Weekly Winner | Week 33

Our final weekly winner of 2014 is from one of the newest monuments on the National Mall and Memorial Parks and includes one of the oldest. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opened up in 2011, 126 years after the Washinton Monument opened its doors. Matthew Carroll did a great job of capturing these two iconic memorials together. "It was a clear summer night in 2012, I was shooting down at the Tidal Basin and decided to walk up to the MLK Memorial since I had never been there at night. I had taken a few shots of the Martin Luther King sculpture and was standing off to the side reading the inscriptions along the back wall and just happened to to look back to my right to see the view of the sculpture from the side with the Washington Monument behind it. As with many good shots, this one was completely by chance."

Can't argue with chance! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass Matthew!

Weekly Winner | Week 32

It was surprising to see one weekly winner from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because let's face it, it is not the easiest place to get to! So you can imagine our surprise to see the judges find a second winner from the Arctic! David Swindler did just that becoming our second polar bear shot from the Arctic to win a weekly winner award. "We were out on a boat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off the north coast of Alaska. These polar bear cubs were out playing in the water. They sparred with each other for nearly an hour while we observed at a distance. It was so fun to see their antics and funny facial expressions. ANWR is one of the best places in the world for polar bear viewing!"

Who doesn't love a good polar bear shot? Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass David!

Weekly Winner | Week 31

Somehow the 2.9 million acres of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland weren't quite enough for Clint Dunham, he had to open it up to the whole galaxy for his weekly winner! "A friend invited me to his family's annual camping trip deep into Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. He'd been bugging me to go for years, and my son and I finally made the trip this August. Little did I know we would be camping above 10,000 feet, and there would be a layer of frost over our tents each morning. Cold temperatures aside, the night sky was amazing. I was fortunate enough to have the moon set early enough to have a very dark sky while the campers were still getting settled in their tents. Kudos to my 5-year old son who was brave enough to be alone in the yellow tent while I was out taking pictures. This was a great experience to share with friends. I look forward to using the annual pass to explore more with my family in the coming year."

Family fun in the outdoors, that is what it is all about. No need to say it Clint, we know you are going to use and enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass!

Weekly Winner | Week 30

There are a lot of iconic landmarks in the federal lands. Old Faithful, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge? That's right, San Francisco's favorite red bridge is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and year after year is responsible for some amazing photos in the contest combining natural beauty with man made. Eric DaBreo paid witness to that combination of beauty and lucky for us, he had his camera on him! "Wow I don't know what to say besides I'm honored! Thanks for the selection! I currently go to school at CSU Chico. My girlfriend is from the Cow Hollow district in San Francisco, so we are always visiting SF on the weekends. This photo was from one of our adventures down to Marshall beach for sunset!"

Make sure you use your new America the Beautiful Pass to take your girlfriend somewhere really cool! Enjoy!

Weekly Winner | Week 29

Some folks pay hundreds of dollars to visit the spa, some just go to Sawtooth National Forest and enjoy the natural hot springs. Robert Huguez is part of that second group, and with views like the one in his photo, why would you want to go anywhere else? Robert tells us "We peeled ourselves out of our sleeping bags early one cold September morning and stumbled into the car. We drove to where I had seen the steam the previous morning. Down the highway, and then on a dirt road, we followed the steam as if it were a beacon. We arrived at the spring and just as the sun was touching the tips of the peaks. Best morning. Ever."

The "Best morning. Ever." continues to give as Robert has a America the Beautiful Pass on the way! Enjoy!

Weekly Winner | Week 28

Usually summer is the busy time for the federal lands, but it is this time of year (winter) when heaps of people flock to the White Mountain National Forest due to the abundance of world class snowsports! Dorothy Wallace-Senft was enjoying just that when she happened to snap this weekly winner. "My friends and I skinned up Spraddle Creek Trail in Vail, Colorado and skied down through the sublime shadows of the aspens last January 2014. We were awed by skiing in the zebra-like surroundings, etched by the perfect sunlight and clear air, and clicked many photos. I was so happy that this one turned out as it did, depicting the almost psychedelic quality of the interfacing shadows, trees and tracks."

Who knew there were zebras in the White Mountain National Forest? Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass and see you on the slopes!

Weekly Winner | Week 27

We love canyon photos, the combination of the odd shadows the walls cast and unique light that slips in here and there, it can't be beat. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has it's share of canyons just like this and Eric Kirmeyer managed to capture a perfect example. "The picture was taken right below the final rappel in neon canyon. Neon canyon is off of the 'hole in the rock road' in the Grand Staircase. My friends were looking up at a giant rock tube that you rappel through into a pool of water. The area is one of my favorites because of the incredible beauty."

