Slideshow: Winners and finalists of Travel Photographer of the Year 2020

Winners and finalists of Travel Photographer of the Year 2020

The annual Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) competition recently announced its winners and runners-up for 2020. Heading into its 19th year, there was a shift in the subject matter for the imagery received, this time around, due to the pandemic. Many entrants got more creative with being confined to their neighborhoods, while others made the best of being temporarily detained in other countries on account of sudden travel restrictions.

Almost 25,000 images were submitted from photographers in 147 countries. ‘This was my first time ever entering a contest so it was quite a surprise to take first place! I entered the photos to tell a little more about the stories behind the shots, I feel like my dedication for each image played a huge factor in the judges’ decision’ 17-year-old Ben Skaar, who won the Young Travel Photographer of the Year 15-18 category, tells DPReview.

Winning images will be displayed at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, London starting in May before heading onto other destinations including Chester Cathedral and Sharjah. All winning images from TPOTY 2020 can be viewed here.

OVERALL WINNER – THE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020: Vladimir Alekseev, Russia

Vladimir Alekseev/www.tpoty.com

Location: Svalbard

Artist Statement: Once on my expedition to Spitsbergen, there was a blizzard. Everything around was equally white. And suddenly I spotted this Arctic fox. He almost merged with the environment. Only his eyes and nose betrayed him.

Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 60-600mm lens, F9, 1/320 sec, ISO 640

WINNER: YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020: Indigo Larmour, Ireland (age 12)

Indigo Larmour/www.tpoty.com

Location: Old city, Lahore, Pakistan

Artist Statement: The Delhi Gate served as the main entrance to Lahore during the Mughal period. Today it still functions as a busy gateway to the historic old city. It’s not uncommon to see horses and carts passing through the gateway to make deliveries to the people and businesses there.

Gear and Specs: Nikon D600, 24-85mm lens, F5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 800

YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 15-18 WINNER: Ben Skaar, USA (age 17)

Ben Skaar/www.tpoty.com

Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire, USA

Artist Statement: I slept in my car for two nights to get this shot. I drove up to the White Mountains hoping to capture the vibrant autumn colors of New Hampshire. I woke up at 4:30 that Sunday morning and, as the sun rose over the mountains, the colors seemed to be set ablaze.

Gear and Specs: DJI Mavic 2 Pro, 28mm lens, F2.8, 1/120 sec, ISO 100

LANDSCAPES AND EARTH ELEMENTS PORTFOLIO Runner-up: Scott Portelli, Australia

Scott Portelli/www.tpoty.com

Location: Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, South Australia

Artist Statement: Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest salt-lake yet it is only covered with water every eight years on average. The vast salt plain dominates the landscape with patterns left behind by the receding water. Natural bore springs emerge across the plains, creating enormous patterns of pastel-blues, yellows and reds as water pushed up through the salt crust creates visual anomalies.

Gear and Specs: Olympus E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm lens, F7.1, 1/2000 sec, ISO 500

WINNER, BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A LANDSCAPE & EARTH ELEMENTS PORTFOLIO: James Smart, Australia

James Smart/www.tpoty.com

Location: Simla, Colorado, USA

Artist Statement: This ‘drill bit’ type of tornado is a rare anti-cyclonic tornado, which happens in around 2% of tornadoes. It touched down in open farmland, narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado as it tore up the ground, gathering the soil giving it its brown color.

Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark II 70-200mm lens, F4, 1/90 sec, ISO 100

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PORTFOLIO HIGHLY COMMENDED: Alain Schroeder, Belgium

Alain Schroeder/www.tpoty.com

Location: Talas, Taldy-Bulak, Kyrgyzstan

Artist Statement: Trying to outrun your opponents with a decapitated goat wedged between your leg and your horse, might not be your idea of a fun game, but in Kyrgyzstan, Kok Boru is the national sport. Dead goat polo feels more to me like cavalier rugby.

Organized in two teams of five, but sometimes many more, riders race from one end of the field to the other chasing the rider with the goat whose sole intention is to score a point by heaving the 20 kilo body into the Tai Kazan (goal) on either end.

