A classic American scene, photographed by veteran photographer Uldis Ilvess and entitled Peace on Earth, is one of our first Sunset Print Award winners for 2014. By virtue of his award at the recent Professional Photographers of Iowa competition for Peace on Earth, Ilvess is also one of the first to be entered into the Sunset Print Award national competition.
The photograph is a masterpiece of composition and subtle lighting that brought the judges to a near unanimous decision.
“Most of the judges concurred that it was a wow image. There was one judge that felt it was too reminiscent of a Christmas card, but another judge said they’d like it as a Christmas card or as something to put it up on their wall,” says Ilvess.
Taken on a snowy day – during a blizzard, really – with a Nikon D800, the subject is Church of the Land, which can be found at Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s also the spot that Pope John Paul II spoke when he visited Iowa in 1979.
“I processed the image in Photoshop where I did some sharpening, an etching effect, and toned it slightly to give it a golden-brown cast. I also did some dodging and burning to enhance the image,” says Ilvess. “I knew what I wanted when I was there and took 15-20 different shots. I knew the composition was there, with the fence and lamppost in the right spots, but the snow was coming down so intensely with large snowflakes that I had to wait for the right time where the snow wouldn’t interfere with the image.”