A spectacular sunrise, an electric storm, a huge skeleton and a sea full of jellyfish provided the inspiration for some of the world's best panoramic photographs of 2018.
Organizers of this year's Epson International Awards received just shy of 5,000 entries from 74 countries across the globe. But of the 4,937 images submitted, only one could be recognized as the overall winner of the contest by the panel of top panoramic photographers and industry professionals.
Arts and entertainment
Veselin Atanasov from Bulgaria won the Open award (in the landscape category) for "Combing the Sunlight," an awe-inspiring image of daybreak in the Tuscan countryside.
He said of the winning photograph: "I shot this picture during one spring morning in 2017 in Tuscany. I remember that I had a 70-200mm lens attached to my camera, and the scene in front of me required a wide angle lens.
"The sun was quickly rising upward and I decided not to miss this moment while replacing a lens, so I shot the scene through the panorama of several frames from my hand without tripod."
Atanasov is an amateur photographer who works as an IT specialist in his hometown of Kazanlak in Bulgaria. Earlier this year, he won Sony World Photography's Open Photographer of the Year award.
He said of his latest win: "I'm not a professional. Photography is my hobby. For me, this award is incredible happiness and is extremely important because it shows me that I am on the right way and I am developing."
Nathaniel Merz, who lives in South Korea, was the overall winner of the 2018 amateur competition. His image, "Royal Ceremony," depicts a snow-capped bonsai tree taken in the mountains of Daedunsan.
"At first, I was greeted by almost total whiteout conditions, but as I waited near this tree the fog began to move in and out just enough that the light was able to pour in and illuminate the tree and the surrounding fog in beautiful warm light. It was one of those moments where, thankfully, everything came together," he said.
Craig Heckenberg, general manager of the business division of Epson Australia, which sponsors the award, said in a statement: "The great thing about photography is that the rewards and challenges are very personal; every photographer is on their own journey. Epson is proud that its technology helps bring these amazing Pano Awards images to life, and we congratulate this year's winners and thank all of the entrants for their passion."