted branches of an old Japanese maple in a garden in Portland, Oregon. A brilliant flash of fire, the autumn boughs make the surrounding beds of moss seem almost to glow. Fine Art Limited Edition of 200.

Five Common Myths About Photographing The Worlds Favorite Maple Tree

Myth #1 – This Japanese Maple Tree Is Located In A Mysterious Secret Garden Whose Location Is Only Known By Photographer Peter Lik.

This, of course is the most ridiculous and my personal favorite myth of all. Over the years I have been accused of and even have even received hate mail from collectors of Peter Lik’s work who were led to believe that Lik was the first and in some cases only photographer to capture the heavenly beauty of this tree with his camera.

In 2011, an image of this tree titled The Tree of Life by photographer Peter Lik, was awarded 1st place in a photography contest called Windland Smith Rice International Awards and was on exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C from April – September of 2012. Those of us that lived in Portland had been photographing this tree for years prior to Lik gracing the garden with his “most awarded, most wanted, most full of $%^&* presence.

For anyone still in the dark about the reality here, the tree is located in a public garden in Portland, Oregon and Lik was not the first the photograph it. Also, in case you were wondering, it is also impossible to photograph clouds BEHIND the moon, but I digress.

Heavens Gate

The gnarled branches of a Japanese maple spread forth a flaming crown in a sculpted garden in Portland, Oregon. Beside a tranquil pond, the winding footpaths and soft beds of moss are scattered with the gold and crimson stars from this dazzling display. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

Myth #2 – Your Dreams of Climbing This Magical Tree Are Within Reach

Maybe you loved to climb trees when you were a child and you are looking to regain some of the glory of your youth. Maybe you are trying to get closer to God. Maybe you are just a weirdo. Whatever the reason for your quest to conquer the glory of this magical tree, I’m afraid I’m going to have to crush your dreams. The tree is only six feet tall. If you attempt to climb it you will most likely get tackled by a fellow photographer, disemboweled by the ancient Samurai who watch over the garden or be forever haunted by the spirt of Peter Lik. You will most certainly make a fool of yourself.

Myth #3 – You Are Special

I mean, you are special. The odds of you being alive at all are basically zero. When it comes to your desire to photograph this legendary Japanese Maple Tree though, you are going to have to get in line. Literally. Everyone wants to photograph this tree in autumn. Everyone wants it in the best light, hopes for fog, is looking for peak color and thinks their photograph of it is going to be the best photograph ever of Portlands Japanese Maple. Everyone bought the same garden membership you did, thinking that gaining entry two hours before everyone else was going to grant them access to photograph the tree all by themselves. Wearing knee pads and a headlamp, traveling from another country or shooting with your super fancy Phase One camera does not make you special.

In reality I have witnessed lines of up to 40 people waiting to photograph the tree at any one time. I have witnessed fist fights almost break out more than once. Every year I hear the same jokes about how small it is, how someone is going to chop it down, about thinking they were going to climb It and about how special Peter Lik Is. Lol.


The fiery boughs of a grand Japanese maple fill the skies above a sculpted garden in Portland, Oregon. The enormous canopy shades the beds of jade moss and gently caresses the tranquil waters of a nearby pool. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

Myth #4 – It Is The Only Beautiful Japanese Maple In The World

There are at least a thousand different varieties of Japanese maples. Some are quite similar to each other and only of interest to collectors, but there are many unique and special forms of outstanding beauty which are very popular with all gardeners. I bet many of you even have one in your yard like we do. While the Portland Japanese Maple is an extremely beautiful tree, there are literally millions of others across the globe. In fact, if you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest and have an itch to photograph a beautiful maple but don’t want to fight over this one, you can visit this tree inside Seattles Kubota Garden and likely photograph it all by yourself for hours.

Myth #5 – Your Cell Phone Picture Will Make A Great Wall Art Print For Your Home

Over the years I have sold well over one thousand limited edition fine art prints of Portlands Famous Japanese Maple to collectors of my work around the world. While you can certainly capture a beautiful photograph with your cell phone these days and can even print a billboard with the photo you captured with your iPhone, when it comes to a truly spectacular large wall art for your home, there is much more to creating quality artwork for your wall. Bt all means, capture that memory with your smartphone and then give me a call so I can help you get that memory on your wall. 🙂

Falling Embers Panoramic

Transform your space with Aaron Reed’s luxury fine art photography print, Embers, from his Panoramic Wall Art collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

Aaron Reed’s Tips For Photographing Portland’s Japanese Maple

If after reading this blog post, you have your knee pads & headlamp on, your Phase One locked and loaded and your Peter Lik fan club membership badge displayed on a lanyard around your neck, you still want to visit the garden this year, I have a few tips for you.

The colors in the garden are typically best the 3rd – 4th week of October. The tree itself changes from greenish to yellowish and if you are lucky a bright red/orange all in the span of about 5 days. If a strong rain or wind hits Portland once the tree is at its peak, the leaves can completely fall off in a matter of a day or two.

