Winning prize money with the Legends (As five previous grand prize winners adorn the podium)


posted Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 10:57 AM EST


It looks like an alien world from a Ray Bradbury novel. Or perhaps an artist interpretation of the surface of the Saturnian moon Titan. Whatever it looks like, it doesn't look much like a typical photograph of a desert landscape in North America.

And that's just part of the haunting beauty of the image below submitted by Mark Seawell, as shot by a Fujifilm X-T2, that won the top prize in our Photo of the Day contest for the month of November.

Any fan of film will likely be pleased with this image. There is a wealth of detail and textures, but also incredible depth in both the dynamic range (for the photographers to discuss) and immense geographic scale (for the humans in us to simply behold).

I love dystopian novels and films (can't get enough of them actually) and this image seems like the perfect setting for a post-apocalyptic clan to try and settle a brave new world.

First Prize • $300 Gift Certificate from Adorama

Legends of the Land by Mark Seawell • Fujifilm X-T2

Also interesting with this image is the focal length of 134.5mm (click any image for more details and EXIF data). It's most common for expansive landscape images to employ a wide angle field of view, but in this case the longer focal length serves in part to pull the distant background closer in perception, and lends to the otherworldly and ethereal beauty of the image overall.

Well, as you can tell, I like Mark's image quite a bit. (Note to self: See if I can buy a full-res copy from him to print for my own wall!) But much more important than my own personal taste is that the IR judging panel (never fewer than 5 voters in any given month) awarded this the top image by (ahem) a landslide. And so, congratulations to Mark Seawell (and his X-T2) for a splendid image and in winning the $300 prize from Adorama this month! (Hey - that's enough money to cover the X-T2's Power Booster grip with enough change to spare for another memory card!)

Second Prize • $200 Gift Certificate from Adorama

In second place for November is a man who's no stranger to our awards podium. Mr. Glenn Nagel has been one of the most decorated photographers in our contest, and we are rewarded once again with a superb image of a frog emerging from a tulip. We've had several images of frogs transversing plants winning prize money over the past few years in our contest (see here and here) but this is arguably the most captivating. (And, may I say, perhaps the cutest?!)

Peeking Frog by Glenn Nagel • Nikon D850

In capturing the image at 200mm, Glenn used a Nikon D850, which was awarded our Best Overall Camera of 2017. Here in late 2018, the camera is still pulling in the awards. Congratulations, Glenn, on yet another superb prize-winning image! We are grateful.

Third Prize • $100 Gift Certificate from Adorama

And in keeping with November's primary theme, which is celebrated photographers in our contest, we move to yet another highly successful photographer with many awards over the years from our prize podium. Mr. Sirsendu Gayen comes through once again with a captivating image of the Taj Mahal, and a delightful composition all around. From the classic pair in the foreground all the way to the intriguing clouds behind the Taj itself, the image has a lot of allure for the eye to behold, with plenty of depth and yet all very accessible to the eye.

Shajahan Mumtaj by Sirsendu Gayen • Nikon D80

Using a trusty Nikon D80 (a very successful camera in our competition in years past) this is the only image among the prize winners to employ a wide angle field of view, and it's used to good effect here. We congratulate you, Sirsendu, on yet another outstanding image and prize-winner!

Honorable Mention

In our runner-up slots this month are two more celebrated photographers in our competition, each of whom have also garnered multiple prizes in the past. Indeed, these images could easily be prize-winners on any given month! Thanks very much to Anita Ross and Abeselom Zerit for their incredible images shared with us over the years, and for their passion and dedication to the craft of photography.

Feeling Playful by Anita Ross • Canon 1DX Mark II

Eurasian Eagle Owl by Abeselom Zerit • Sony A9

Novermber 2018 Winner's Gallery

Well, now that we've seen all the images, I'm curious. Is this perhaps the first time that all five images come from photographers who have won the top prize in past competitions? Let's do some research... (grab another coffee while I'm taking a look).