Gear and Specs: Fujifilm X-Pro2, 10mm lens, F8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1000

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PORTFOLIO COMMENDED: Piper Mackay, USA

Piper Mackay/www.tpoty.com

Location: Lalibela, Ethiopia

Artist Statement: Pilgrims gathering at St George; one of the eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela Ethiopia.

Gear and Specs: Nikon Z7 Infrared, 14-30mm lens, F4, 1/320 sec, ISO 160

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PORTFOLIO SINGLE IMAGES Special Mention: Mouneb Taim (Syria)

Mouneb Taim/www.tpoty.com

Location: Saraqib, Syria

Artist Statement: March 27, 2019: On the occasion of the International Day of Theater, puppeteer Walid Rashed performs his puppet acts for children. Since 2013, theatre artist Walid has been touring refugee camps and devastated neighbourhoods to perform puppet acts and shadow play for Syrian children.

Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm lens, F2, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

TRAVEL PORTFOLIO WINNER: Jordi Cohen, Spain

Jordi Cohen/www.tpoty.com

Location: Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel

Artist Statement: Women and girls separated by a net at the Lag Baomer celebration in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish quarter of Mea Shearim.

Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 16-35mm lens, F2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 3200

TRAVEL PORTFOLIO WINNER: Jordi Cohen, Spain

Jordi Cohen/www.tpoty.com

Location: Bassin Saint Jacques, Plain du Nord (near Cap Haitien), Haiti

Artist Statement: Girl going into ecstasy at Bassin Saint Jacques. Even though it’s a neighboring country of the much-visited Dominican Republic, few tourists venture to cross the Haitian border. Haiti is a country of zombies, voodoo and magic.

Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm lens, F6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO 1600

TRAVEL PORTFOLIO RUNNER-UP: Richard Li, Hong Kong

Richard Li/www.tpoty.com

Location: Lake Magadi, Kenya

Artist Statement: When I travel to Kenya, I like to take a helicopter to Lake Magadi. The aerial views of flamingos and the patterns on the surface of the lake always amaze me.

Gear and Specs: Nikon D850, 70-200mm lens, F11, 1/2000 sec, ISO 1800

ONE SHOT – CLOSE TO HOME WINNER: Pier Luigi Dodi, Italy

Pier Luigi Dodi/www.tpoty.com

Location: Fidenza, Italy

Artist Statement: It was the beginning of autumn and one of the last days on which to take the advantage of being out in the park for some hours. My friend Giulia and her son were playing with soap bubbles.

Gear and Specs: iPhone 11 Pro Max, F2, 1/22s, ISO 32/3072

ONE SHOT – COLOURS OF LIFE, COMMENDED: Sanghamitra Sarkar, India

Sanghamitra Sarkar/www.tpoty.com

Location: Vrindavan, India

Artist Statement: During Holi, little children, dressed like lord Krishna, play with powdered colour.

Gear and Specs: Nikon D750, 24-120mm lens, F4, 1/400 sec, ISO 250

ONE SHOT – ISLANDS RUNNER-UP: Dana Allen, USA

Dana Allen/www.tpoty.com

Location: Taha’a Island, Tahiti

Artist Statement: A school of Pacific Double-saddle Butterfly Fish (chaetodon ulietensis) along with many other aquatic species rush by in a flurry of activity in Le Taha’a’s amazing lagoon.

Gear and Specs: Nikon D4, 14-24mm lens, F16, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

iTRAVELLED – PHONE/TABLET SINGLE IMAGE CATEGORY WINNER: Azim Khan Ronnie, Bangladesh

Azim Khan Ronnie/www.tpoty.com

Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Artist Statement: Thousands of people come together to pray over several floors of one of the biggest mosques in the world. Around 40,000 people were visiting the mosque – decorated in beautiful teal and gold – for weekly prayers.

The National Mosque of Bangladesh, known as Baitul Mukarram, is one of the 10 biggest mosques in the world and can hold up to 100,000 people, including in the outside courtyards.

