A dramatic view of Mount Rainier has won the top prize in this year's search for the
USA Landscape Photographer of the Year. Portland-based photographer Alex Noriega becomes the third person to win the overall title and the $15,000 (£12,225) prize. His picture of Mount Rainier rising above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake was chosen from thousands of entries celebrating the beauty of the American landscape.
Explaining how he got his winning photos, Noriega says: "I knew I wanted something with a middle ground, and not a simple mirrored reflection from the shore of a lake. I found that spot here, high above Upper Tipsoo Lake, where the trees seemed to perfectly cradle the distant mountain, while showcasing the autumn foliage and allowing for atmospherics between the middle ground and the mountain in the valleys below."
Overall Adult Winner: Alex Noriega – Sunrise light illuminates Mount Rainier as it rises above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake, Washington. Alex Noriega/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year
The Young Landscape Photographer of the Year title has been awarded to Raiatea Arcuri who captured coastal lava tubes along the Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii. The photographer says: "What makes the Big Island special is the presence of lava tubes around the island. Some of these lava tubes at the coast will make amazing water motion as the waves push water in and out. It can be quite an epic experience capturing it. The water can easily surge up to your waist level and quickly recede back into the tube, creating a nice waterfall."
Overall Youth Winner: Raiatea Arcuri – Coastal Lava Tubes. Raiatea Arcuri/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year
The Digital Photography Review Special Award was offered for the picture judged to best convey how people interact with the American landscape. Michael Shainblum's Endless, which saw Michael endure extreme heat of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, certainly met the requirements for this award.
DPReview Special Award winner: Michael Shainblum – Endless. "This is a self portrait taken at Fonts Point in the Anza Borrego Desert. It was about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and after taking a few exposures I would need to shut my camera off and let the sensor cool down before continuing to shoot. The sky exposures were taken on a star tracker to get maximum detail in the Milky Way, then I shut the tracker off to take the foreground and self portrait exposures." Michael Shainblum/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year
Congratulations also goes to Terrence Bond, the winner of the Future Publishing Award, for his photograph The Real Duck Dynasty. He explains: "This was taken in Clarence Canon Wildlife Refuge, Annada, Missouri, on the migratory highway, on the west side of the Mississippi River. A census taken that day said there were over 200,000 mallards in the area. They were stirred to flight by Bald Eagles."
Future Publishing Special Award winner: Terrence Bond – The Real Duck Dynasty. Terrence Bond/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year
IBTimes UK presents the winners and runners-up of each category. To see more and to find out how to enter, visit the competition website. Winner, Classic View category: James Menzies – Main Strike, Grand Canyon National Park. "For many years I have been traveling to Arizona for storm chasing for two weeks in the season. I'd failed to obtain any real lightning at the Grand Canyon, which has been a goal of mine for years. This year however, on my birthday, I got more than I could ever hope for. This storm was incredible. As it started rolling over the North Rim, it let loose with one of the most prolific lightning displays I have ever seen. The sound of the thunder rolling through the canyon was truly unique and my only regret from that night was that I didn't break out my video camera. I know, kicking myself. But after an hour and a half of constant lightning and then the bolt from the top of the storm that landed a few hundred yards from where I was standing, that was my signal to return to the car. My best birthday ever." James Menzies/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner Up, Classic View: Long Nguyen – Photo name: Lost. "The image is taken from my first trip to Boardman Tree Farm located in eastern Oregon. This location is famous for beautiful rows of hybrid poplar trees spreading over thousands of acres. It was a fortunate accident to encounter this spot when my GPS lost signal on the way driving back to town. I quickly pulled the car over when I saw this scene, looking like an oil on canvas. The perfect combination of chaotic, autumn colour, the last light of the day and the poplar trees make the scene appear surreal." Long Nguyen/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, My USA category: Az Jackson – A Mysterious Lone Figure. "A man holding an umbrella walking from the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge towards Brooklyn as the mist surrounds him." Az Jackson/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner-Up, My USA category: Michael Shainblum – Thunder Mountain. "During the passing of a very active storm, I was lucky enough to capture the bolts striking the edge of the Eastern Sierra Mountains near Olancha, California." Michael Shainblum/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Black & White category: Terry Koyama – Waimea Bay Beast, Oahu, Hawaii. Terry Koyama/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner Up, Black and White category: Michael Ryan – Oak Tree, Petaluma, California. "When I first came across this stunning oak tree on a hike in my hometown of Petaluma, California, I imagined how this scene would feel under the influence of early morning fog. I waited another two months for optimal conditions and, to my delight, the end result far exceeded expectations. Like many images that contain the element of fog, I felt processing in monochrome would enhance the already ethereal mood." Michael Ryan/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Environmental Value category: Terry Koyama – Mammatus Makers. "On this day there was storm activity in the Kansas area. Mysterious mammatus clouds could be seen for miles. As the sun was setting Mother Nature cooperated by saturating the sky with a red-orange glow. If you squint your eyes and