Landscape Competition Winner: Out of the Dark

Having Landscapes as the theme of the last round of the Sony Alpha Universe Instagram competition, we knew the competition was going to be popular. Photographers from all over Europe entered the contest, but we saw images that covered nearly every corner of the planet.

From snowy mountains and sunlit beaches, to grassy fields and ancient trees, there was a huge amount of variety on show. We were looking for images that were not just technically perfect, but also offered something that made us stop in our tracks and take in the landscape photographed.

With such a variety of different scenes to see, it was perhaps no surprise that it was often the simpler images that stood out the most. This was particularly evident in the winning image – Fabian Balint’s striking image of a young, frost covered tree, amongst the dark misty woodland.

fabian balint sony alpha 7R3 a lone sparse tree in a misty forest

© Fabian Balint | Sony α7 III + DT 135mm f/2 SAM | 1/320s @ f/2.0, ISO 200

One morning, late-autumn,” explains Fabian, “I was walking through the wonderful woodlands near my hometown Piatra Neamt, a small but beautiful city in Romania. A thick layer of frost and fog covered all the trees, bushes and the fallen leaves. When I saw that small tree, I was stunned by the way it stood out against the background.

Fabian’s thoughts were shared by the judges at Sony who loved the simple, but striking image. They stated, “We loved the way the sharpness of the tree contrasts with the soft and hazy background. You can almost feel the crispness of the leaves and the frosty ground.”

Fabian shot the image with the Sony Alpha 7 III, which he uses with a variety of lenses, including a 135mm f/2 lens which he used the shoot the winning image. He uses this lens alongside the Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA, Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA, FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS and the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS. As the competition winner, Fabian now has the choice of a new lens to add to his kit.

“I’ve chosen the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM,” Fabian explains, “because of its versatile focal length and exceptional image quality. I haven’t used ultra-wide lenses much before, however I’m always wanting to challenge myself with my photography and so I’m going to take an entirely different perspective when capturing landscapes.

Adding to my landscape photography, I’d love to explore astrophotography. It is a completely new, uncharted territory for me, so I really think this lens will help me continue my photographic journey.”

To find out how Fabian gets on with his new lens follow him on Instagram @balintfabian.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning the next Sony Alpha Universe Instagram competition make sure you follow and look out for upcoming competitions.

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dmytro korol sony nex 6 a striking mountain peak at dusk illuminated with a warm glow with a full moon visible behind

© Dmytro Korol | Sony NEX 6 + E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS | 1/30s @ f/8.0, ISO 100

ciprian negura sony alpha 7M3 a frosty branch in a misty dark forest

© Ciprian Negură | Sony α7 III + 28-75mm f/2.8 | 1/10s @ f/10.0, ISO 100

janis palulis sony alpha 7RM2 sunset behind two small trees with the foreground illuminated

© Jānis Paļulis | Sony α7R II | ISO 100

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