Beautiful indeed Eric! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass and your next adventures!

Weekly Winner | Week 26

Red Rock Country, south-central Utah is known for the red hues that adorn their stones. Capitol Reef National Park is right in the middle of this and Dustin Baugh did a great job showing everyone that famous red. "The barn at Fruita is very photogenic and just up the Cohab Canyon trail where you can see the entire canyon, it’s absolutely stunning. Early in the season the trees had just finished blooming and there still weren't many other people on the trail so I had the view to myself. While sitting there enjoying the view I vowed to visit every National Park and Monument in the state before the year ended."

Dustin, we will be checking in on that vow! The America the Beautiful Pass should help you stay faithful to it! Safe travels!

Weekly Winner | Week 25

Crater Lake National Park is known for the having some of the bluest and purest water anywhere. We can't argue with that! Todd Olson helped us see that the sky up there can also provide a special shade of blue, as he got this shot "on a late August afternoon as the clouds began to build." Beautiful shot, beautiful day, beautiful park... What's not to love?

Todd can continue to enjoy the blue waters, including the ones featured on the 2015 America the Beautiful Pass! Enjoy!

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Weekly Winner | Week 24

Some places just look otherworldly, we would put Joshua Tree National Park into that category. The natural landscape with the foliage and wildlife makes for a pretty unique place. David Curry captured all this and a beautiful sunset too boot! "We had a great time visiting Joshua Tree and to win an award makes it even more memorable. I will put the pass to good use. This photo was shot at sunset near the Hidden Valley campground area in Joshua Tree National Park. Hidden Valley loop trail is one of the most popular and beautiful areas of Joshua Tree."

Gald you had a good time David! We are quite sure you will put the America the Beautiful Pass to great use!

Weekly Winner | Week 23

How can you not love this shot from Yellowstone National Park? Troy Hazard captured this gem. "It was my baby girl's first time visiting Yellowstone! She was so intrigued and captivated by the steam and the colors made by the micro organisms in the geyser basin. We love taking her to see the beautiful National Parks and teaching her to enjoy all the wonders nature has to offer. In her 7 short months of life she has visited 3 national parks and gone on many other adventures most people don't get to in an entire lifetime. We are so grateful we had the opportunity to explore Yellowstone this fall and look forward to our next trip back."

7 months old and 3 national parks down, nice work! The America the Beautiful Pass will help you keep up those awesome numbers, we expect you to be on your second lap through the parks by age 4!

Weekly Winner | Week 22

We are very excited about our new "Night Skies" category. It is amazing to see what places like Canyonlands National Park look like with all the lights out. Richard Briggs showed us just that in his weekly winner... Well he left one light on! "I decided that it would be fun to try and take a photo of me standing on the arch with my light shining at the night sky. Using a flashlight in photos at night is something that I started playing with this summer. So, I set my camera up on my tripod and started to climb up onto the arch, but the width of the arch started to get really small as I crawled onto it in the pitch black of the night. I decided that if I managed to keep from falling off the arch that my wife would kill me after she saw the photo, so wisely backed off and nixed that idea. I then set my camera up to take the photo that I submitted to the contest. My electronic shutter release would not reach that distance, so I did have to ask the other photographer to push my shutter release for me. I did one shot and then made some adjustments to the setup of the camera and then took the shot that I submitted."

We are glad even though your wife was not there, she was still the voice of reason! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass!

Weekly Winner | Week 21

Fall is a great time a year for Share the Experience, we get to see all the amazing colors turning all over the country. Thanks to Stefano Carini we got to see what Grand Teton National Park is sporting this fall, and it is beautiful! Stefano let us know that "Grand Tetons National Park, WY' was taken just a few hundred yards by the Park entrance in Moose, WY, on a beautiful October day in 2014. The contrast of the last remaining Quaker/Ash trees made the Grand Tetons stand out exceptionally."

A beautiful October day to say the least, nice shot Stefano enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass!

Weekly Winner | Week 20

Somewhere over the rainbow... Is Arches National Park. Ben Pelta-Heller took a visit there and managed to catch these unreal colors all coming together in one place. "The photo was taken on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014, at approximately 7:30 pm, just before sunset. The photo was taken in Arches National Park, UT, just past Balanced Rock when headed towards the park exit. An incredible thunder and lightning storm was rolling through, and I had just gotten back into my car and started heading down the road when the most vibrant and intense rainbow I have ever witnessed just appeared in front of me. You could see the entire rainbow end-to-end across the desert landscape. I pulled over immediately and took my camera back out as quickly as I could in time to catch the full thing before it vanished. It was one of the most amazing sights I've ever witnessed! I saw more arches that day than I would've expected."