Gear and Specs: Huawei P30 Pro, F2.2, 1.25 sec, ISO 400

Winners and finalists of Travel Photographer of the Year 2020

The annual Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) competition recently announced its winners and runners-up for 2020. Heading into its 19th year, there was a shift in the subject matter for the imagery received, this time around, due to the pandemic. Many entrants got more creative with being confined to their neighborhoods, while others made the best of being temporarily detained in other countries on account of sudden travel restrictions.
Almost 25,000 images were submitted from photographers in 147 countries. ‘This was my first time ever entering a contest so it was quite a surprise to take first place! I entered the photos to tell a little more about the stories behind the shots, I feel like my dedication for each image played a huge factor in the judges’ decision’ 17-year-old Ben Skaar, who won the Young Travel Photographer of the Year 15-18 category, tells DPReview.
Winning images will be displayed at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, London starting in May before heading onto other destinations including Chester Cathedral and Sharjah. All winning images from TPOTY 2020 can be viewed here.
OVERALL WINNER – THE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020: Vladimir Alekseev, Russia

Vladimir Alekseev/www.tpoty.com
Location: Svalbard
Artist Statement: Once on my expedition to Spitsbergen, there was a blizzard. Everything around was equally white. And suddenly I spotted this Arctic fox. He almost merged with the environment. Only his eyes and nose betrayed him.
Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 60-600mm lens, F9, 1/320 sec, ISO 640
WINNER: YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020: Indigo Larmour, Ireland (age 12)

Indigo Larmour/www.tpoty.com
Location: Old city, Lahore, Pakistan
Artist Statement: The Delhi Gate served as the main entrance to Lahore during the Mughal period. Today it still functions as a busy gateway to the historic old city. It’s not uncommon to see horses and carts passing through the gateway to make deliveries to the people and businesses there.
Gear and Specs: Nikon D600, 24-85mm lens, F5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 800
YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 15-18 WINNER: Ben Skaar, USA (age 17)

Ben Skaar/www.tpoty.com
Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire, USA
Artist Statement: I slept in my car for two nights to get this shot. I drove up to the White Mountains hoping to capture the vibrant autumn colors of New Hampshire. I woke up at 4:30 that Sunday morning and, as the sun rose over the mountains, the colors seemed to be set ablaze.
Gear and Specs: DJI Mavic 2 Pro, 28mm lens, F2.8, 1/120 sec, ISO 100
LANDSCAPES AND EARTH ELEMENTS PORTFOLIO Runner-up: Scott Portelli, Australia

Scott Portelli/www.tpoty.com
Location: Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, South Australia
Artist Statement: Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest salt-lake yet it is only covered with water every eight years on average. The vast salt plain dominates the landscape with patterns left behind by the receding water. Natural bore springs emerge across the plains, creating enormous patterns of pastel-blues, yellows and reds as water pushed up through the salt crust creates visual anomalies.
Gear and Specs: Olympus E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm lens, F7.1, 1/2000 sec, ISO 500
WINNER, BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A LANDSCAPE & EARTH ELEMENTS PORTFOLIO: James Smart, Australia

James Smart/www.tpoty.com
Location: Simla, Colorado, USA
Artist Statement: This ‘drill bit’ type of tornado is a rare anti-cyclonic tornado, which happens in around 2% of tornadoes. It touched down in open farmland, narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado as it tore up the ground, gathering the soil giving it its brown color.
Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark II 70-200mm lens, F4, 1/90 sec, ISO 100
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PORTFOLIO HIGHLY COMMENDED: Alain Schroeder, Belgium

Alain Schroeder/www.tpoty.com
Location: Talas, Taldy-Bulak, Kyrgyzstan
Artist Statement: Trying to outrun your opponents with a decapitated goat wedged between your leg and your horse, might not be your idea of a fun game, but in Kyrgyzstan, Kok Boru is the national sport. Dead goat polo feels more to me like cavalier rugby.
Organized in two teams of five, but sometimes many more, riders race from one end of the field to the other chasing the rider with the goat whose sole intention is to score a point by heaving the 20 kilo body into the Tai Kazan (goal) on either end.
Gear and Specs: Fujifilm X-Pro2, 10mm lens, F8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1000
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PORTFOLIO COMMENDED: Piper Mackay, USA

