2014 Earth Photo Contest Results

We’re excited to announce the winners of our first photo contest of 2014: the Earth Photo Contest!

We teamed up with our good friends over at SmugMug to bring a new contest format and a 1-year SmugMug Pro Membership as one of our outstanding prizes! As always the selection process was a long and tough one, with so many amazing images submitted from all around the world. The SmugMug Team helped us out in creating a new submission gallery website so that folks would have a sleeker option for submitting images – any that were submitted via the contest gallery page can be seen here (some were still submitted via email).

The theme for this contest was the third in a series of elemental concepts: Earth. It was great to see so many different interpretations of the theme, ranging from scenes that played with the scale or history of our Planet Earth to a more basic or literal look into the beauty of the stone and sand that bear the same name. Congratulations to all the entrants – we’re very proud to provide the support tools you use for creating such wonderful art. As before, our judging panel went through round after rigorous round of blind review (images only, no names) of the hundreds of submissions, narrowing the selection down to just one.

The Winner of the 2014 Earth Photo Contest is:

Patrick Stanbro with “Approaching Storm”

"Approaching Storm" by Patrick Stanbro

“Approaching Storm” by Patrick Stanbro

Monument Valley
Navajo Tribal Park,
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm/f2.8L
RRS Gear:
BH-55 LR Ballhead
BGE6-L Plate
ISO 100
1/200 sec

We think this stunning view showcases the amazing scale of both planet Earth and its features. The sandstone monoliths encompass an unquestionable sense of solidity, along with something that might be best described as stoicism in the face of the impending storm. For his winning efforts, Patrick will be awarded a TVC-33 Versa Carbon-Fiber Tripod – it will make a rock-solid base for the BH-55 LR ballhead he used to compose the winning shot. Well done Patrick!

Our 2nd Place Winner is:

Michael Liskay with “Sand Dune Forming”

"Sand Dune Forming" by Michael Liskay

“Sand Dune Forming” by Michael Liskay

Mesquite Dunes
Death Valley, CA
Canon 5D Mark II
RRS Gear:
BH-40 Ballhead
B5D2-L Plate
ISO 500
1/60 sec

With a wonderful warm color palette and strong geometric lines and shapes, this desert scene truly emphasizes the two contrasting states of the desert: vast and shifting. We love the feeling of liquidity the sands seem to have – it really adds to the depth and atmosphere! Congratulations Michael! His 2nd Place prize is a 1-year membership to SmugMug, which he can use to build a stunning photography website of his own.

SmugMug offers ultra-customizable designs, tons of options for commercialization and sharing your beautiful work, and best of all offers amazing service and support 24/7. They truly have something for everyone! You can try SmugMug with a 14-day free trial here.

It’s truly rewarding to see so many beautiful pieces of art as a part of our contests – and we are thankful to now have the submission gallery available so that we can all admire them! Thanks again to Katherine and everyone at SmugMug for all of your help in making this contest a success!

It’s always tough to narrow such a diverse and talented field down to a select few finalists, and our three runners up prove that there is no wrong way to approach a theme like this. Each Runner Up will receive a TQB-80B tripod bag. Congratulations to everyone – outstanding images!

Our Runners Up are:

Huggen Angeles with “Tunnel View Fog”

"Tunnel View Fog" by <a href="http://huggenangeles.com/" target="_blank">Huggen Angeles</a>

“Tunnel View Fog” by Huggen Angeles

“I have visited Tunnel View many times but never photographed the place this way before. While waiting for some clouds to appear, it’s the serpent-like low fog movement towards the valley that captured my attention. So I decided to change my wide angle to telephoto lens and focused on the trees below. The fog lingered long enough and allowed me to take an approximately 8-minute exposure with the full moon as my only source of illumination.” -Huggen Angeles

Willie Huang with “Leading the Way”

"Leading the Way" by Willie Huang

“Leading the Way” by Willie Huang

“While scouting Mono Lake tufas, I noticed a set of tufas that stood by themselves. I approached the set to find an interesting S-shaped sand bar leading to the base of the tufas. With some luck, high clouds rolled in during the afternoon and lit up perfectly in position for my envisioned shot.” -Willie Huang

Knapp Hudson with “Isolation”

"Isolation" by <a href="http://www.stonecoastphotography.com" target="_blank">Knapp Hudson</a>

“Isolation” by Knapp Hudson

“Serendipity is an important part of photography. I was photographing the Foss á Siðu waterfall in southern Iceland when I turned and saw this hut. The red roof and old stone walls contrasted nicely against the green of the steep volcanic ash slope at the base of the cliff. As I was making the photograph I thought how isolated life was in many parts of Iceland until recent times. This hut conveys a sense of that isolation.” -Knapp Hudson

Thank You!

Congratulations to all of our winners, and to everyone who entered our 2014 Earth Photo Contest! We’re proud to be a part of such an amazing community of artists, and to provide the tools you need to get the job done. And of course a huge thanks to Katherine and everyone at SmugMug for helping us make this the best photo contest yet! Stay tuned for more in the upcoming year!


  1. This is awesome! Thanks so much to RRS crew! Congrats to Patrick Stanbro and all the winners! Very well deserve.



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