The winner of the 16th International Garden Photographer of the Year competition (IGPOTY 16) has been announced! We share the winning images, and take a look at the finalists.
The IGPOTY Competition 16 main categories closed for entries on October 31st, 2022 and received many great submissions from around the world. Categories included; 7IM Abstract Views, Beautiful Gardens, Breathing Spaces, MPB Plants & Planet, The Beauty of Plants, The World of Fungi, Trees, Woods & Forests, Wildﬂower Landscapes and Wildlife in the Garden.
International Garden Photographer of the Year – IGPOTY 16 Overall Winner
Blue Tajinaste by Tony North
La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
Nikon D500, Tokina atx-i 11-16mm f/2.8 CF ultra-wide-angle lens, 211sec at f/3.2, ISO 1250. Tripod, star tracker. Post-capture: combined two different exposures together, use of crop, contrast and vibrance tools, basic image management.
“Echium thyrsiflorum (Syn. Echium gentianoides) is endemic to the mountains of La Palma island – from high up, there was a magnificent view of both the caldera below, and the stars above. The UNESCO La Palma Biosphere Reserve encompasses the entire island, with the Caldera de Taburiente containing mountains with a highest peak of 2,426 m – the Roque de los Muchachos. To achieve this image, I combined two different exposures together; one of the sky and one of the foreground.”
Tony’s overall winning image also came first place in the Breathing Spaces category. His image was chosen from the First places of the categories mentioned above. He said: “I am incredibly thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the overall winner of IGPOTY. This is a dream come true for me. I enter a lot of competitions, but IGPOTY is my favourite; I feel a special connection to it…In particular the image chosen has a special meaning for me. It took an enormous amount of effort to be in that place at the right time – on top of the caldera in La Palma in the middle of the night last May – and yet more to capture and process the shots.”
Tyrone McGlinchey FLS FRSA, IGPOTY Head Judge said: “Tony has literally elevated the Breathing Spaces category to new heights, by photographing endemic mountain-top flora with a breathtaking landscape view – well framed to include many points of interest. This photograph excels in highlighting plant life on our planet.”
This photograph is also awarded the Threatened Plants Photographic Award – in association with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).
Tony will receive £5,000 and the Overall Winning photo will feature at the IGPOTY 16 flagship exhibition at Kew Gardens, see below for details.
IGPOTY 16 Portfolios category winner
Slime Mould Biodiversity by Barry Webb
Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Olympus OM-1 + OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens, 1/25sec to 0.6sec at f/3.2 to f/4, ISO 200. Tripod, extension tubes, remote release. Post-capture: use of crop tool, focus stacked multiple images together in Zerene Systems Zerene Stacker, basic image management in Adobe Lightroom.
Barry Webb has won the ‘Portfolios’ category for the set of six photos with the portfolio title ‘Slime Mould Biodiversity’. ‘Portfolios’ is run as a stand-alone competition in association with The Royal Photographic Society (The RPS). Barry will receive £1,500 and an RPS Gold Medal.
He said, “This portfolio illustrates the beauty and diversity of slime moulds. Their diminutive size and ephemeral nature, means that they often go unnoticed. I have spent the last three years searching for and documenting these little-known organisms. Every image in the portfolio has used focus stacking, to show the fruiting bodies of the slime moulds, which include; Arcyria cinerea, Comatricha nigra, Metatrichia floriformis (mature), Trichia botrytis, Physarum sp., and Metatrichia floriformis (immature).”
IGPOTY 16 Category finalists
We share some of the category winners and finalists below…
IGPOTY 16: 7IM Abstract Views
Finalist: Present Uncertain by David Townshend
Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM lens, 1/800sec at f/10, ISO 1250. Post-capture: basic image management.
This image symbolises the threat of climate change – the surface of a planet becoming out of control. I used in-camera multiple exposures to combine several elements in my garden.
Finalist: Papaver and Tiarella Flowers in Ice by Ian Gilmour
West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
Pentax K-3, Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro lens, 1/40sec at f/4 , ISO 100. Tripod, remote release. Post-capture: combined two photos together using blending modes, use of dodge and burn tools in Adobe Photoshop.
‘Two photos of frozen flowers, Papaver and Tiarella which I combined in Adobe Photoshop using blending modes.’
IGPOTY 16: Beautiful Gardens
Finalist: Purple Glow by Stephen Studd
Yeo Valley Organic Garden, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM lens, 1.3sec at f/16, ISO 500. Tripod. Post-capture: basic image management.
