National Park Foundation Find Your Park


Check out the monthly winners of the 2017 contest below! Also, scroll down to read about our 2016 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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2017 Monthly Winners

May Winner | Marja Seidel, Yosemite National Park, California

Our alarm rang at 5.30am. Together with my sister Rosie, who was visiting from England, we started hiking the steep trail just before sunrise. Even though it was already hot during the day, we still crossed snowfields at the top (mid-March). But the hike/climb/slippery paths were all worth it! The views over Yosemite Valley and its cascades were simply breath-taking!

May Winner | Brandon Yoshizawa, Los Padres National Forest, California

Located in Big Sur, the keyhole arch is a popular spot around winter solstice when the setting sun aligns through the portal. When the skies are clear, it produces a stunning beam of light concentrated through the arch. I took this photo as a wave crashed through as the mist helped enhance the beam of light.

May Winner | Raymond Lee, Tonto National Forest, Arizona

I made a short road trip through the Tonto Basin during the Arizona spring wildflower season hoping to catch an iconic poppy shot. I parked near the Salt River’s entry into Roosevelt Lake and as the sun went down and the storm rolled in, grabbed my camera and started shooting.

2016 Winners

Grand Prize Winner | Craig McIntyre, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

I like photographing the frogs because they’re artistic – little reptiles and amphibians are gorgeous to me. I’ve been studying them for 60 years now – patterns, designs and their behavior all fascinate me. In Texas, we don’t have a lot of public lands, and they’re very important to me along with public access to them – especially places like Big Bend National Park, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and even South Padre Island National Seashore.

Second Prize Winner | Gary Hamer, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Superior National Forest, Minnesota

In this shot, two of my friends were hitting the water again after portaging from Caribou Lake to Lizz Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. This was the last day of our annual seven-day Fall canoe-camping trip ‘Up North’. It had been a great trip, with lots of crisp foggy mornings, outstanding scenery and we even had a few meals of fresh fish!! I hope people can picture themselves in this canoe, surrounded by calm waters, the rising fog and get out and enjoy what is wild and beautiful in their area.

Third Prize Winner | Christopher Regala, Zion National Park, Utah

I love the colors of the canyons and the water, and the look on his face – it's a mixture of awe and exhaustion. Although tired, he persevered. He ended up earning his junior ranger badge on this trip. Now that we’re parents we believe even more strongly that these monuments and national parks should be treasured.

Fan Favorite | Jack Hanton, Washington Monument, District of Columbia

I visit the Monument every time I go into the city! It's one of my favorites. I took the photo while on a run in D.C. with my family. We like to do this every winter break as a little tradition considering we live so close to the nation’s capital! I am an aspiring film maker, so iconic parks and monuments have inspired me to bust out the camera and test my abilities.

Fan Favorite | Rob Blair, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

I typically visit Blue Hen Falls about three times per year. It's in a heavily wooded area and also tucked away in a small ravine, which really helps to diffuse the harsh light of the late morning sun. Since I entered only one photo, it made me really think hard about what would be one of the best representations for this particular park. Blue Hen Falls is definitely one of the top 5 "must see" locations within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and there's nothing quite like seeing it in the peak of the fall foliage.

Adventure & Outdoor Recreation | Raymond Lee, White Ridge Trail System, New Mexico

I have friends who are avid trials bike enthusiasts who knew I like to take landscape photos. They invited me to join them for a day at the San Ysidro area. This was my first visit to the area and while it did present many good landscape opportunities, I found myself caught up in the action of the trials bike participants. The New Mexico Trials Bike association partnered with the BLM to clean the area up and develop a trials bike practice and competition venue. The area is open to all members of the public and is kept clean by the Trials Bike Association.

Historical & Cultural | Michael McCook, Hoover Dam, Nevada

I had been wanting to get some sunset and night shots of the Hoover Dam and the new Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. One afternoon I noticed there were clouds which I hoped would give me an interesting sunset shot, so I jumped into my Jeep and to get there just as the sky was turning red. Our public lands and especially their preservation are extremely significant to future generations. Most of my photography is inspired by nature.

Every Kid in a Park | Joshua Slezak, Oologah Lake, Oklahoma

My mother and little brother went down to Oologah Lake where he cast out his fishing rod. We actually got there a little later in the day than we would have liked, but the sunset provided some beautiful colors and lighting. I was afraid some photos I took wouldn't have turned out as well as I liked, but I found this shot among the collection. All in all it was an evening well spent with family.

Night Skies | Matthew Hanna, Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

I wanted to take a picture that contained the stars, the beach and the ocean in an attempt to capture the mood of visits to the area. I absolutely love hiking the Oregon Island area, I visit as much as possible. It’s a special place with lots of rugged crags, foggy vistas and tide pools with the low tide. You never really see it the same way twice. Public lands mean quite a lot to me. These parks, forests and refuges are places for my adventures.

Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes | John Donofrio, Fantasy Canyon, Utah

Fantasy Canyon is aptly named - it's like a sculpture gallery dedicated to erosional flights of fancy. The sandstone formations are almost unbelievably intricate but I found it to be a difficult area to photograph as the rock is a fairly uniformly grey in color and the lighting is harsh. On my most recent trip, I elected to camp on-site and after the sun went down I noticed the almost ghostly illumination of moonlight on the strange formations and was transfixed. I've been a life-long pilgrim on our public lands…I believe that finding and nurturing deeply-felt connections to the natural world is an antidote to the stress-inducing pace of modern life.

Wildlife | Mathew Sorum, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

I go to Yellowstone each Fall for wildlife viewing. This year I went a little earlier to take in the Fall leaf colors of the Tetons. I have been to Yellowstone for each of the last 4 years. When I shared the photo with friends on social media, it had a tremendous amount of positive responses from everyone. I appreciate that these lands are carefully managed to allow all visitors to view them and their inhabitants as Mother Nature created them.