February 25, 2016

Atle Rønningen: Landscape Photographer of the Year

2015 Stocksy Awards: Celebrating the Best in the Biz. The Stocksy Awards celebrate photographers across twenty-one categories who produce truly outstanding work that not only takes our breath away, but pushes the industry forward. Visit to check out our 2015 winners and to watch the awards show video. Keep your eye on the blog for interviews with all our winners!

Shooting exclusively film and mobile, Norwegian photographer Atle Rønningen strives to shoot fine art, travel and lifestyle imagery in a natural and honest way.

// What was your path to becoming a professional photographer?

I had a lot of fun in the 90s with a 35mm point and shoot camera, taking photographs of anything and everything, dropping exposed film at the photo shop and picking the prints up some hours later. I remember the excitement of opening the envelope, quickly flipping through the pictures , throwing away the “failures” and laughing at the moments captured.

Twenty years later I bought a Hasselblad medium-format camera and with it returned to the world of film photography. I was very exited that day and remember fumbling around to load the film. I had to watch a tutorial on YouTube to get figure it out. I then went out to a cornfield nearby and spent nearly an hour photographing twelve pictures. It was a wonderful feeling to look through the viewfinder, focus, hold my breath and press the shutter button. The sound of the shutter is indescribable. Since then I have been hooked.

What’s the story behind your winning image?

Known as the Pulpit Rock or Preacher´s Pulpit, Preikestolen in Norway is one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in the country. Preikestolen is a massive cliff that rises some 604 metres above Lysefjorden.  To get to the top you have to walk a path starting at Preikestolhytta which takes around 3 hours.

Due to the popularity of Preikestolen during the summer months Eskil, Camilla and I decided to go in April, as soon as the snow begins to melt. At this time of the year though it can be icy in places and the weather can change from sunshine, to rain and snow very quickly, which was exactly what happened on the day of our climb. Half way up the ascent rain became ice, and the wind became really strong.

My friend Eskil is not afraid of heights and raised his hand to be the model on the day. To get the right angle I was after, I had to go right out on the edge, and I must admit that I was a little nervous. Because of the weather it was impossible to keep the lens clean, but I kept on shooting. I feel the unclean lens in this context truly reflects the atmosphere of the moment.

// How do you stay motivated to shoot and create?

The desire to discover new places and especially the scenery in Norway is what motivates me. It goes in cycles and follows the seasons. Right now Norway it is quite dark until the snow comes, so I am not very active.  But I look forward to when the snow starts to fall and that means skiing in the mountains!

// What does winning Landscape Photographer of the Year mean to you?

It feels amazing and I am truly honored. There are so many incredibly talented photographers here on Stocksy, and I often look at the pictures published for inspiration in my own work. I almost didn’t believe it was true when I won. It makes me happy that the photos I take others also enjoy. Thank you so much for all votes and the opportunity to be a part of this community.

// Anyone special you’d like to thank who has contributed to your success?

For this winning image I must of course thank Eskil, my crazy friend who willingly lined up as a model. This photo would not have been the same without him on the edge. I also would like to thank my kind and beautiful wife who allows me to go on mountain hikes to live out my passion. Last but not the least I would like to thank my friends in the photo community on Twitter, Instagram and of course here on Stocksy. Thanks for all the inspiration, support and kindness!

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