“The sky lit up with a purple glow on this still morning, when I was photographing at the Yeo Valley Organic Garden, which really complemented the Allium flowers. A higher vantage point enabled me to capture the location and far-reaching views across the lake and Somerset countryside.”
Finalist: Autumn Reflection by Claudia Gaupp
Jardin de Berchigranges, Vosges, Grand Est, France
Canon EOS 6D Mark II, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, 1/80sec at f/14, ISO 800. Tripod. Post-capture: use of crop, selective colour and vibrance tools, basic RAW image management.
“As soon as you enter the beautiful garden of Berchigranges created by Monique and Thierry Dronet, you are welcomed by the impressive perspective of the pond with its charismatic, hand-made stone bridge.
When I visited the garden in early autumn, the evening light bathed the scenery in a golden glow and made the topiary balustrade of the bridge shine. The calm weather led to an atmospheric and colourful reflection on the surface of the water.”
IGPOTY 16: Breathing spaces
Finalist: The Lone Tree by Justin Minns
Llyn Padarn, Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 14-35mm f/4 L IS USM lens, 20sec at f/11, ISO 100. Tripod, 0.6 graduated neutral density filter. Post-capture: basic image management.
“I’ve photographed the glacially-formed lake Llyn Padarn on many occasions, but have never seen conditions so perfect, the water was like a mirror, the only movement a hint of mist swirling over it and the only sound the occasional call of a heron.”
Finalist: Funningsfjørður by Zsolt Varanka
Eysturoy, Faroe Islands, Denmark
Fujifilm X-T20, Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens, 1/500sec at f/6.4, ISO 200. Polarising filter. Post-capture: use of crop, contrast and dodge and burn tools, basic image management.
“The location and the time of the (suffocating) hike was carefully planned using Google Earth, to catch the monumental view of the Funningsfjørður fjord, with its surrounding snow-covered skirt-like hills in side light.”
IGPOTY 16: MPB Plants & Planet
Finalist: Born from the Earth by Ridhima Singh
Sony α6100, Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, 1/160sec at f/8, ISO 100. Post-capture: use of contrast and dodge and burn tools, basic image management.
“I photographed these attractive model turf houses, historically recreated at Skógar Museum in Iceland, which looked like houses born from the earth. Historically, they were built using turf, due to the lack of availability of timber in Iceland and the challenging climate to provide insulation; a symbiosis of people with Plants & Planet.”
Finalist: Earthly Armageddon by Robin Williams
Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, United States
Nikon D810, Nikon Nikkor 28-300mm lens, 1/60sec at f/11, ISO 200. Tripod, graduated neutral density filter. Post-capture: use of exposure and contrast tools, basic RAW image management in Adobe Lightroom.
“When I saw these mummified trees and dark grey clouds at the Mammoth Hot Springs, in the Yellowstone National Park – it felt like a prophesied vision of climate change and what could happen to the planet if we continue to abuse it.”
IGPOTY 16: The Beauty of Plants
First Place: Fallen Orchid Flowers by Claire Carter
Shropshire, England, United Kingdom
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM lens, 6sec at f/18, ISO 100. Tripod. Post-capture: added background texture layer, basic RAW image management in Adobe Photoshop.
“I captured these dead orchid flowers, after they had dropped, when they started to dry and take on a wonderful, paper-like texture. To complement this, I added the background texture layer in post-processing.”
Finalist: Nigella by Molly Hollman
Kent, England, United Kingdom
Sony α7 Mark III, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art lens, 1/100sec at f/7.1, ISO 200. Tripod. Post-capture: added background overlay, use of contrast and vibrance tools, basic image management.
“A delicate, but sculptural, blue-veined cultivar of Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist), with complementary background overlay added in post-processing, to highlight its architectural bracts.”
Finalist: Dactylorhiza maculata by Bernadette Benz
Auenstein, Aargau, Switzerland
Canon EOS R5, Canon 70-200mm lens, 1/250sec at f/2.8, ISO 100. Tripod, remote release. Post-capture: use of crop, vignette and HSL tools, local masks, basic image management in Adobe Lightroom.
“I captured this specimen of Dactylorhiza maculata (heath-spotted orchid) in my garden, backlit by the early morning sun. As there is only one spotted orchid flower in my garden, I was happy to capture it in this wonderful light as it began to bloom.”
IGPOTY 16: The World of Fungi
Third Place: Dance of Spore Powder by Huixia Mi
Mount Tai, Shandong Province, China
Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 G IF-ED macro lens, 1/10sec at f/8, ISO 320. Tripod, flashlight. Post-capture: use of exposure and saturation tools, basic image management.