Piper Mackay/www.tpoty.com
Location: Lalibela, Ethiopia
Artist Statement: Pilgrims gathering at St George; one of the eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela Ethiopia.
Gear and Specs: Nikon Z7 Infrared, 14-30mm lens, F4, 1/320 sec, ISO 160
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PORTFOLIO SINGLE IMAGES Special Mention: Mouneb Taim (Syria)

Mouneb Taim/www.tpoty.com
Location: Saraqib, Syria
Artist Statement: March 27, 2019: On the occasion of the International Day of Theater, puppeteer Walid Rashed performs his puppet acts for children. Since 2013, theatre artist Walid has been touring refugee camps and devastated neighbourhoods to perform puppet acts and shadow play for Syrian children.
Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm lens, F2, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100
TRAVEL PORTFOLIO WINNER: Jordi Cohen, Spain

Jordi Cohen/www.tpoty.com
Location: Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel
Artist Statement: Women and girls separated by a net at the Lag Baomer celebration in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish quarter of Mea Shearim.
Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 16-35mm lens, F2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 3200
TRAVEL PORTFOLIO WINNER: Jordi Cohen, Spain

Jordi Cohen/www.tpoty.com
Location: Bassin Saint Jacques, Plain du Nord (near Cap Haitien), Haiti
Artist Statement: Girl going into ecstasy at Bassin Saint Jacques. Even though it’s a neighboring country of the much-visited Dominican Republic, few tourists venture to cross the Haitian border. Haiti is a country of zombies, voodoo and magic.
Gear and Specs: Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm lens, F6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO 1600
TRAVEL PORTFOLIO RUNNER-UP: Richard Li, Hong Kong

Richard Li/www.tpoty.com
Location: Lake Magadi, Kenya
Artist Statement: When I travel to Kenya, I like to take a helicopter to Lake Magadi. The aerial views of flamingos and the patterns on the surface of the lake always amaze me.
Gear and Specs: Nikon D850, 70-200mm lens, F11, 1/2000 sec, ISO 1800
ONE SHOT – CLOSE TO HOME WINNER: Pier Luigi Dodi, Italy

Pier Luigi Dodi/www.tpoty.com
Location: Fidenza, Italy
Artist Statement: It was the beginning of autumn and one of the last days on which to take the advantage of being out in the park for some hours. My friend Giulia and her son were playing with soap bubbles.
Gear and Specs: iPhone 11 Pro Max, F2, 1/22s, ISO 32/3072
ONE SHOT – COLOURS OF LIFE, COMMENDED: Sanghamitra Sarkar, India

Sanghamitra Sarkar/www.tpoty.com
Location: Vrindavan, India
Artist Statement: During Holi, little children, dressed like lord Krishna, play with powdered colour.
Gear and Specs: Nikon D750, 24-120mm lens, F4, 1/400 sec, ISO 250
ONE SHOT – ISLANDS RUNNER-UP: Dana Allen, USA

Dana Allen/www.tpoty.com
Location: Taha’a Island, Tahiti
Artist Statement: A school of Pacific Double-saddle Butterfly Fish (chaetodon ulietensis) along with many other aquatic species rush by in a flurry of activity in Le Taha’a’s amazing lagoon.
Gear and Specs: Nikon D4, 14-24mm lens, F16, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800
iTRAVELLED – PHONE/TABLET SINGLE IMAGE CATEGORY WINNER: Azim Khan Ronnie, Bangladesh

Azim Khan Ronnie/www.tpoty.com
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Artist Statement: Thousands of people come together to pray over several floors of one of the biggest mosques in the world. Around 40,000 people were visiting the mosque – decorated in beautiful teal and gold – for weekly prayers.
The National Mosque of Bangladesh, known as Baitul Mukarram, is one of the 10 biggest mosques in the world and can hold up to 100,000 people, including in the outside courtyards.
Gear and Specs: Huawei P30 Pro, F2.2, 1.25 sec, ISO 400Read MoreArticles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

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