1st Place; Torii by Ronny Behnert
Evidence of Shintoism and Buddhism - the most common religions in Japan - can be found in every corner of the country. Shrines and torii (traditional Japanese gates commonly found at the entrance to Shinto shrines, marking the transition from mundane to sacred spaces) can be seen in the remotest of locations, from the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the highest mountains and the deepest forests. Most of the time I use neutral density filters to force long exposures and keep my work minimalist in style. Some of my exposures last five minutes or more, which makes any distracting elements in the water or sky disappear - the longer the exposure, the clearer the photograph.