Aha! Indeed, that would have to be a solid and absolute YES! It wasn't until I was in the middle of penning this piece that it occurred to me that the five photographers on the podium this month are all highly decorated in our contest, and while that has happened before, we've never seen a month where all five recognized photographers all happen to be previous First Prize winners!

[Editor's note: The judges are not aware of the photographers'
nor the camera names during the judging/voting.]

Now that calls for a toast, and fortunately, it's already that time of year. But for this toast I'm going to highlight all of these amazing photographers' prize-winning photographs dating back to the beginning of 2011, almost a full eight years worth of incredible photography! And what you can do to help me out is to toast these fantastic photographers in the comments section down below... Is there one image from their ranks that stands above the rest? Or one photographer's work mentioned here that moves you the most? We'd love to hear your thoughts! (Positive and family-friendly, please.)

How our November 2018 podium photographers have fared since January 2011



Mark Seawell

First Prize - November 2018 - Legends of the Land

Second Prize - October 2015 - Grand Tetons

First Prize - December 2012 - Heavens Gate

Second Prize - October 2012 - Goodbye Horses






Glenn Nagel

Second Prize - November 2018 - Peeking Frog

Third Prize - July 2018 - Diamond Beach

Second Prize - October 2017 - Palouse

Third Prize - March 2017 - Sandy Beach

Third Prize - August 2014 - Enchanted Forest

Third Prize - January 2014 - Spiral Staircase

Third Prize - December 2013 - Bandon Beach

Second Prize - December 2012 - Orangutan Pose

First Prize - October 2012 - Dog In Flight




Sirsendu Gayen

Third Prize - November 2018 - Shajahan Mumtaj

First Prize - January 2018 - Lighting Candles

Third Prize - October 2017 - Worker Wearing a Traditional Knut Umbrella

First Prize - January 2017 - The Intha Fishermen of Inle Lake

Third Prize - November 2015 - Himalaya

First Prize - November 2014 - Little Steps




Anita Ross

Third Prize - September 2018 - Wing Tip Touch

Second Prize - April 2018 - Look! It’s a Bee

Second Prize - March 2018 - Caught in the Act

First Prize - November 2017 - Shake It Off






Abeselom Zerit

Second Prize - September 2018 - Halloween Pennant

Second Prize - May 2017 - Snow Leopard in a Snowstorm

Second Prize - March 2017 - Osprey in Flight With Catch

First Prize - November 2016 - Osprey Catch

Second Prize - July 2016 - Expectant Mandrill

First Prize - September 2014 - Milkweed Beetle

Third Prize - March 2014 - Curious Bullfrog


So once again, congratulations to these five talented and prolific photographers for many years success in our contest! They are a study in perserverance, combining for almost $6000(!) in prize money over 8 years, and are a superb example of how to succeed (in any calling) by combining a passion and talent with hard work and years of dedication.

As mentioned above (but worth repeating here) is that our judges aren't privy to the names of photographers nor camera gear during the judging. These five "regulars" (and about 25-30 more) succeed in our contest because they simply keep shooting and keep submitting, month after month and year after year. If there is but one secret to success, that is it.

And if you'd like more tips to help you succeed, we have them for you!



First Prize • xxxx

Thanks to all photographers who enter our contest, and please keep the excellent submissions coming our way. Click any image above for a larger version and more information about the photograph.

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Almost There • Melissa Anderson

How to win:

For more about what our prize-winning photographers shoot with and why, straight from the source, please see this article. It's from a few years ago, but is still quite relevant today. And for those of you wanting to know more about our competition please visit this news story, which describes our contest and also offers some useful tips to help you succeed, and this story that warns you of the best ways to NOT succeed. To see the camera and exposure information for this month's winners, please click any image above, and to see winners from previous months, please visit our POTD winner's gallery.

[And if you're ready to enter now, just click here!]

• Thanks to Adorama for sponsoring our contest! •

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