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Photographer captures the California droughts from a bird's eye view

Lucy Nicholson, California Drought From Above. Lucy Nicholson is shortlisted in the Environment category of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. She is a Senior Staff Photographer for Reuters.

We are, once again, the official printing partner for the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. The competition is now closed for entries, but you can buy your tickets to the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at the prestigious Somerset House, London, here.


sony world photography awards enviroment photographer lucy nicholson photography blog sony world photography awards enviroment photographer lucy nicholson photography blog sony world photography awards enviroment photographer lucy nicholson photography blog


Lucy was born in London and is based in Los Angeles, having worked as a photographer in Mexico City, Chile and Northern Ireland. She started her career as a reporter, and is also experienced in shooting and producing video.

“The photos were taken from helicopters. I started with a single place I wanted to photograph, and then looked on the map to find other likely photos in the same area that could be reached in the same helicopter ride. 

One subject was Harris Cattle Ranch, which I wanted to photograph because it takes around 150 gallons of water to make a third-pound hamburger according to the U.S. Geological Survey. I started by finding the cattle ranch on the map, looking for a nearby airport, and then adding an almond orchard and a reservoir to the itinerary. California ranks as the top U.S. farm state by annual value of agricultural products, most of which are produced in the Central Valley, the vast, fertile region stretching 450 miles (720 km) north-sound from Redding to Bakersfield. 

It was a challenge to come up with a route that made all the driving pay off. I planned other drought stories from the ground along the way as well as this one from the air.”

Read the full interview

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Winning and shortlisted images from the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, including those from the Professional competition, will now be showcased as part of the official 2016 exhibition, returning to Somerset House, London from 22nd April - 8th May.

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