The ever elusive multicolored arch, a little known spot at Arches! We are glad you found it, enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass!

Weekly Winner | Week 19

We love our dogs! Always the best companions no matter if you are camping, hiking and thanks to Kristen Levengood, we can now add rafting Hells Canyon National Recreation Area to the list. Kristen let us know that "Raft dogs Zulu and Lil Girl ride the bow as they cruise down the wild and scenic Snake River in Hells Canyon. Their 6 day, 80 mile journey from the dam to Heller Bar was filled with pristine vistas, starry night skies, serene beaches, abundant fish and wild water!"

All we know is that Zulu is one photogenic pup! We hope that Zulu, Lil Girl and Kristen will enjoy their America the Beautiful Pass!

Weekly Winner | Week 18

Nature can be a tricky model. Plan as much as you like, it might still be a no show... Such was the case for AJ Barse and his trip to Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. "The lights streaking by the reflective Picture Lake from the constant stream of cars whizzing by its winding road. Folks from Whatcom and Seattle were making the night sky pilgrimage to Artist Point atop Mount Baker to see the forecasted Northern Lights. It was packed up there, by far the busiest I have ever seen Artist Point in any season. Meanwhile, below at Picture Lake, hot coffee was on and my wife and I were the only ones around. We had the whole lake to ourselves all evening. I kept my eyes and lenses pointed to the sky in the hope to see and capture what was forecasted to be the Aurora Borealis.... that would never come to Mount Baker that night. But I was able to capture this shot, and to me, it captured the love to get out in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, even if it was just to see an empty star filled sky and the Aurora Borealis that never-was."

I believe that is called making lemonade out of lemons! Nice work AJ. We don't have a quarter for the lemonade, but we do have a America the Beautiful Pass! Enjoy!

Weekly Winner | Week 17

Some of the facilities in the Share the Experience contest are super easy to visit, just down the street from major metropolitan centers... Then there is Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Not exactly around the corner from much but a bucket list destination for many, especially after seeing this shot from Gregory Teller. "I photographed a mother polar bear and her cub on a trip to Kaktovik, Alaska in the fall of 2013. I had learned that at that time of year, sows and their cubs wait for the arctic sea ice to expand closer to the Alaska shore before making the long swim north for the winter -- and that many cubs don't make it. This little cub looked strong, and the water in bays and lagoons along the coast was already freezing up, so I think it wasn't long after this photo that the pair made their journey. I used my Nikon D300 camera with a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 prime lens to capture the moment. The morning started foggy, but quickly cleared, providing a beautiful range of blues, whites, and gold tones. I spent that entire day photographing the bears just outside Kaktovik, and came home from my trip with a new appreciation for the Arctic's vastness, challenging conditions, and compelling beauty."

Well, even if this photo doesn't make you want to catch the next flight to the Arctic, it is hard to argue with the content! Nice work Gregory, thanks for taking us somewhere not many have been! Your new America the Beautiful Pass can take you to a few more of those places!

Weekly Winner | Week 16

A trip to the outdoors can be a bit of a gamble. Plan as much as you would like and you might still get a hiccup of a rainy day, or two, or in the case of Connie Rudd and her trip to Grand Mesa National Forest, four. "This photo was taken after 4 days of steady rain on the Grand Mesa National Forest in August of 2014. I had been camping at Little Bear Campground and the morning it stopped raining, I was up before dawn, scouting a sunrise location. I found it a Cobbett Lake, no more than two miles from the campground. The sun was breaking through the clouds and the fog was rising from the surface of the lake. It demanded I stop and record the beauty of the morning. I have been traveling to the top of the Gunnison River Watershed through out the basin and this is one of the more spectacular scenes I have encountered."

Photography is all about capturing that moment, it must make it a bit easier when the moment "demands" you stop and take the picture! Nice work Connie enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass.

Weekly Winner | Week 15

"Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..." If you have ever sung those lyrics, John Stephenson found a place for you, Yellowstone National Park. "The photograph was taken on a cool crisp September afternoon near Lamar Valley in northeastern Yellowstone National Park. It was shot was made using a Nikon DSLR and a 200mm lens. The bull bison in clearly in his prime and stood perfectly silhouetted against the partly cloudy blue fall sky."

