|“Sun’s Up, Nets Out” by Zay Yar Lin|
Drone maker DJI announced the winners of the 2017 SkyPixel aerial photography competition earlier this month, but already there’s a controversy. As it turns out, the winner of the Landscapes category wasn’t actually taken with a drone or captured in 2017.
The contest rules required entries to have been taken in 2017 using “any aerial platform,” but a recent report from PetaPixel reveals that the winning image in the Landscape category, “Sun’s Up, Nets Out” by Zay Yar Lin, was actually taken in 2014 using a Nikon D750 from an elevated bamboo stage… probably not what they meant by ‘aerial platform.’
In fact, the photograph—which has since been disqualified—was previously submitted to the NatGeo 2015 Traveler Photo Contest as well as the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, and was a ‘top entry’ in the Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016 contest. Zay’s award bundle for the SkyPixel 2017 contest included a Nikon D850 and DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian drone.
In a statement to PetaPixel, Zay Yar Lin explained that his D750 was attached to a hexacopter on said bamboo stage when this photo was shot, but that he didn’t realize the photo had to be taken in 2017. His statement reads:
I regret that I had shot with my DSLR with hexacopter on the bamboo stage to get the best angle. But to be honest, I wasn’t aware of the Photo Contest rules that all photos should have been shot in 2017. I’m a freelance and ethical photographer in the contests. Please look up my profile in any site. I really regret misunderstanding had occurred between us.
Zay didn’t mention the attached hexacopter when he spoke with Amateur Photographer about this image in 2016.