Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11

Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11

By Marcio Cabral

Photography by Marcio Cabral

Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11

A huge thank you and congratulations to all of our winning photographers who have once again captured the incredible beauty, diversity and importance of plant life, from the wilds of Patagonia to the English country garden. A special congratulations goes to Marcio Cabral, of Brasilia, Brazil, who is the overall winner and the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11.

Marcio is recognised as one of the top landscape photographers in the world and holds a world record for the largest underwater panorama. The winning image entitled, Cerrado Sunrise, was shot in the vast ecological region known as the cerrado in Brazil.

Marcio said: “Paepalanthus chiquitensis Herzog is my favourite wildflower and I have been photographing it for more than a decade. These wildflowers have an incredible effect when photographed at sunrise or sunset as they reflect sunlight and this generates a striking effect that looks like the flowers have been individually illuminated.

Although this location has a large flowering field, it is not easy to find a perfect spot with the flowers lined up to fill the foreground. I visited this site for a week until I was able to capture this formation of clouds before the sunrise.”

Marcio’s love of the region holds strong botanical significance as well as many photographic opportunities. Prof. Ana Maria Giulietti, the world Paepalanthus specialist and Honorary Research Associate in the Americas team of the Identification and Naming department at Kew Gardens said: “Individual plants are found with flowers and fruits throughout the year, especially after the rainy season. The flowers are pollinated by beetles, wasps, and flies. Once the plant has reproduced or set seed, it dies.

Featuring large populations and a wide geographic distribution, Paepalanthus chiquitensis is not considered endangered. However, the accelerated advance of monoculture plantations on the cerrado causes concern for the future. The implementation of the National Plan for the Conservation of Everlasting Plants is a crucial element to reverse this process and reduce the impacts on the natural populations of these plants.”

Apart from possessing interesting access points to discuss conservation in South America, the image is technically brilliant, showing superb control of contrast and exposure with flawless composition.

Judges felt a real connection with the image and the endless filaments and flowerheads stretching into the distance beyond. The scale and impact of their presence added to a sense of timelessness. This feeling echoes the fact that conservation and living in harmony with plants and nature is a process that doesn’t have an end point. We must continue to carry this sentiment far into the future, wherever we go.

See the winners on your coffee table. Buy the book here