Title Image

2021 Winners Gallery

Photo by Mengguo Li

Countries Represented


Open Entries


Amateur Entries


VR/360 Entries


Overall Entries


Photographers Entered

2021 Open Awards

2021 Open Photographer of the Year

Joshua Hermann, USA

Eternal Triangle, Louisiana, USA

A cypress tree generally has a wide flaring base. Due to its watery habitat, it develops this triangular base and root protrusions called “cypress knees” to help it stand in the soft, soggy bottom. As I paddled amongst the trees on this foggy morning the triangular trunks stood out in a symmetrical fashion. To me, it looked like enumerable triangles receding into the fog. I named this picture “Eternal Triangle” as an ode to one of my favorite jazz compositions by the great Sonny Stitt.


From Joshua…

It is an honor to have my images selected in the Open Category alongside so many wonderfully talented photographers! One of the great things about photography is its ability to inform. Growing up in south Louisiana and coming to know the swamp and marshlands from an early age, the unique beauty and interesting ecology of the area has stuck with me throughout my life. I hope to share the beauty of these places through my imagery, allow people to get a closer look into the uniqueness of these areas, and ultimately to inform them of the importance of protecting these wetlands.


2021 Open Photographer of the Year

Joshua Hermann, USA

Morning Burn, Louisiana, USA

When conditions are right and cool moist air begins to warm over water in the swamp, mist begins to form over the water. If you are lucky enough for the mist to stick around when the sun breaks the horizon, a wonderful show takes place. There is a short window of time where the sun begins to set the mist ablaze with light. As I paddled, the scene constantly changed in front of me while the sun inched higher above the horizon. I stopped in front of this grove and setup my camera as the swamp put on a light show went on in front of me.

2021 Open Photographer of the Year

Joshua Hermann, USA

Ancient Backwaters, Louisiana, USA

Like trees in most of the US, many of the old growth cypress groves were felled during the logging era. Today there are a few places were these 1,000 plus year old giants still stand. You will usually find these in pockets of backwater that were too hard for loggers to reach, or because the trees themselves were hollow and the trunks weren’t the ideal shape for lumber. When I find these ancient monoliths in backwater ponds and sloughs, I am immediately transported to the swamp lands of ancient times.

Winner – Open – Nature / Landscape

(& overall winner in the Open competition)

Joshua Hermann, USA

Eternal Triangle, Louisiana, USA

View top 50 placing images in this category

Winner – Open – Built Environment / Architecture

(& overall runner-up in the Open competition)

Mark Brierley, Australia

Tonal Intersection, Brisbane, Australia

View top 50 placing images in this category

2021 Amateur Awards

2021 Amateur Photographer of the Year

Daniel Trippolt, Austria

Shining Night, Switzerland

The first visit to this beautiful, mystical place in the Swiss mountains was a success. Shortly after arriving, I immediately noticed this branch in the water. It was clear to me that this would be the perfect foreground for my photo, as the Milky Way will also be in the right position. Since the conditions were initially not ideal for the Milky Way, due to the cloudy sky, I prepared myself for an unsuccessful night. But experience has shown that weather conditions can change quickly, so that a good photo can still be taken. Also that night I was lucky that the weather changed and I was able to photograph the shining night sky.

In this portfolio there are 3 countries, 3 different motifs and 3 different conditions and yet they all have something in common: the The beautiful shining.


From Daniel…

I was born in 1992 and come from Carinthia / Austria. I discovered my passion for photography when I was 12 years old when my father gave me my first camera. Every free second of my free time was used to take photos of everything and everyone. From animal photography to sports, architecture and portrait photography, I tried everything and found my greatest passion and hobby in landscape photography. Here I am very much into hyperreal landscape photography, which distinguishes me from most Austrian landscape photographers.

Landscape photography has become a huge part of my life, even if I don’t have as much time to invest as full-time landscape photographers. The Corona crisis in the last two years has limited my landscape photography hobby a lot. Which is why I’m all the more happy about my success in this competition.

