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Find Your Park National Park Foundation Booz | Allen | Hamilton

Spotlights

Check out the monthly winners of the 2021 contest below! Also, scroll down to read about our 2020 overall contest winners.

2021 Monthly Winners
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2020 Winners

Grand Prize | Mark Gruenhaupt, San Juan National Forest


“This photo is special to me because it was an awesome week that my brother and I were able to share, and an opportunity to get out into nature during such a difficult year of being locked inside. It was an amazing night of soaking up the Neowise Comet, the Milky Way and an incredible number of stars on display in the quiet of Colorado’s backcountry. My photo was taken in July of 2020, during COVID-19. With so many negative things associated with that year, I felt like it was appropriate to share something that was beautiful and positive from this time. Photography has the power to draw people to these places so that they can experience them in person and join in caring for and preserving them.”

Second Place | Rudi Jensen, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


“Our trip was in September of 2019, and while I have many amazing photos from this trip, none of them capture the land, lake and human interaction quite like this shot. In this photo you get the pristine beauty of the land mixed with the power of Lake Superior. I was lucky enough to capture the moment my brother first walked out to the edge of the shoreline. It was the first time he had ever been there and truly something he would never forget. I think this photo will absolutely inspire outdoor enthusiasts or even newcomers to get outside and into a park. I have told so many people about my hiking trips and always hear, “I need to check that out.” To do more than show photos of our experiences at parks, my friends and I have been accumulating extra gear so we can take people with us, rather than just talk and show people our trips.”

Third Place | Kathy Ritter, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests


“When I was a youngster, I wanted to be a photographer. My dad, in all his wisdom, suggested perhaps I do something that actually made money, like follow in his footsteps and be an Engineer. He added, I could be a photographer when I retired. So that’s exactly what I did. I only got serious into photography after I retired. I bought a new camera, read, studied, practiced, and improved. Ironically, I have been retired a decade now, and this photo, taken in August 2020, is a culmination of my efforts to get to this point. My practice and patience allowed me to capture this magical moment as it unfolded before my eyes. Winning this contest, is a dream come true.”

Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes | John Vermette, Natural Bridges National Monument


“This photo was taken in 2016, during my first visit to NBNM. I spend a lot of time camping on public lands and don't know where I would do that without them. The National Park Foundation does an incredible job and without them the parks as I know them would not exist. Even if one has never been to a national park, and maybe is unable to, photos I and others take can still inspire them to visit these places.”

Urban Playgrounds | David Caldwell, Golden Gate National Recreation Area


“Golden Gate NRA has always been one of my favorite places because it was part of one of the first big national park trips I took. I was there in 1994 to visit family at Yosemite and I remember taking a great picture of the bridge on an old film camera. I have been traveling the national parks, monuments and historic sites my whole life, but it seems like it’s been a lot more fun in the past 10 years because I have family and friends to share it with. I have a travel partner and a little blue crocheted “buddy” that acts as a stand in for my niece who is autistic. My sister made the blue guy, and he is the key, he sends a story about all of the stops we make back to my niece so she can learn about the country through his travels. My niece enjoys being able to find the little blue guy in the pictures as well as see the beauty in our country; she loves looking at all the pictures “he” sends back.”

Friends, Family & Fun | Madi Lynch, Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve


“This picture is just fun and happy and kind of silly… I selected to enter this photo because I think it really captures the adventurous and freeing mentality that a lot of people have discovered this year. This was the first time I had flown since the pandemic began and I was in desperate need of a break from work and school and staring at the same four walls. As we were driving up, we were astounded by the beauty and the diversity of mountains, sand dunes, forests, and the desert landscape. For 48 hours, my mind was clear and I felt like I had escaped everything that was going on in the world by being surrounded by nature. Being surrounded by the natural beauty of this earth and all it has to offer really humbled me and in a time of so much darkness with the pandemic, this picture reminds me of the little moments in life that can get you through anything. "

Historical & Cultural | Jennifer Rasmussen, Stones River National Battlefield


“This photo was taken in December of 2019. I chose this photo to represent the “Best of the Decade” because it’s a good reminder. Not long after this photo was taken, our country, along with the rest of the world, was hit with something that I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined. At least not in this day and age. We entered into a pandemic, and are still coping with and recovering from said pandemic to this day. This photo reminds us of two things… the Civil War supply wagon reminds us of what our country has endured throughout its history. We always have a way of persevering though, learning, changing and becoming stronger because of it. Secondly, the sunset. Sunsets, in all of their beauty, are a time to reflect on the happenings of the day, while also being a reminder that there is a new day coming with a story yet to be written.”

Wildlife | Tom Fenske, Katmai National Park and Preserve


“For years I have been captivated by images of bears feeding at the top of Brooks Falls. This was a long-awaited trip of a lifetime to see that in person. What I did not realize was how much I would enjoy all the other bear encounters throughout the park. It was fascinating to get to see the bears up close and watch their interactions with each other and their surroundings. It was a very hard process to select a photo for this contest as most of my best images were taken in the last decade and on public lands. This photo is from 2019 during my first trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve. It was an unforgettable experience and definitely a highlight of the decade.”

Adventure & Outdoor Recreation | Matt Robertson, Mount Rainier National Park


“Mount Rainier is one of my favorite National Parks. During one of my college summers, I worked for the Olympic National Forest Service, and I had the opportunity to explore the Pacific Northwest, including Mount Rainier. This photo was taken nearly two decades later, in 2017, when I went back to visit Mount Rainier. Parks and public lands and waters have greatly contributed to shaping me into who I am and have provided countless adventures climbing, running and backpacking. I will be road tripping with my wife and two kids, age 3 and 5, through Utah and Arizona this summer. We have been taking our kids to national parks since before they could walk to start developing their love for national parks. I hope others are inspired to get out there, and not only experience parks through photos, but experience them first-hand.”

Fan Favorite #1 | Rebecca King, Grand Teton National Park


This winner was lucky enough to spend six months living in Yellowstone and visiting the Teton area often. The captivating photo was chosen because “it’s a great representation of the grandeur of the Tetons. Sharing beautiful imagery and great stories are what make people realize how fleeting wild spaces can be and what inspires them to love, respect, and nurture the land and wildlife. I was feeling very reflective because my time in the area was coming to a close but I also was inspired and hopeful that I would be back. What a great send off the Grand Tetons gave me in this moment.”

Fan Favorite #2 | Tommy Korn, Olympic National Park


A visit to Olympic National Park gave this winner a “moment to leave the distractions of the busy world and to focus on the things that matter most - my family and nature! After spending months online with remote learning, my family was eager to take a break! We took this photo in June 2020 just before the peak of the pandemic. The COVID pandemic put everything into perspective about the fragility of life and the importance of utilizing time wisely.”

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