use your imagination it looks like the wind turbines are creating those otherworldly mammatus clouds." Terry Koyama/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner Up, Environmental Value category: Yoshiki Nakamura – Sunset Flight in Fir Island, Mt Vernon. "Take off and flight of huge flock of snow geese are always spectacular. I waited for the flock to fly, but the sun was nearly setting. When I was about to give up, they finally took off and flew over the Cascade mountain range. As the sun was very low, the sun light was a very warm colour and showed up on the bodies of the geese." Yoshiki Nakamura/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Urban category: Souvik Dutta – Caged. "This photograph is of the Polytechnic University of Florida. Shot at noon, the harsh shadows and cloudy sky provide a interesting feel to the overall composition, as if we are standing inside a cage." Souvik Dutta/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner-Up, Urban category: Jennifer Vahlbruch – 75 Stages of Life, Miami, Florida. Jennifer Vahlbruch/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner-Up, DPReview Special Award: Sapna Reddy – Escape the Ordinary, Mount Tamalpais, Marin County: "Those of us living in Northern California are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to escape the high-tech world and immerse ourselves in the serenity of nature within a short driving distance. One can walk among the giants of the redwood forest, hike the steep cliffs along the coast and explore the sandy beaches of the Pacific all on the same day. One of my favourite trails in the region is the Dipsea Trail that goes from the Muir Woods to Stinson Beach. This image was shot on one of the smaller roads that interlace Mt Tamalpais State Park in this region. On summer days it's quite common to see the fog, lovingly nicknamed "Karl" by the locals, roll in from the coast and hug the hills at the base of the mountain. A hike on the mountain places you above the clouds lending an ethereal dreamy feel to the entire scene." Sapna Reddy/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Runner-Up, Future Publishing Special Award: Ashish Varma – Autumn Fog over Grand Tetons, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. "Image captured on a bitterly cold morning with the temperature around -10C with overnight snow on the Tetons and frost on the ground. Lingering fog revealed occasional glimpses of the Grand Teton so timing was critical to capture the image at just the right moment for best combination of fog and visibility. Black-and-white conversion adds an ethereal quality to the image and highlights the dramatic layers of fog." Ashish Varma/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year DPReview Award (Youth) winner: Mark Basarab. "I was on a road trip with a few people through California and one of the stops was Point Reyes Lighthouse. On the way to the lighthouse there were plenty of slanted trees. I've seen a lot of photos of people slanting next to the tree but I wanted to get something slightly different. I had my cousin do the jump while I got the shot. Took a few tries but we eventually got it." Mark Basarab/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Future Award (Youth) winner: Kyle Wolfe: Mobius Arch and Milky Way. "Alabama hills, which provides some of the most surreal and alien like terrains, is home to the iconic Mobius Arch. I set out to capture this famous geological structure in the way I saw most fit: under the stars. The structure has an otherworldly quality. When combined with the Milky Way, it provides an image that feels straight out of a science fiction film." Kyle Wolfe/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Classic View category (Youth): Mark Rivera – Photo name: Lamar Valley, Autumn Foliage, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. "I was walking through Lamar Valley one crisp autumn day trying to photograph a herd of bison when I came across a grouping of trees in their late autumn colours which reminded me of a Seurat painting I had seen in my art history class. I set up the composition by filling the frame with the trees to get the little points and shapes to create an impressionistic scene." Mark Rivera/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, My USA (Youth): Raiatea Arcuri. Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii. "This was captured along the Kilauea Iki trail in Volcanoes National Park. Earlier that night, I hiked down into the crater to capture some time lapses, but my lenses fogged up. I hiked back to the top and was greeted by an amazing spectacle. The smoke plume coming out of the active Halema'uma'u crater looked twisted like a hurricane and the vents in Kilauea Iki crater were pumping out enough steam to partly engulf the crater floor." Raiatea Arcuri/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Urban category (Youth): Kyle Wolfe – The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Fort Point in San Francisco. "I was instantly drawn to the rustic old chain stretching across the perimeter of the walkway. I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate it into my composition, so I walked the length of it in search of the perfect perspective. Eventually I found this section that perfectly framed the wave-battered rocks, and drew the eye into the picture towards the Golden Gate Bridge. I used a 30-second shutter speed to smooth out the water and give the breaking waves a foggy appearance." Kyle Wolfe/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Environmental Value category (Youth): Mark Basarab – Fiery Sunset Yosemite National Park, California. "This was my second visit to Yosemite National Park and definitely the one I'll remember the most. When me and my friends got the park there was a forest fire. We went to Taft Point and as the sun was going down it made the smoke light up in a golden colour." Mark Basarab/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner, Black & White category (Youth): John Morris – Sunset Light Show, California. "It was the end of the day on our backpacking trip and I hiked around our campsite finding spots to photograph when I came across this amazing area. I was surprised by the cloud coverage, in the distance, which resulted in some amazing light. The contrasted light made for some amazing black and white opportunities." John Morris/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year