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Local photographers capture winning moments

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The slogan “Alabama the Beautiful” has never been more true. We have photographic evidence. From the mountains of North Alabama to the Gulf Coast waters, photographers capture the beauty of our state. They are images that freeze moments in time forever.

Photographers took their best shots and entered them in the 2022 Outdoor Alabama photo contest. There were thousands of entries in 10 different categories. 14 of the winning photos were taken by north Alabama photographers. They speak for themselves. No words are needed. Congratulations to our local winners!

News 19 was able to speak with some of the award-winning photographers about their photos.

ALABAMA STATE PARKS
First Place
Marina at Joe Wheeler State Park
Adam Colwell / Athens

Adam is a software engineer by trade he uses photography to help express his creative side, especially photographing the night sky. He told News 19 the day he took this picture he was actually at Joe Wheeler taking pictures of wildlife but saw the boats with the stars in the background and loved it.

Adam set up his tripod and a timer and took a picture every 36 seconds to capture the 80 images that make up the stars in the sky behind the boats.

“The sky was so clear that night and it was super cold,” he recalled of the experience.

Second Place
Sunset at Cheaha State Park
Christopher Baker / Madison

Third Place
Gulf State Park Pier
Will Childers / Gurley


BIRDS
First Place
Great Blue Heron in Madison   
Christopher Baker / Madison

Third Place
Hummingbird Silhouette in Huntsville
Ramona Edwards / Huntsville

“It’s all worth it, it’s just fascinating. Seeing the variety of photos that can come from hummingbirds,” Ramona told News 19. She specializes in photographing hummingbirds and it’s convenient they are one of her things to capture as well.

She said this particular picture is the result of years of practice and patience. Ramona said she loves photography and showing God’s creations in a new way that most people wouldn’t even notice.

Honorable Mention
Northern Shovelers in Madison
Loralee Manas / Madison


WILDLIFE
Second Place
Fox Kit at Monte Sano State Park
Susan Eison / Huntsville

Susan called this picture of a fox kit up on Monte Sano a gift and said she was so thankful that she got to witness that moment with the sun streaming through the trees. She said a friend and her spent a long time near the fox’s den waiting for the kits to make an appearance and one was a little more adventurous than the others. It climbed up on a log and she was able to get the perfect picture.

Susan described her favorite part of photography, “It’s when you get all of your settings just right and you get the photograph that you’re hoping to get. That one photo out of 500.”

She added that it is a huge honor to have someone look at her photograph and like it as much as she did.


COLD-BLOODED CRITTERS
Second Place
Spotted Salamander in Guntersville
Amber Hart / Guntersville


BUGS AND BUTTERFLIES
First Place
Bumblebee in Albertville
Jim Flynn / Albertville

Jim is no stranger to the Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest, he’s submitted photos every year for five years and placed every time. He has been taking pictures since he was 17 years old and especially enjoys the challenge of macro-photography, close-up pictures of small subjects like bugs and flowers.

“There is nothing more challenging than wildlife photography, you never know what you’re going to see. You get one shot and then it’s gone,” Jim said. “The scene is constantly changing and you have to change your settings to go along with it.”

He added that while it is pretty neat to know his photo will travel around the state, it is more important to him that those who don’t or can’t get out of the house get to experience the outdoors and nature through his pictures.


NATURE-BASED RECREATION
First Place
Exploring Caves in Paint Rock Valley
Amata Hinkle / Huntsville

Amata was caving with the group, Black Adventure Crew, when she set up her camera and lights to take pictures. She said this particular photo was one of her favorites because it is so genuine and carefree.

She told News 19 that she has enjoyed photography her entire life and taking pictures while caving. It is a large part of her artistic life and she enjoys playing with lights and shadows.

Amata said, “I am really excited to have this photo featured statewide. I really hope people can see themselves in a new space, and see that there are organizations like Black Adventure Crew and Black Kids Adventures out there that will welcome them!”

Second Place
Sunset Kayaker on Lake Guntersville
Christopher Baker / Madison

Third Place
Hiking Holmes Chapel Falls in the Bankhead National Forest
Hannah Sumner / Florence


YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHERS
First Place
Carnival Ride in Huntsville
Morgan Elizabeth Soto / Madison

Morgan described this picture happening while she and her mom were at the carnival working on Morgan’s photography skills, specifically long exposure photos. She chose this particular ride for practical reasons, it had the best sight views.

She said her favorite part of photography is the memories that are captured. Morgan added that she was surprised when he found out she had come in first place and that it is a pretty cool experience.

Honorable Mention
Moon
Isabelle Vacik / Florence

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