I am neither judge nor jury for our 15th Anniversary Photo Contest, so I want to participate in the fun by highlighting my favorite submissions from our contest. We received a great pool of image submissions, with a wide range of subjects and approaches to the theme, “Let Nature Be Your Guide.” I chose the below images not based on the theme, but solely based on their composition, emotion, and uniqueness.
Buck in Snow, submitted by Becky Jaffe from Oakland, CA
I love the simplicity of this image, which has a very painterly quality to it. The lack of context/background leaves so much to the imagination, and the buck’s legs convey a distinct sense of motion. The sharp buck, amidst all the blur and white-out, seems alone, but peaceful, and nice emotional tone for a wintery image. Bravo.
Canyon Tripod, submitted by Linda Lu from Berkeley, CA
I think most photographer/canyoneers can appreciate this photo, depicting the physical, aerial requirements canyon photography invites. Photographing while stemming is a tricky business, as you must eventually get to a position where you don’t need your hands. Once you get there, the shot you’re after competes for attention with the risk to both body and equipment as you hover over the ground, maybe ten or twenty feet off the deck. Personal evocation aside, the deep, rich color saturation of the image really makes it stand out.
Night Watchman, submitted by Jason
This image has a wonderful dreaminess, a sense of another world. The purple filter certainly helps create this effect, but the way the blurred, moving river seems to match the cloudy sky is just as important, I think. It’s not often I see a “new” take on the classic Watchman, and this image does it great justice.
Runners, submitted by Simon from Sebastapol, CA
What a fun, playful, simple image. There is nothing subtle or complex here, but the boys’ silhouettes speak loudly of childhood, exploration, and the wonder of slickrock. I love how each silhouette has a different personality, making me wonder how each fits into the action. The large, black mass of rock contrasts well with the orange mesa and blue sky beyond, creating interesting contrast and hints of what the silhouetted area might look like when more evenly lit.
Solitary Beauty, submitted by Melissa
A classic natural landscape, with well-chosen foreground and background elements. Parks like Cedar Breaks are so visually astounding, it can be easy not to notice the smaller details. I love the contrast of the bright, yellow flower with the orange rocks beyond, and the S-curve the canyons create, drawing my eye out to the horizon and back to the blossom.
The Pulpit, Zion National Park, submitted by Casey from Washington, UT
This image places Zion’s incredible accessibility in stark relief. Whether hiking, climbing, canyoneering, or whatever else you might be doing in the backcountry, it’s easy to feel very wild and remote. But just when you feel so FAR from “civilization,” you remember just how close you are to it. If you’ve ever climbed something high before, you know the feeling of savoring your accomplishment before you head back down; to me, this image speaks perfectly of those fleeting moments. The fall colors here are awesome, and add beautiful depth and texture to this image.
Thanks again to everyone who submitted photos to our contest! There are SO many great images, you may want to explore them all for yourself. Our Photo Contest Committee will be choosing THEIR favorites between now and the end of the month; look for the winning images on September 1.