We were very relieved to find out John was using a 200mm lens for this shot as the big guys tend to like their own space! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass John!

Weekly Winner | Week 14

From the midwest and the beautiful Michigan lakeshore, we head back east with Paul Rutherford to Maine and the beautiful seashore at Acadia National Park. "This photo was taken on the beach in Monument Cove in Acadia National Park during the early morning light. In order to get the beautiful orange light I had to wake up at 4:45 a.m. to get out before the sun rose above the horizon around 5:30 a.m. The smooth round rocks on the beach are actually very large and I had to hop from one to the next in order to get the shot. The long exposure of the shot lets you get an idea of the calmness on the beach with the waves sculpting the rocks. It was my first time in Acadia, but the coastal beauty of the extensive park is going to bring me back in the future, hopefully when the leaves start turning colors."

The early bird gets the shot... and the Pass in this case! Enjoy Paul

Weekly Winner | Week 13

Pictured Rock National Lakeshore was the location of last years Grand Prize Winner and thanks to Gary Donaldson, it is still getting a lot of praise with Share the Experience! "The best way to experience the beautiful and unique features of Pictured Rock National Lakeshore is from the lake itself. I was taking numerous photos of the colorful cliffs from a boat when I noticed the bright yellow kayak moving towards this particularly striking background. I waited until the kayak was in "the right spot" and captured this image."

It appears as though a boat and a visit to Pictured Rock improves your chances dramatically! Great shot Gary, enhoy your America the Beautiful Pass.

Weekly Winner | Week 12

Proving once again that the unplanned many times leads to the best memories, we give you Kate Marchio and her Glacier National Park weekly winner. "I was taking sunset photos at Many Glaciers Hotel which is famous for its view of the symmetrical pyramid shaped mountains touring over the glassy Swiftcurrent lake. I actually had reservations at a hotel an hour away, however I was so captivated by the beauty at Many Glaciers that I didn't want to leave and kept taking photos well into the night. Around 10pm I knew I wasn't going to leave and so I asked the resort if they had any available rooms, and just my luck they happened to have one room left and it had a spectacular view! I took this photo from the private balcony of my room, it's so amazing how amazing gifts like this happen when you are doing what you love."

We cannot guarantee this will work every time, so if you are planning a visit you might want to make a reservation! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass Kate!

Weekly Winner | Week 11

Shifting gears from the west and wildlife we have week 11's winner William Brinkman from Acadia National Park in "America's Vactionland" Maine. "This was a rare photo of my son sitting still. He is always on the go, but very much was hypnotized by the water. While I was setting up my tripod to take photos of the sunset, my wife and son happened to sit down in front of me, making for a quick and unplanned capture. As the waves would come in and crash against the rocks, he would cheer and shout 'Again!'. It was one of the highlights of our trip. He was sad to get in the car after the sunset had set, and the rest of the trip he kept wanting to go back and see the ocean. I guess that is a good excuse to go back!"

Sometimes the unplanned leads to the best memories! We agree that is a great excuse to go back as well as visit new places, the America the Beautiful Pass will help you do just that!

Weekly Winner | Week 10

Kevin Dietrich is well liked in Lake Clark National Park, so much so that the wildlife there greet him with high fives and hand shakes! Ok, maybe not that, but it sure does look like they wave to him... "I have always had a vision of photographing grizzlies in the water. I always felt it was unattainable and it would jus the a bucket list item. I finally saved up some miles and money to get to Alaska and have an opportunity to see a grizzly bear. After a week of no sightings I decided to hire a float plane to drop me in a remote area where grizzly were more popular. After a few hours of searching with no results I thought I was going home with no bear images when we struck gold! A sow and two cubs were sleeping on the bank of a river. They soon began to search for food and entered the water. While watching her mother dive for salmon in the frigid glacier water of the Crescent River this young brown bear cub couldn’t contain her excitement and stood up on her rear legs and politely made a waving direction towards me. In a matter of one hour this young cub ate several salmon that were provided by her intelligent and fearless mother. Deep in the Alaskan wilderness this brown bear family provided my favorite image of the year."

Such a great story and needless to say a great photo. Hopefully your America the Beautiful Pass will encourage you to keep going on those adventures Kevin!