In 2017 I could finally buy my first digital reflex camera and since then I have not stopped learning and perfecting myself in this beautiful art being able to combine my passion for photography and nature, until now I have not stopped documenting myself in an autodidactic way learning to understand light and perfecting my technique in the use of the camera as well as in the subsequent digital edition of my images which for me is something fundamental. My specialty is landscape photography but I have also developed a special interest in architectural and wildlife photography.


2021 Amateur Photographer of the Year

Daniel Trippolt, Austria

Shining Heart, Slovenia

After countless attempts, the moment came when all the factors for a perfect photo came together. I already knew where to position myself so that the perspective of the heart road was right. Then I had the right morning mood, where the fog moved into the picture from left to right, then a car drove across the street so that the cold street became a shining heart.

2021 Amateur Photographer of the Year

Daniel Trippolt, Austria

Legendary Peaks, Three Peaks, Dolomites, Italy

Most landscape photographers are familiar with the legendary three peaks and are aware of the difficult accessibility in winter, as the road leading to the destination is closed in winter. But in my favor, I found out in early autumn that it had already snowed there and the road was still open. So I could reach this place under easier conditions. Nevertheless, the night demanded a lot from me, because it was a cold, clear but star-rich night. The three peaks, the perspective, the winter landscape and the starry night make it a legendary photo.

Winner – Amateur – Landscape / Nature

(& overall winner in the Amateur competition)

Daniel Trippolt, Austria

Shining Night, Switzerland

View top 50 placing images in this category

Winner – Amateur – Built Environment / Architecture

(& overall runner-up in the Amateur competition)

Florian Kriechbaumer, UAE

City in the Clouds, Dubai, UAE

View top 50 placing images in this category

2021 VR/360 Award


2021 VR/360 Award Winner

Oleg Gaponyuk, Russia

Jellyfish Lake, Palau

Click and drag on the image for the 360 view

In the Pacific Ocean, there is the Republic of Palau located 800 km east of the Philippines and 1,000 km north of New Guinea. It is the state that consists of around three hundred islands and most of them are uninhabited. One of them is particularly well-known: it is Eil Malk Island, a part of the Chelbacheb archipelago (the Rock Islands).

This coral island is covered with forests, measures 6 km long and 4.5 km wide and has 10 lakes on its surface. Even though they are connected to the ocean through cracks in the limestone, the outer world has had little impact on them and a unique ecosystem has evolved here. As a result, one of the lakes has become a home for jellyfish. There is no other place on the planet having such a great amount of them.

The lake appeared between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago. The first inhabitants were brought here from the ocean and the isolated character of this lake has subsequently resulted in a special evolutional way. There are only two jellyfish species in this lake: the golden jellyfish (Mastigias papua) and the moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) but they differ from those living in other waters worldwide and even in neighbouring lagoons. Biologists classify them as distinct species and continue to explore them.

The golden jellyfish has a rather unusual form: it is a “dome” with four tentacles. Lots of bright yellow jellyfish of different sizes fill the lake as if changing the colour of the water. Aurelia, in its turn, is transparent and has a very uncommon lifespan: instead of growing older, they are capable of reverting to the polyp stage. There is only one other “immortal” jellyfish in the world, Turritopsis dohrnii.

The “golden” inhabitants of Jellyfish Lake can live only in the upper layer: closer to the bottom, there is a lack of oxygen. They also perform daily migrations around the lake: in the morning they move from the centre of the western basin to the east; in the afternoon they return to the west and when the sun goes down, they again go back to the east and stay there overnight. They migrate counterclockwise, and there is a reason for these movements: jellyfish absorb dissolved nutrients from the water, prey on zooplankton and provide an equable exposure of the sunrays.

The moon jellyfish live in the opposite way. They rise to the surface of the water only at night when there are small crustaceans that jellyfish can eat. That’s the reason Aurelia can’t be found in the photographs, so the main models for taking pictures are the golden jellyfish.

The precise number of them can’t be estimated: according to rough estimates, there are 2 millions of them! That’s what makes this lake famous.