“Back in early April of 2022, there were several dead wood piles in Mount Tai Scenic Area, on which some wild fungi grow; they were emitting spore powder. At night (using torchlight), I captured the beauty of this wonderful, colourful event – it looked as though they were dancing.”
Finalist: Clustered Bonnets by Tony North
Styal Woods, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 G IF-ED macro lens, 1/100sec at f/5, ISO 640. Tripod, LED panel. Post-capture: use of crop, contrast, and vibrance tools, focus stacked multiple images together, basic image management.
“I captured this group of clustered bonnet mushrooms, growing on a mossy log in the woods – which I lit using an LED panel. I focus stacked multiple images together in post-processing.”
IGPOTY 16: Trees, Woods & Forests
Second Place: Autumn Leaves by Manuela Göhner
Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Canon EOS R5, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, 1/5sec at f/4, ISO 100. Tripod, cable release. Post-capture: basic image management in Adobe Lightroom.
“In the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Swabian Alb, the last rays of the sun illuminated the autumn-coloured leaves of the beech trees in the forest. For a very brief time, the leaves lit up and formed a colourful contrast to the bark. I used an in-camera double exposure to give the image a painterly feel, capturing the mood of the moment.”
Finalist: Vibrant Spring by Paul Robertson
West Woods, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Nikon Z7, Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens, 0.6sec at f/13, ISO 64. Tripod. Post-capture: use of contrast tool, basic image management.
“The low morning sun illuminated the ground mist in the West Woods, and the foliage of this backlit beech tree amongst the bluebells caught my eye.”
IGPOTY 16: Wildflower Landscapes
Second Place: Bluebell Eruption by Simon Lea
Clent Hills, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED VR lens, 1/80sec to 1/5sec at f/14, ISO 100. Manfrotto tripod, remote release. Post-capture: combined 3 exposures together to form HDR photo in Adobe Lightroom, use of crop and contrast tools, basic image management.
“I’ve wanted to capture a dramatic sunrise at this location for years, but the bluebells, my work schedule and the stunning skies needed have never quite aligned. On this morning I was there in time, and the sky started to explode with colour. After several minutes spent running up and down the hill, I finally found this spot that best captured the vast swathes of bluebells on the hillside, with the flame-like sky ‘exploding’ above them.”
Finalist: Spring in the Antelope Valley by joSon
California, United States
Canon EOS 5DS, Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II USM lens, 1/320sec at f/16, ISO 800.
“I captured this view from above, of vast swathes of Californian native wildflowers, in the Antelope Valley. The colours combined with the tracks to provide interesting aerial patterns.”
IGPOTY 16: Wildlife in the Garden
First Place: Cinciarella by Gianluca Benini
Castelnuovo del Garda, Verona, Veneto, Italy
Sony α6600, Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens, 1/2000sec at f/6.3, ISO 1000. Tripod. Post-capture: use of crop and contrast tools, basic image management.
“After several attempts, I managed to capture the exact moment when the blue tit (cinciarella in Italian), took flight from the sunflower head. I am used to placing dried sunflowers in the garden, to feed the various bird species that visit me in winter.”
Finalist: Copper on Blue by Julie Pigula
National Trust Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales, United Kingdom
Canon EOS R5, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM lens, 1/640sec at f/7.1, ISO 400. Post-capture: combined two layers together, basic image management in Adobe Photoshop.
“It was a beautiful evening in the Garden, with no wind – so it was perfect for both flower and insect photography. There were lots of bees and a couple of butterflies still feeding off the flowers in the round bed. I was attracted to this small copper butterfly, which on the blue Eryngium flowers, posed perfectly, complementing the colour combination of the scene. I combined two layers together in post-processing; one sharp, and one out-of-focus.”
International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) is now in its 17th competition year and continues to be one of the world’s most respected photography competitions and touring exhibition; especially in the garden and plant photography genres. With a growing number of localised special awards and partnerships with UNESCO world heritage sites such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Blenheim Palace – the IGPOTY tour is both botanical and prestigious.
The next IGPOTY competition is due to open for entries in mid-February, closing on 31st October (12 Noon GMT). IGPOTY is inclusive and accepts entries from both amateur and professional adult photographers, worldwide.
See more competitions to enter here.
IGPOTY 16 exhibition
Open to the public at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 4th February – 5th March 2023
The IGPOTY Competition 16 launch exhibition is supported by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and will feature a selection of higher placed winning photos. These will mainly be selected from Finalist level places and above and there will also be a selection of ‘Captured at Kew’ winning photos on display.
See more of the best exhibitions to see in 2023 here.
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