Weekly Winner | Week 9

Birthdays are great because they not only are usually filled with presents and fun, they are generally days when you can do what you want. Mariusz Jeglinski wanted to do the 1000 Island Lake Loop in the Ansel Adams Wilderness so he did just that! "We were on a backpacking trip for my 35th birthday. I always wanted to do the 1000 Island Lake loop and that was a great occasion. We trekked for 4 days and 3 nights, and did almost 30 miles. It was one of my best trips so far, and one of the best birthday gifts too. That particular shot was taken with a help of a tripod (something I always hate to lug around when backpacking, but after I get home and see the pictures - I'm glad I did), on our way from Garnet Lake to Lake Ediza. We took our last good look at Mount Ritter and Banner Peak before we headed out. Ansel Adams Wilderness is one of the most beautiful and impressive parts of the Sierra Nevada range. We made few "our favorite" spots there and definitely will get back there."

Sounds like a prefect birthday to us! Here is a late birthday gift of a America the Beautiful Pass from us, to you! Enjoy!

Weekly Winner | Week 8

You might have thought that flying fish could only be found in the ocean. Graham McGeorge proved that "flying fish" can also be found at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park... "I recently traveled to Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska. I had the honor of photographing the Coastal Brown Bears fish for Sockeye Salmon on and around the falls. Meet momma; Brown Bear #402. She was standing on the edge of the falls waiting for a leaping salmon. Her yearling cub sat only 15 feet away on the bank of the river. Every few minutes she would turn to check on her cub, and a salmon would leap up the river behind her. This was a close call for the salmon that got away."

A lucky salmon and a lucky photographer to get the opportunity to visit such a cool place. Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass Graham.

Weekly Winner | Week 7

Talk about vistas! Mountain goats, snowcapped peaks, it is all here in Catherine Means' photo of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. "This picture was taken on a climb up Liberty Bell spire in the north cascades. On top you get a 360 degree view of the cascades, and on the way down you are greeted by a curious family of mountain goats. All in all, it makes for a great day in the beautiful outdoors!"

Great day and a great capture Catherine! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass.

Weekly Winner | Week 6

You can almost hear the waves crashing and the shore birds above when you take a look at Susan Kim's photo of Los Padres National Forest. Susan tells us- "My picture was taken at beautiful Pfieffer Beach. The minute I stepped onto the unique purple-hued sand, I knew I was in for a treat. The beach itself felt intimate and tucked away in a forest. Then I saw it - this uniquely beautiful rock in the ocean with what looked like a window in it! The beach was empty and windy. I enjoyed watching the sunset while the tide splashed through the hole in the huge rock. It was unforgettable!"

As with all of our Weekly Winners, Susan will get a America the Beautiful Pass, hopefully that will inspire discovering some new "unforgettable" places! Enjoy!

Weekly Winner | Week 5

If I did not know better, I would think Mt. Rainer National Park was paying off the judges as they rack up their second weekly winner of 2014. Marlin Thorman told us a little about the sky high photo from the summit. "Shortly after sunrise the valleys remain shrouded in clouds, but the sun illuminates the mountain above as a climber ascends the steep snow at 10,500 feet. My climbing partner and I are on an ascent up Mount Rainier's Curtis Ridge which is a technical, seldom-climbed route on the north side of the mountain. The last two days were filled with clouds, snow, cold, and wind, but on summit day we were treated to this beautiful weather."

Thanks to Marlin, we all get treated to the beautiful weather that morning in this awesome photo! We hope you enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass and can summit some more peaks this year!

Weekly Winner | Week 4

Arches has a huge draw with over a million people a year visiting the otherworldly rock formations and incredible vistas. Harold Fritsche tells us about his experience about catching both in one frame.-
"As is frequently the case, I was hanging around this area near sundown hoping for good light, but the low clouds obscured the sun. I was preparing to leave the park for the evening when suddenly the sun broke through and some of the most wonderful golden light I have ever seen shown forth. I spent the final 10 minutes before sunset photographing the Balance Rock groupings. After the sun set, I was again in process of putting my camera away and happened to turn around and saw the warm/purple sunset afterglow on the La Sal mountains. I quickly set my tripod back up and captured this shot. I wish I could say that I judiciously waited until the automobile with his headlights on came into the frame but that part, was just good fortune, though in my opinion, it makes the shot."
Good fortune or not, we think this is a great shot! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass Harold!