But there is a potential danger for a diver, as well. The point is that the lake is stratified into two layers. An oxygenated upper layer, the place where all inhabitants live, and a lower layer at the depth of 10-15 meters with a reduced oxygen content and lots of hydrogen sulphide, phosphorus and ammonia. This toxic environment is suitable only for rare “extreme-loving” bacteria and dangerous for people, so it is prohibited to dive that deep. The poisonous substances can get into the human body through the skin and cause serious health problems. Fortunately, the mixing of two different layers does not occur and the surface waters are safe for all living beings.

That’s what many tourists come here for: to swim in an outstanding wonderful lake. Just take probably the most unusual “swimming” in your life together with AirPano panoramas!


Top 11 Placing Images
Next 12-20 Placing Images

2021 EPSON Digital Art Prize

Manuel Enrique González Carmona, Spain

Anatomy Lesson, Copper reservoir, El Campillo, Huelva, Spain

Minerals, water and water currents are the ingredients with which nature creates these ephemeral landscapes. With each rainy period the canvas is transformed. This canvas is actually a raft of toxic waste from a copper mine, located in the province of Huelva, Spain, which was captured by aerial shooting. These ephemeral formations will disappear with the next intense rains. I live only 1 hour away from this scenery, so I usually make a visit every week. There are always completely new structures and details that allow you to make countless abstractions, figurations, etc. I often have the feeling that an abstract expressionist painter has created a large canvas and that I am capturing fragments of this work of art with my drone.

2021 RAW Planet Award

Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands

Hidden Lake, Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana, USA

This image was shot in the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana and features several cypress trees. I love these trees because they are simply stunning, especially when there is some Spanish Moss growing in them that dangles down from the branches. They can grow and survive in water which can result in otherworldly scenery like this. I visited this area in autumn to get the warm color palette. The only way to get here is by kayak because these swamps are too shallow for normal boats. Paddling here in complete silence is among my best wilderness experiences. When conditions are right, mist can form on the water, adding even more magic to the scenery.

2021 Curators Award

Max Rive, The Netherlands

The Mountain Dreamer, Switzerland

A view in mid-summer from 31450 m/11320 ft over the Fieschergletscher with the Finsteraarhorn on the right (4,274 m/14,000 ft). With a length of 16 km/10 mi the Fieschergletscher is the second longest glacier in Switzerland after its neighbouring glacier the Aletschgletscher (22.6 km/ 14 mi).

2021 Nikon Australia Award

Ray Jennings, Australia

Don’t Fence Me In, Walcha, NSW, Australia

The Weather Bureau was forecasting snow for the New England Tableland in New South Wales (a fairly rare event) so I packed the warm clothes and camera gear and headed off with a fellow photographer in the hope of capturing snow around the Gostwyck Chapel at Uralla.

Sadly that didn’t happen so we headed to Walcha where snow was encountered on the way up and saw this simple but striking scene with the fence providing a classic leading line to the eucalyptus tree.

I would like to thank The EPSON International Pano Awards for providing the avenue for photographers around the world to showcase their awesome talent and for Nikon Australia for providing such a fabulous prize.

2021 Special Awards

Highest Scoring Aerial Image

Gheorghe Popa, Romania

Poison Madness, Geamăna, Apuse, Romania

Highest Scoring Smartphone Pano

Andrew Dickman, Australia

Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Highest Scoring Film Capture

Oliver Wehrli, Switzerland

Gastlosen, Canton Fribourg, Switzerland

Highest Scoring IAPP member

Tom Sheckels, USA

Gentoo Penguin Colony, Antarctica


Click and drag on the image for the 360 view

Highest Scoring IVRPA member in any category

Peter Van den Wyngaert, Belgium

Torpedo 360˚ movie set – machine room, Belgium

Highest Scoring Vertical Image

Peter Harrison, Australia

Serpentine, Menindee Lakes, NSW, Australia

Highest Scoring Gigapixel Image

Yaz Loukhal, Switzerland

Sunset over Kyrgyzs Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

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