With thousands of amazing entries to choose from, the CreativeLive photography team had a really tough time determining who would be the winner of our week-long outdoor photography Instagram contest.

We looked at five factors in evaluating each photo: Originality/creativity, subject matter, composition, lighting, and of course, the “wow factor.” Taking all that into account, we determined that the above photo from Everett Bloom Photography best demonstrated all of these factors, and really made us stop and go, “wow.”

Congratulations to Everett Bloom, who will be shipped the prizes from our awesome sponsors, Lowepro, and PeakDesign. If you don’t already, we highly recommend following these two companies for great content, as well as to stay updated on their great photography products. A good DSLR bag and innovative carrying equipment can help make transporting your gear much, much easier (Lowepro; PeakDesign).

Here is what Everett won:

CreativeLive Outdoor Photography Contest Prizes

How Did He Take That Photo?

This particular submission really did a great job at blowing our minds with its reality-warping creativity. We commend Everett for stepping outside of his normal comfort zone and trying something new. In his own words, here is how he captured this shot:

“This shot was taken at Joshua Tree National Park and almost didn’t happen. This was my second night and after a very crowded first night, I was trying to find somewhere that would be empty. All the “popular spots” were so packed.

While driving down an empty road at sunset I saw this open forest of Joshua Trees and knew this would be the spot. The Milky Way wasn’t going to rise until about 1:00 AM so I set up my camera and got some star trails in the meantime. After the Milky Way peeked up from the horizon I started shooting.

With so many astrophotography photos I wanted to try something outside of my comfort zone. I originally used this technique about three years ago when I got my first DSLR. It’s simply a long exposure while zooming out. I used to to it on my Christmas Tree and it always looked very cool.

I’ve seen this done with astrophotography before so I’m not claiming to be the first to do it. Just to add a little interest I decided to do another shot with me standing there to get a nice sillohoutte. So basically, it’s a long exposure zoom plus a single 30 second exposure.

There is a lot of trial and error that goes into a shot like this while working alone since you can’t tell your partner where to stand or where to aim their light. It gets frustrating, but in the end it’s ALWAYS worth it.

Nikon D750 | ISO4000 | 30s | f/2.8 | Manfrotto MK290XTA3-BHUS Tripod”

Contest Finalists

There were a very large number of incredible landscape and outdoor photos to choose from, and we were truly blown away by the quality of many of your submissions. So much so, that we decided to showcase some of our favorites.

A photo posted by Brendan (@bigbsurf) on

A photo posted by Dave (@area319photo) on

A photo posted by @alioshathor on

A photo posted by Sean Gold (@seangoldphotos) on

A photo posted by Sam Fraulino (@samfraulino) on

A photo posted by Ken Vensel (@kcvensel) on

A photo posted by Vincent (@vincenthawaii) on

A photo posted by Mike (@michaellenaour) on

A photo posted by @booradleycollection on

A photo posted by Emily J (@emilybonserj) on

A photo posted by Emily J (@emilybonserj) on

A photo posted by Lu Xia (@lu_xia_) on


Thanks again to everyone who entered this contest. It was a lot of fun, and we look forward to the next one. Keep taking amazing pictures, and check out our awesome landscape photography classes to learn how to get even better!