The top photographs from the World Pano awards

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The Epson Pano Awards‘ winning entries take you from the wetlands of Louisiana to a jellyfish-filled lake in the republic of Palau

Curious travellers have spent a long period cut off from the world’s wonders. Photography served as a balm for that loss. Yet the majesty of a scene – perhaps somewhere grand, or perhaps somewhere quotidian – can now inspire us to plan our next trip.

In a single snap, a skilled photographer can capture the essence of a place. Or, indeed, look at it askance – encouraging us to look a little longer and work out what we’re actually seeing.

The Epson Pano Awards celebrate this skill. This year’s winning entries take you from the wetlands of Louisiana to a jellyfish-filled lake in the republic of Palau.

Entrants come from Australia, Russia, the UAE and many other corners of the world. And their efforts could well inspire travellers around the globe to pick up a camera, or invest a little more time in their own picture taking. Here, we take a closer look at some of the best.

The Mountain Dreamer, Switzerland (2021 Curators Award)

Anyone who’s seen a glacier up close will have been overwhelmed by the sheer heft. Fingers of ice creeping across mountains, reminding you of the power of nature. Max Rive distills the feeling in a single image of Fieschergletscher and Finsteraarhorn. The former is Switzerland’s second longest glacier (14,000ft).

Max Rive/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Eternal Triangle (2021 Open Photographer of the Year)

This is one of three pictures entered by the competition’s overall winner, Joshua Hermann. His shots of south Louisiana are informed by a childhood appreciation of its swamps and marshlands – developed while growing up in the area. “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 inform them of the importance of protecting these wetlands,” he said.

Joshua Hermann/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Don’t Fence Me In (2021 Nikon Australia Award)

Snow and Australia aren’t two words you’d typically see in the same sentence – Ray Jennings, however, caught this unusual event. He said: “The Weather Bureau was forecasting snow for the New England Tableland in New South Wales (a fairly rare event) so I packed warm clothes and camera gear and headed off with a fellow photographer in the hope of capturing snow around the Gostwyck Chapel in Uralla.

“Sadly that didn’t happen so we headed to Walca 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”.

Ray Jennings/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Gentoo Penguin Colony (2021 Special Awards/Highest Scoring IAPP member)

Relatively few of us will ever make it to Antarctica. As such, this view of the colony in front of a craggy mountain gives us a glimpse into its otherworldliness. At the same time, the penguins' groupings feel strangely familiar. One can imagine little groups indulging in playground chat.

Tom Sheckels/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Shining Heat (2021 Amateur Photographer of the Year)

At an initial glance, you could presume this was a hilltop in Tuscany. It is actually Slovenia, as seen by an Austrian, Daniel Trippolt. He said: “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 heat.

Credit: Daniel Trippolt/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Legendary Peaks(2021 Amateur Photographer of the Year)

Another from Trippolt here – and one from Italy. He gives us a new perspective on the Dolomites. He shows the three peaks in winter, during which time the road leading up to them is usually closed, much to the consternation of photographers. “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 for me, because it was a cold, clear but star- rich night.”

Credit: Daniel Trippolt/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Hidden Lake (2021 Raw Planet Award)

Lakes seem to have caught the imaginations of this year’s entrant. This is from the Atchafalaya Basin in Texas – the red of the cypress trees catches the eye. Marsel Van Oosten, the photographer, said: “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 the water.”

Credit: Marsel Van Oosten/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Poison Madness (2021 Special Awards, Highest Scoring Aerial Image)

The glaring colours of this image almost hint at its location – an abandoned Romanian village that was flooded by a toxic lake. The waste comes from a nearby mining pit, and has submerged the ghost-like area since the 1970s. There’s a strange beauty to these vivid shades seen from above.

Credit: Gheorghe Popa/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Torres del Paine (2021 Special Awards, Highest Scoring Smartphone Pano)

This shot proves that a fancy professional camera isn’t required for great photography. Next time you travel to some wondrous landscape, perhaps you’ll too make use of this function. Chile was recently struck from the red list, but entry restrictions remain. For those that can’t make it to South America, hold onto this image for another day.

Credit: Andrew Dickman/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Serpentine (2021, Special Awards, Highest Scoring Vertical Image)

Doesn’t this make you wish that you had a helicopter, or, indeed, a drone, on hand? The sheer variety – and unexpectedness – of Australia's landscapes is captured in this image by Peter Harrison.

Credit: Peter Harrison/The 12th EPSON International Pano Awards/thepanoawards.com

Note, for when we can visit once more: it’s Menindee Lakes in New South Wales.

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