Weekly Winner | Week 3

Sunrise shot are always crowd pleasers, especially in places like Ruby Mountain Wiliderness! Photographer Corbin McFarlane tells us-
"This is Overland Lake in the Ruby Mountains, Nevada. I took the picture on the third day of an eight day backpacking trip from one end of the mountain range to the other. There is still a little snow to be seen, but this day ended up being the hottest day of the year. I had a difficult time orienting the rising sun with my map. As a result of this photograph I learned that in the summer the sun rises as much as 30 degrees north of east!"
Always good to walk away with a little new knowledge as well as a great photo! Now Corbin can walk away with a America the Beautiful Pass, enjoy!

Weekly Winner | Week 2

Week 2's winner is from Glacier National Park, a park that is on many people's "must visit" lists. Lorianne Simon made the trip and tells us-
"An early riser, I love to walk the area around Many Glacier Hotel before the rest of the world are rousted from their slumber. This morning, I was struck by the soft green mountains blending into the bright blue sky and the reflecting clouds on the water. The splash of red from the flag and the boats was the perfect contrast to the blue. I will always remember this morning. Truly grateful to experience the majesty of the Swiftcurrent Valley."
Well, we already knew the early bird gets the worm, turns out they get a winning shot as well! Thanks for sharing Lorianne and enjoy your pass!

Weekly Winner | Week 1

The first weekly winner of the 2014 contest comes to us from Mt. Rainer National Park and Vaqas Malik. Vaqas said "This night shot was taken around midnight at Camp Shurman on an Emmons Glacier climb last summer. This was after the summit day and you could see the snow wall around the tent melting after being out in the sun all day. Though being tired after the summit push, the night was very pleasant with calm winds and I got motivated enought to get out and take some night shots." We are very happy you got motivated Vaqas! Enjoy your America the Beautiful Pass!

Weekly Winners

Due to the overwhelmingly strong response to the 2014 contest kick off and the amazing photos that have been coming in, we will be starting the Weekly Winners next week (5/26)! This is almost a month early! Thanks for all of your support and good luck.


Just a quick update that the language regarding sponsorship and administration of the contest in the rules was updated recently.

2013 Winners!

More than 17,600 accepted entries viewed by 133,174 unique visitors for a total of 1.7 million photo views. That is one way to summarize the 2013 Share the Experience Photo Contest. However, the numbers do not do it justice, the real story is in the photos themselves. Covering every federal land from Acadia to Zion, every scenario from family vacations to technical expeditions, the photos are the stars of this contest.

If the photos are the stars, then these are our All-Stars! The winners of the 2013 Share the Experience Photo Contest!

This year’s grand prize winner comes to us from a family outing and according to Courtney Kotewa; it almost didn’t happen as she was not sure she would take her phone with her on the kayak trip for fear of dropping it in the choppy lake. Lucky for Courtney, she decided to risk it and bring the phone to document the trip. Although she grew up in Michigan, this was Courtney’s first trip to Pictured Rocks and she described it as being on her mom’s “bucket list.” Both Courtney and her mom are always up for adventure in the outdoors as Courtney describes it best by “Nature grounds you where you can get your perspective on life back. That’s what it does for me.” We could not agree more! Congratulations Courtney!

This year was truly the year for the Midwest Lakeshores! Whereas Courtney Kotewa captured the summertime fun, Michael DeWitt enlightened us to the winter beauty that is out there as well. “In late December, a friend and I launched a canoe from the pack ice at Meyer’s Beach, gateway to the mainland sea caves in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. We broke skim ice and dodged ice bergs out to the caves, and we were well rewarded for our efforts.” We were all rewarded with a beautiful shot and a glimpse into a park that not many venture into in the winter.

When Darrell Staggs’ photo was submitted, it took the Share the Experience team a moment or two to figure out exactly what we where looking at. Which side was up? Which size was down? What exactly where we looking at? Darrell sorted it all out, “This canyon housed a pool of water that was sheltered from any wind, making it a perfect mirror for the canyon walls lit by the late afternoon sun.” Perfect mirror indeed and something that is completely unique to that spot. Darrell summed it up best with “Not all spectacular shots are obvious.” We completely agree, but also think this shot is obviously spectacular.

Honorable Mention Winners

  • Peter Blanchard-Fan Favorite

  • Manish Mamtani-Fan Favorite

  • Eric Magayne-Honorable Mention (Adventure)

  • Linnea Charnholm-Honorable Mention (Let's Move Outside)

  • Sarah Malerich-Honorable Mention (Historical)

  • Michael McRuiz-Honorable Mention (Scenic)

  • Graham McGeorge-Honorable Mention (Wildlife)

  • James Van Lydegraf-Sweepstakes Winner
  • Thanks again to all those who entered, we hope you enjoyed as much as we did!