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2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest Winners

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Dec 13, 2019 06:00 AM |
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Take a look at the winning images from WTA's 2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest.

2019 was truly a stunning year for outdoor photography. The Northwest Exposure Photo Contest saw over 6,000 entries this year, including the incredible winners you're about to see below.

We wanted to take a moment before you take a look at the winning images to thank everyone who entered the contest this year. WTA uses the photos entered in the contest throughout the year to help make our website look amazing so we can provide the best possible resources for the hiking community. From smiling hikers' faces to beautiful forests, dunes and mountains, we appreciate the wide diversity of people and places that you show us. Thank you!

And now ... (cue dramatic drumroll) here are the sixteen winning images from the 2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest.

Grand Prize - Louise Kornreich

Photo by Louise Kornreich

Grand prize winner Louise Kornreich captured this beautiful image of wildflowers during a birthday vacation in the North Cascades. She took an evening hike with her tripod at Sun Mountain and captured the amazing colors in bloom across the mountainside.

“Hiking up a mountain is like turning back timeyou can experience different climates and landscapes when you gain elevation.”

1st Place, Trailscapes - Terra Compton

Photo by Terra Compton

Terra first visited Staircase Rapids in January of 2019 and was immediately captivated by the bridge seen here in her winning photo. During their hike they largely had the trail to themselves and enjoyed a slower pace taking in the trees and scenery.

“When I thought of a “trailscape” I almost immediately went back to this picture because it really reminds me of the many different forms that trails can take, and the influence that we have on them as people.”

2nd Place, Trailscapes - Dan Evans Jr.

Photo by Dan Evans Jr.

Dan and his wife (pictured) were enjoying a hike at Shi Shi Beach when he captured this winning photo this past August. The sun was just coming over the ridge as they made it to the stairs, giving him the opportunity to capture the light filtering through the trees.

“Trails take you somewhere interesting and the places those trails take us in Washington make for some of the best memories and most beautiful surroundings anywhere in the world. I feel fortunate to have grown up in Washington in an outdoors family.”

3rd Place, Trailscapes - Peter Anspach

Photo by Peter Anspach

Peter has always had a love for astronomy, so it's only natural his winning photo was one featuring stars. After a chance encounter with a fox on the way to Fremont Lookout, Peter set up with his tripod and captured this night scene of Mount Rainier and the Milky Way behind it.

“I had cheap telescopes as a kid and was always in awe of what I could see. Getting deeper into photography over the last year, it was only natural that I'd love do astrophotography.”

1st Place, Flora and Fauna - Michael Despines

Photo by Michael Despines

Over the course of a few weeks, Michael visited this nest located in Marymoor Park to document the lives of newborn birds. Using a telephoto lens and a bit of patience, he was able to capture this incredible scene which won the category. Local parks close to home are perfect places to see wildlife and get outdoors.

“Although only a ten minute hike, this short journey transported me into another, rarely seen world. I quickly forgot where I was and the hours passed without notice.”

2nd Place, Flora and Fauna - Tom Bergeron

Photo by Tom Bergeron

Tom captured this image while on a friend's inaugural backpacking trip to Appleton Pass after hip surgery. The trip was packed with animal sightings, including goats and deer. During an evening of photography, Tom chanced upon this deer who appears to also be taking in the view of the distant Mount Olympus.

“Trails are essential for human exploration of the wilderness in today's era. The minimal impact that trails impart on the land limit the damage that would be created if we had to blaze our own trails. They allow humans the opportunity to get out of cities and towns and explore the mountains around us.”

3rd Place, Flora and Fauna - Jay Hoover

Photo by Jay Hoover

Jay doesn't live far from Riverside State Park and spends a lot of time hiking in the area, which probably aided his chances of spotting this moose wading into the water. After bumping into a neighbor who told him there was a moose nearby, he had his camera ready and captured this winning shot.

“I love being in the outdoors. I walk in the woods almost every day and couldn't imagine life without it."

1st Place, Trail Family - Charles Wang

Photo by Charles Wang

In an effort to escape the rain in Seattle, Charles and Tanya (pictured) headed east to Ancient Lakes. The contrasting hues of the flowers and the impressive landscape created a perfect scene to grab this winning image in the Trail Family category. Charles wanted to create the illusion of Tanya being surrounded by flowers and found a spot that allowed them to do that without leaving the trail or disturbing any vegetation.

The trails around this region are not only gorgeous, but also uplifting, connecting, and challenging; reminds me to always be grateful for all things natural! The trails teach me about the history of the PNW and how the outdoors is such an impactful part of this region’s identity and community. We must protect and preserve the environment for the growing wildlife and for future generations to explore.”

2nd Place, Trail Family - Mandy McLaren

Photo by Amanda McLaren

After picking her older child up from school, Mandy and her two sons (pictured) decided on an evening hike at Horse Lake Reserve in Wenatchee. They spotted wildlife, including a hawk, though much to her sons' disappointment no snakes were seen. Trying to find as many critters on trail is their favorite activity when hiking.

“We are fortunate to live in a state that values our natural treasures. I am hopeful that exposing my children to nature and our unique landscapes will instill in them a love of the outdoors that lasts a lifetime.”

