Thanks so much for every one of the 7,000-plus submissions for this assignment! This was my first time in the editor position and also my first time interacting with the incredible Your Shot community. I was humbled by the breadth of photographic talent present in this space, and by the unique angles and perspectives seen and captured from around the world. Strange Terrains was an assignment that evolved without boundaries through the wildly diverse and otherworldly interpretations, from macro backyard universes to massive unexplored mountain ranges to the bizarre patterns of the human-constructed environment.
Now I know how photo editors at National Geographic must feel during the painstaking process of culling down a massive set of images that all fit together to tell a story. Part of that means not choosing two shots that serve the same purpose and thus including as much visual diversity as possible with the final “tray” of images. I grouped the final submission into categories of big landscape images, macro, city/urban, top-down/patterns, humanity, and figures on a landscape. Sometimes images that made it all the way to the final selection got weeded out because I was focusing too much on one particular type of photograph or expected story. This became a lesson to myself to continue searching for the strange and unexpected images that made my head turn a bit or took a moment to figure out, as if I truly was that alien looking in for the first time.
This assignment was sponsored by Volkswagen, who offered a grand prize trip to Utah to accompany National Geographic Photographer Renan Ozturk on a one day photo shoot. Congratulations to Shivesh Ram whose iceberg wall image was chosen as the winner.