Summer 2023 Competition Winner

Looking through the thousands of entries in our Alpha Summer Instagram competition, we could feel the heat from the sand, the oceans cool breeze, and the smell of sunscreen. As usual, you all entered some incredible images depicting what summer means to you, and we saw scenes from every corner of Europe.

But there can only be one overall winner; this summer, it was Francisco Javier Garcia Lima’s dynamic portrait image.

“I had wanted to shoot this image for some time,” reveals Francisco. “I’m lucky to live where it’s always summer - The Canary Islands. We always have mild temperatures, sunny weather, and wonderful beaches. I guess that summer inspiration is something that comes in my DNA, as well as in all Canarian people.”

The image was shot in a pond. Both the model and I were in the water. I had to be close to the subject as I shot the image with my Sony Alpha 7R III and the FE 35mm f/1.4 GM lens. To make things even trickier and even more difficult, I held my camera in one hand and a flashgun in the other. I needed to extract the burst of light to freeze the trail of water and expose the subject against the backlight of the setting sun.”
lady in the ocean throwing her head back

© Francisco Javier Garcia Lima | Sony α7R III + FE 35mm f/1.4 GM | 1/6400s @ f/2.5, ISO 160

The winning image resulted from many attempts and thousands of images shot using the Alpha 7R III’s continuous shooting mode. “When I opened the image in my laptop, it was quite dark, but I knew that I would have enough detail to brighten the shadows with the great dynamic range of the Alpha 7R III.”

Francisco has been shooting on Sony cameras for over ten years now. He is a big fan of the impressive focusing system and the incredible dynamic range of the cameras, which helped him capture the winning image.

As the ultimate winner of the competition, Francisco can now use his 35mm f/1.4 GM lens on his prize, a shiny new Sony Alpha 7 IV. “I’m excited to try the incredible focusing system. I’m looking forward to it allowing me to capture more action-packed images.”

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In second place, photographer Rafael Alvarez Santos won us over with his bold, graphic beach scene, shot with his Sony Alpha 7 II and 24mm f/2.8 lens. “The image was taken on a beach in Phuket, Thailand, during my summer holidays. I proposed to my partner on this trip, and she said ‘yes’! The photo was taken minutes before going to the viewpoint where I proposed. I intended to take the shot with someone swimming between the flags, to create that atmosphere of enjoying the moment we are living in and emphasizing the shadows of the flags in the sand to make it more interesting. Eventually, the waves splashed this girl, which was perfect”.

Like many photographers, Rafael was instinctive in taking the image but initially didn’t think much of the picture. “I thought it was just one more photo with little impact,” he admits. “Then, once I saw it on the larger screen of my computer, my opinion changed and I decided it would be a good entry for the competition.”

lady getting splashed on the beach between two flags

© Rafael Alvarez Santos | Sony α7 II + 24mm f/2.8 | 1/60s @ f/7.1, ISO 50

Thanks to his brilliant entry, Rafael will have a Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM lens to continue taking many more travel shots with his Alpha 7 II.


Last but not least, David Vančišin won third place with his image of the Old Town Hall in Prague.

I took the photo with my Sony Alpha 7R IV and 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens. I had been out photographing the streets of Prague at night,” reveals David. “The sun was rising behind the Church of Our Lady before Týn, creating the shadow of the church tower at the Old Town Hall. My photos have a dramatic feel, and the sky was cloudless that morning. So, in post-processing, I changed the sky to a more dramatic one I had shot with the same Sony camera and lens a few days ago.”

It can be challenging to photograph busy cities that are usually filled with people. Still, David captured a very different image of an iconic location many people have photographed, by escaping the crowds and striking early.

the old town hall in prague at dusk

© David Vančišin | Sony α7R IV + FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM | 1/13s @ f/10, ISO 100

As our third-place winner, David can continue exploring different corners of the world with his new Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G lens to accompany his Alpha 7R IV.

Our next Instagram competition, Alpha Autumn, has officially kicked, make sure to follow on Instagram for details on how to enter and to see our favourite entries so far!

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