Be patient, take your time photographing the tree, be courteous to other photographers and if you didn’t get the shot you wanted the first time, swing back around again for another go at it. The tree can look very different in various types of light and you can capture some beautiful conditions if you are lucky.

The typical way the tree is photographed is from ground level shooting under the canopy of the tree. You will want a tripod that allows you to get close to the ground, an ultra wide angle lens and will want to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the delicate leaves in the wind.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and have an opportunity to photograph the tree during peak color this year. Just don’t photoshop in a moon with magical space clouds behind it.

Who knows…. maybe I’ll even see you there. 🙂


The rounded crown of a Japanese maple sits on the sloping fields of a green hillside like a polished bubble of ancient amber. Across the verdant glade, a blanket of red, yellow, and white leaves forms a dazzling mosaic. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.


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Grinning, Winking, Happy Animals Vie for Photo Honors


A winking spotted owl peeks out from inside a pipe and a winking fox sits in the woods. Grinning fish swim up close in bright blue water. A squirrel vaults in the air during a rainstorm.

One of these shortlisted images could be the winner of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

It could be the photo above, “Say Cheeeese,” of gray triggerfish in Faial, Azores. Arturo Telle Thiemann of Spain talks about his image:

“A couple of triggerfish looking into the camera, captured at the Azores. Even though they may look funny, these fish can be quite aggressive. In this case they didn’t attempt to bite me, but the domeport of my camera housing ended up with some scratches… life is hard… at least it wasn’t me who was hurt.”

The awards were founded in 2015 to focus on the more lighthearted side of wildlife photography, while drawing attention to conservation. This year the competition benefits Whitley Fund for Nature, a U.K. charity that supports conservation leaders. There were about 3,500 entries this year from around 90 countries. The winners will be announced in December.

Here’s a look at some of the other shortlisted finalists.

“I CU Boy !”

Arshdeep Singh /

This spotted owl was photographed by Arshdeep Singh in Bikaner, India.

“Few hundred miles away we went to explore wildlife of a small town named ‘Bikaner.’ It was after almost a year I travelled because of Covid. We hired a guide to explore places around. During the last day of our trip we came across a pipe in a city where we spotted an owlet. I have earlier clicked owls in a pipe before so I was sure that I wasn’t mistaken. We waited for a short while and it didn’t take a long time and one of the spotted owlet came out of the pipe. It was really funny when he came out and looked at me straight, before going inside he closed one of his eyes and felt like he wanted to say ‘I CU boy!’ and I immediately snapped a picture when he gave this pose.”

“Jumping Jack”

Alex Pansier /

Alex Pansier of the Netherlands captured this image of a red squirrel during a rainstorm.

 “Stop and Stare”

Andy Evans /

Andy Evans of the U.K. photographed this proboscis monkey in Borneo.

“After hearing Borneo’s borders would reopen again in April 2022 I couldn’t wait to visit and photograph some of the weird and wonderful wildlife on the island. After 2 years with no tourists it seemed like the wildlife was just as shocked to see me as I was to see them. This young proboscis monkey watched in amazement as I cruised by on the Kinabatangan River.”

“The Wink”

Kevin Lohman /

Kevin Lohman of the U.S. snapped this red fox in San Jose, California. “An American red fox casually walked up to the edge of the woods and sat down, then turned around and gave a wink. Moments later, this sly fox disappeared into the trees.”

“Pegasus, the Flying Horse”

Jagdeep Rajput /

Totally not a flying horse, Jagdeep Rajput photographed a crane and an antelope at Keoladeo National Park, India.

“Actually this is an Indian sarus crane attacking a blue bull from behind. The bull happened to venture close to [the] sarus’s nest, where it had laid a single egg. The sarus crane, which is [the] tallest flying bird in the world, opened its huge wings and attacked the bull from behind, driving the bull away from the nest.”

“Happy Feet”

Thomas Vijayan /

Canadian Thomas Vijayan focused on this emperor penguin chick in Antarctica.


Saverio Gatto /

Named for the folds of skin (lappets) on each side of their face, these lappet-faced vultures posed for Italian photographer Saverio Gatto in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

“Misleading African Viewpoints 2”

Jean Jacques Alcalay /

French photographer Jean Jacques Alcalay captured a hippo yawning while next to a heron at Kruger National Park, South Africa.

“Mum Life”

Sophie Hart /

This baby long-tailed macaque was photographed clinging to its tired mother in Singapore by Sophie Hart of the U.K.

“What Shall I Write Next”

Torie Hilley /

Torie Hilley of the U.S. photographed this coastal brown bear cub in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

“Most bear cubs do cub-like things. Like, follow mom around, nurse, and be generally cute. But this cub took it to another level of cuteness. She found an eagle feather and started to play with it for a good 10 minutes! As she danced and rolled with the feather, she held it in her mouth for a moment—as if she was thinking of what to write next! Cuteness overload!”


Paul Eijkemans /

Paul Eijkemans of the Netherlands took this photo of a Picasso triggerfish in Marsa Shagra, Egypt. “The fish just vomited the coral residues that it picked up while nibbling on the coral.”


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