As 2019 draws to a close, we can look back at both the blistering pace of mirrorless camera releases, and the fact it’s not the gear that makes the photograph. It’s definitely the photographer. We have the Royal Scientific Society to thank for proving once again; stunning photos are all around us. 

The Society’s annual scientific photo competition has announced an overall winner for 2019, and winners in subcategories ranging from Astronomy to Ecology. Each image is visually stunning, but it’s the details on the cameras used, which makes you sit back and appreciate it’s the person taking the photo, not the camera.

Winner: Quantum Droplets by Aleks Labuda.

royal scientific society photo competition winner
Post-processing involved simple contrasting and color balancing. Camera: Nikon D700: 1/200; f/16; ISO200; 105mm.

Astronomy: ‘Halo’ by Mikhail Kapychka  

royal scientific society astronomy photo
Processing: Colour correction, exposure, brightness, curves. Camera: Canon 5d mark2, canon 16-35mm 2.8, f/4.5, iso-800, 30s.

Behavior: ‘Mudskipper turf war’ by Daniel Field

royal scientific society beahvior photo
Modifications limited to cropping, minor sharpening, and minor white-balance correction. Camera: Nikon D7200 body. Lens: AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED II.

Earth Science: ‘Twister in the Yukon’ by Lauren Marchant

royal scientific society earth science
The photo was taken with the iPhone 6 rear camera, which is the 8 megapixel (f2.2, 1.5micron, 1/3 sensor) with autofocus and enhanced using Adobe Photoshop (Photoshop: Lauren turned down the highlights -15 and turned up the contrast +20).’

Yeah, that photo with an ancient iPhone. 2019 saw the introduction of the iPhone Pro models, which are essentially all about improving the camera. Here’s an image that uses a smartphone that is generations old. 

All of the images show that it’s not about the gear. It’s the photographer. The winner’s D700 was introduced in 2008. None of the cameras listed cost more than $1000, and many can only be found on the used market due to how old they are. I love the Royal Scientific Society opted to detail the type of equipment used and the editing process for each photo.

Head over to the competition page to read more about each photo and see runner ups.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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