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Spotlights

Check out the monthly winners of the 2018 contest below! Also, scroll down to read about our 2017 overall contest winners. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram at @share_the_experience. Who knows...maybe you'll see one of your own images out there! Be sure to use #ShareTheExperience to spread the word!

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2018 Monthly Winners

August Winner | Donna Fullerton, Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area

Donna Fullerton, Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area

"Handsome Paint" was taken in April of this year in the Sand Wash Basin. I found out from one of the horse advocates that his name is Lennon. I spent a couple of days photographing and enjoying the antics of the Wild Mustangs and felt fortunate to see so many free and wild horses. Spring is a great time to visit the Basin. The males fight and rough-house while the newly born foals with their gangly legs can be seen hanging out with their moms. I spotted dozens of horses, many 50-100 or so yards alongside the dirt roads. Thankfully, I had a long-range lens and was able to get shots from my car without disturbing them.

The Sand Wash Basin, just outside Maybell, Colorado, is a large and desolate desert area in Northwest Colorado where many Mustangs live. This past summer was especially tough on the horses. There was a drought and many did not survive. There are organizations like the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Advocate Team - SWAT that try and help these magnificent animals. Among the many things they do is to count and name the horses. Wouldn't it be wonderful to follow one's passion and love for these horses by working for them?

August Winner | Kenda Zink, Rocky Mountain National Park

Kenda Zink, Rocky Mountain National Park

My family and I visited Rocky Mountain National Park in late May. We drove up Trail Ridge Road the day it opened. On our way up to the Alpine Visitor Center, we stopped at the Forest Canyon Overlook. On our way back to the car, my husband decided to start throwing snowballs at the kids. They got into a fun snowball fight, and I snapped this photo of my husband and youngest son in the midst of the snowball fight.

August Winner | Brandon Yoshizawa, Presidio of San Francisco

Brandon Yoshizawa, Presidio of San Francisco

I always love shooting the historic Golden Gate Bridge and make a point to capture different angles when I am visiting San Francisco. I shot this one from the overlook in the Presido and lined up head on with the bridge. I used a 300mm lens to focus on the details and the curvature of the bridge. It wasn't until I captured a shot with no cars incoming that I saw how well the street light patterns complemented the symmetry and vertical lines of the towers. This was taken during the twilight hours just as some fog started to build up giving off a nice subtle glow.

July Winner | Jean Eichenlaub, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Jean Eichenlaub, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

We arrived at the lodge and overheard guides discussing two cubs that had been up a tree near the buildings for three days. A male in the area was after the cubs and their mother sent them up for safety. That next afternoon, the cubs came down and their mother led them into the meadow to graze. It started to drizzle and we were near the berm separating meadow and beach. A small plane arrived and landed on the beach. At the first sound of the plane the cubs ran to mom and huddled close. Mom watched in the direction of the sound until the engine stopped. As soon as she relaxed the family went back to grazing.

July Winner | Yvonne Jarrett, Antietam National Battlefield

Yvonne Jarrett, Antietam National Battlefield

My husband and I spent the night in Charlestown, West Virginia on December 29, 2017. We decided to visit Antietam Battlefield since it was on our way home back to Virginia. When we awoke, a small dusting of snow greeted us. We travelled to the Battlefield and the first stop was the grave site. I participate in the Wreath Across of America and saw that the wreaths were placed on the graves . It was such a quiet place with the dusting of snow and the wreaths – a day of reflection.

July Winner | Shu Xu, Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Shu Xu, Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Moonlight. I arrived at Bodie Island Lighthouse, on the Outer Bank of North Carolina, in the middle of the night to wait for a classic sunrise shot. The full moon came out of the clouds and made the lighthouse shine. I was curious how it looked in the camera. I managed to use a very slow shutter speed to get enough exposure of the lighthouse lit by the moonlight. The lighthouse, with its zebra pattern, was incredibly beautiful with the moving clouds and stars in the blue sky. This was my attempt of taking a moonlight landscape photo. Because of its uniqueness and creativity, it turned out be more successful than the classic sunrise view.

May/June Winner | Tina Dull, Everglades National Park

Tina Dull, Everglades National Park

On June 3rd 2018 my husband and I visited Shark Valley at Everglades National Park. While riding the tram tour we captured some amazing wildlife photos. This picture was taken heading toward the observation tower. This male alligator was looking for a mate when we came upon him - he put on quite a show and I caught most of it. He raised up, bellowed, and even did a beautiful water dance with wonderful infrasonic vibrations. Our guide was quite amazed and told everyone he never saw an alligator lunge like that in all of his years as a tram guide. It was a great day to be on the trail. Everyone gets to see the top side of an alligator, but this photo allows you to see the bottom side!

May/June Winner | Cecil Hastings, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Cecil Hastings, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

I visit Bombay Hook often and on this day, around 2pm it was overcast and cold. I was driving thru the refuge, when I saw the shorted eared owl perched and it just starred at me as I drove past. I almost jumped out of my truck. The owl was sitting next to the road and didn't seem to be bothered by anything. I drove a couple of hundred yards past, parked my truck, grabbed my camera and slowly started to walk back to her; all the while taking pictures because I just knew that she could fly away at any moment. To my surprise, she stayed right there. Nothing seemed to bother her. She just kept looking around, and then she looked right at me. I took some shots, but I couldn't help but feel the moment, and just stood there and watched her. This was one of my best afternoons at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, one I will never forget.