3rd Place, Trail Family - Colin Grant

Photo by Colin Grant

Taken of his two friends (Dan and Nicole) who were there to witness (and officiate) his mountaintop wedding, Colin snapped this photo just moments after tying the knot to his wife who he describes as "the most amazing woman in the universe". They carried their wedding attire up to the summit of Vesper Peak wrapped in trash bags to avoid the rain, but they lucked out on a weather window and enjoyed gorgeous views from the top to match their special moment.

I love this image because it captures the feeling of the day so perfectly: joy, triumph, strength, and love.

1st Place, Hikers in Action - Nicole Sanabria

Photo by Nicole Sanabria

Nicole and her husband (pictured) always make time to fish on their backpacking trips. In fact, it's how they narrow down potential destinations. If it's got fish, it's on the radar. Despite not catching anything this time around, they enjoyed the beautiful views surrounding Snoqualmie Lake, which was just a short hike from their campsite at the nearby Bear Lake.

“Trails are important to me because hiking is meditative. Being able to reconnect with nature and capturing its beauty recharges me.”

2nd Place, Hikers in Action - Tatyana Savchuk

Photo by Tatyana Savchuk

There's something magical about seeing a landscape transform with the arrival of winter snow. Places you thought you knew become somewhere new to explore, and photographic opportunities also arise that may not have been there before. Tatyana and her friend ventured to Gold Creek Pond to take in the sunset and enjoy hot cocoa. A perfect winter pairing.

In today’s world of chaos and constant stimulation, it’s hard to quiet the mind and think. Getting on the trails helps me to find some silence and clarity.

3rd Place, hikers in action - Ryan Soderlund

Photo by Ryan Soderlund

Ryan's wife, Nicole (pictured) runs every day, but when you get a brisk fall day with sunshine, you pretty much have to stop for some photos. While they normally venture further into the Olympics, they decided to explore a more local trail at Hansville Greenway on this particular day. Capturing forest photos like this one can be tricky with low light, but Ryan was able to get the shot.

“I wanted to capture the whole scene in focus yet freeze the action, which meant stopping down a little to keep the ferns sharp. It was a balancing act to get enough light since the woods aren't as bright as they appear.”

1st Place, Instagram - Gary Anderson

Photo by Gary Anderson

While wandering one of the many trails that run along Snoqualmie Ridge, Gary spotted an adult northern saw-whet owl that had made a home in a tree. Gary returned a number of times hoping to capture the owl in its natural environment with more dramatic evening light, but either the weather wouldn't cooperate, or the owls weren't making an appearance. However, one evening everything aligned for Gary and he captured this shot of the owl poking its head out of the tree. A perfect example of why local trails can be so amazing for spotting wildlife when they afford the opportunity to visit easily.

"Over the years I have seen deer, elk, bobcats, bear, and an assortment of smaller critters and birds while walking along these trails, but never an owl. Until this spring, I had always come up empty.  Seeing movement in one of the holes the first time and realizing it was a small owl was something I will never forget.

2nd Place, instagram - Steven Hersker

Photo by Steven Hersker

Wading through deep powder, even with snowshoes, can be exhausting, but Steven had the benefit of witnessing the Paradise area at Mount Rainier in a pristine and untouched state after being the first group through the park's gates. He originally went for a wider angle on this shot but changed his mind to capture the smoothness and details in the snow and trees.

“Passion for photography serves as a motor to drive my obsession to see and experience the world and all of its natural beauty.  I love to be able to share moments like these and hope to inspire others to get outside and experience this amazing planet.”

3rd Place, instagram - Felicia Boamah

Photo by Felicia Boamah

When you're racing your older brother, nothing else matters. At least to Felicia's son, T'Zion (pictured). The trio enjoyed an after-school hike in the Tacoma Nature Center before picking up their older sister, and T'Zion was captivated with the fallen leaves dotting the least until his brother took off running. Local parks like this are great for getting out after school or work for a bit of nature time.

“I believe trails are important because they allow you a safe place to reconnect with nature and experience a glimpse of the beauty our ancestors were able to experience before the land was developed.”

We hope you've enjoyed this year's winning photos! Thank you to the contest sponsors for providing prizes for the winners and supporting our work. The 2020 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest will kick off on August 17, 2020. We're looking forward to seeing your entries!


JBsuncove on 2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest Winners

Just wanted to say what a beautiful group of photographs. I would not want to have been a judge if this is representative of the works received.
Thanks for all the hard worked and efforts. You picked some beautiful entries. I will try harder next year...
Jack Barker,

Posted by:

JBsuncove on Dec 14, 2019 12:16 PM

HikeWrite on 2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest Winners

Thanks for this inspiring collection of photographs. (...lacing up my boots. LOL)

Posted by:

HikeWrite on Dec 17, 2019 08:28 AM

Dry Side John on 2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest Winners

Excellent photos, and I assume the judging was also excellent.
How can we know without seeing the other 5,984 photos?

Note: comment from Dry Side John while both Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes are closed. 1/15/2020

Posted by:

Dry Side John on Jan 15, 2020 08:13 PM

dknibb on 2019 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest Winners

Admiring these photos makes me wonder if anyone could doubt that we live in a special part of the world? And that we need to make sure it stays this way?

Posted by:

dknibb on Jan 18, 2020 10:07 PM