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Congratulations to Our 2011 Photo Contest Winners!

Published: December 2011

Grand Prize Winner, Birds of the Sea: Sting Rays by Samantha Bachmann. Photo taken in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I actually took this photo back in 2006 at the Georgia Aquarium. It was the first time I had been to a large aquarium and I was in awe of all the amazing creatures around me. The first place we went to was the underwater tunnel of the ocean exhibit. I put my camera on the "underwater mode" and started shooting. I was more focused on the whale shark but when I saw the large group of rays, I knew I had to try and capture it. Five years later, I'm still amazed how everything came together at that moment in time."

- Samantha Bachmann

Forest Category Winner, Sun through Live Oaks by Lana Gramlich. Photo taken at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana.

"Photography wasn’t even on my agenda that day. After running errands ... I decided that I’d stop by my favorite, local park and historical site ... I turned a bend to find the sunlight blazing through a double-line of moss-draped, age-old live oaks, highlighting them with with fiery reds and yellows. Awestruck, I stopped the car, grabbed my camera ... hopped out and started shooting. To be honest, the photo barely does the actual scene justice. Those trees are massive, it would take five people to hold hands around each of their ancient, gnarled trunks. Within minutes the show was over, but I was richly rewarded for following my whim!"
- Lana Gramlich

Water Category Winner, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland 009 by Gary Koutsoubis. Photo taken at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland.

"The highlight of my trip to Iceland was visiting Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon ... where icebergs, just having broken off of the Vatnajokull glacier, float in the lagoon until they melt enough to flow out of the lagoon and into the Atlantic Ocean. It was a cloudy day, late in the afternoon and I was pleased that enough sun was coming in from behind me to illuminate the floating icebergs ... Suddenly out of nowhere, a rainbow appeared and I captured the photo. A perfect moment. The rainbow then disappeared as quickly as it appeared. The walk along the lagoon was one of the most memorable photo-taking experiences I've ever had."
- Gary Koutsoubis

Wildlife Category Winner, Anole by Kathy Coombs. Photo taken in Lahaina, Maui.

"This shot was taken in the gardens of a tropical plantation on the Valley Isle of Maui. This is a female Anole and their bright color is hard to capture, as they turn brown when stressed. They move and jump quickly, and I had only a few seconds to photograph her on this Bird of Paradise. A moment later, she was gone. The beauty of the islands never ceases to amaze me and I was happy to be able to record a small part it."
- Kathy Coombs

People and Planet Category Winner, Dancing at the Sound of the Waves by Karla Utting. Photo taken in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

"This shot was taken in the idyllic island of Holbox ... I was woken up early in the morning to a powerful drum sound. After glancing through my window, I quickly grabbed my camera and headed to the beach. A lady with a long red flamenco-like skirt was dancing mystically to the sound of the waves and drum. Her friend was enthusiastically making music with the crashing waves and flowing wind. I took the shot from a distance, stayed to observe them, and felt lucky to be witnessing such a fantastic scene in an unimaginable setting. It felt like I was dreaming. When I realized I wasn’t, I felt envious as the women were so in tune with nature."
- Karla Utting

Macro Category Winner, Itsy Bitsy Spider by Bill Morgenstern. Photo taken at Moose Lake State Park in Carlton County, Minnesota.

"Several summers ago I was photographing on a cool August morning at Moose Lake State Park in Minnesota. I set up on my tripod to capture dew-covered grass and as I searched blades in the nice light I spotted this tiny spider slowly walking along the blade of grass. What amazed me was that the spiderling was no larger than the drop of water near the tip of that blade. At first it went very close to the water drop and I thought it would soon be swimming. As I waited with my cable release it moved away up the blade of grass and "click" I got him going away. I was pleased because here was an image that tells a story I'd never seen before. Now it is shared with others and that also pleases me."
- Bill Morgenstern

Special thanks to Fujfilm and Art Wolfe for their generous support of this contest.

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