May/June Winner | Shawn Baker, Yellowstone National Park

Shawn Baker, Yellowstone National Park

While traveling in Yellowstone my wife and I spotted this momma coyote looking for food. She alternated between gnawing on an old elk carcass and hunting in the snow. Sadly for her, she came up empty every time. We were very careful to stay a respectful distance from the wildlife (this picture was taken with a 400mm lens with a 2X extender), but this coyote didn’t read the rules. She got so close to us and the other visitors pulled along the side of the road that the camera could no longer focus on her. But she ignored us all, focusing instead on finding her next meal.

2017 Winners

Grand Prize | Manish Mamtani, Acadia National Park, Maine


The winning image was captured in Acadia National Park. Me and my wife drove to Acadia National Park from Boston for a summer weekend getaway. After taking this picture, we spent a couple of hours at the Boulder Beach enjoying the beautiful clear star-filled sky and the sound of waves crashing on the rocks. It was very beautiful and peaceful experience, and we had the whole beach to our self.


Second Place | Kristy Burns, Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico


As we've traveled through the western United States, we've been stopping at historical sites and national monuments learning more about western expansion and how it impacted the native Americans who lived in these areas. We had read about Fort Union because of its significance in the American Indian Wars and it was on our route so we planned a visit. It was a blustery, but sunny November morning with that famously blue New Mexico sky crowding the horizon, I turned to face the wind and saw the intersection of the earthen red walls of the fort with that blue sky, backdropped by the gold of the prairie grass framed like a painting in the arched doorways and snapped the shot with my camera phone.


Third Place | Dorrie Henderson, Coconino National Forrest, Arizona


In March of 2017, my best friend and I were on a girls’ trip to Sedona, AZ. We had planned to take reflective pictures at Red Rock Crossing, but there had been too much rain the previous day and the stream was flowing too full and fast for a reflective picture. However, that rain had given us a very fortuitous reflective puddle in the field in front of Cathedral Rock.


Fan Favorite #1 | James Fong, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


This photo was taken during a family RV road trip through multiple national parks including Yellowstone, Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon. I woke up one morning and all I could hear were the sounds of "Wake up! There are baby foxes frolicking in the campsite across from us!" echoing from within our humble mobile abode. Still dressed in our finest camping pajamas, we hurried outside in hopes of catching a brief glimpse of them in their natural environment. We got more than we ever thought we would and watched these cute baby foxes play with each other and interact with the world around them. I sat on the dirt road for hours taking photos of these playful baby foxes and watching them interact with one another and the world around them.


Fan Favorite #2 | Mark Rutt, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


We were in Grand Teton National Park for a few days as part of a larger multi-park road trip and were fortunate enough to see not only this sow and cubs but a second family of a sow and two cubs... all in the same vicinity multiple times a day. It was the second week of June, so pretty early in the season and the new life and spring flowers were beautiful. Such a happy pair of cubs, carefree and playing. It was an amazing thing to witness and experience.


Adventure & Outdoor Recreation | Kevin Gross, Denali National Park, Alaska


This was my first visit to Denali National Park. I was helping my professor collect meteorological data from a weather station he uses to contextualize ice core data. This photo is of Patrick Saylor, who was also helping out.


Historical & Cultural | Curtis Creath, Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii


This photo was taken more as a close-up to focus upon the actual faces and headpieces. The evening sun allowed some shadowing to emphasize the carving details. I entered this particular photo because I thought it was a little different than some of the other entries. I thought including the close-up, instead of the larger vertical perspective, would stand out.


Scenic, Seasons & Landscape | Michael DeWitt, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin


This secluded little beach on Stockton Island is a place I’ve frequented for years. We’ve enjoyed many a sunny summer afternoon here, swimming, paddling, and enjoying the absolute solitude that comes with a location that is both remote and subject to the whims of The Lake. From the very first time I saw this gorgeous little beach and sea stack, I’ve wanted to shoot a sunrise here. But, it isn’t an easy thing to do – the conditions must be perfect. After literally years of visualizing this image, and more wings and misses than I care to admit, this was finally the day.


Family, Friends & Fun | Jess Curren, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico


For the last four years our family has been traveling the country full time in an Airstream travel trailer. We've loved the opportunity to visit many of our National Parks and Monuments as we've traveled. On this particular trip, we were enjoying a winter in the southwest and were joined a few other full time traveling families at White Sands National Monument. The kids had a blast running up the dunes and then jumping or sledding their way down for hours. I love how this image captures their excitement, joy, and energy!


Wildlife | William Sweet, Acadia National Park, Maine


My wife Lisa and I were on our annual spring vacation in May of 2017 when this photo was taken. We were walking the trail near at "the Tarn." We were observing the warblers and bother birds in the area as it was prime time for the migration. As we were searching for a particular bird, my wife sighted this Mink coming down the trail and as we looked, it stopped to apparently size up the situation and figure out how it can get by us with its brook trout dinner. The combination of the mink, the trout, the pink granite... all caught in one photo was one we knew was special. To me it says... Acadia National Park.


Night Skies | Jose Torres, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida


My wife and I have always wanted to camp at Dry Tortugas National Park. We planned our visit around the New Moon so we could get the best view of the night sky. The absence of light pollution made for a incredible view of the stars. Once I realized that the Milky Way core was directly above one of the bastions, I had to take that picture. There was a sliver of a moon behind to my left which assisted with the foreground lighting. Making the scene even more impressive.