Photo Contest Winners: Outdoors Landscape

Thank you to everyone who entered and participated in the first Trailspace member photo contest. It was great fun to see so many pictures from our talented members. We had 227 entries in the contest and nearly 4,000 votes by members.

Here are the top-voted winners, out of 98 entries, in the Outdoors Landscape category, along with some words from the photographers about themselves and their photographs.

Congratulations, everyone!


First Place - Outdoors Landscape


"Lake Blanche" by Chris Anderson (parkflavor)


About Chris: I live in the Salt Lake area and spend most of my free time outside. After graduating from college I moved here from Northern Virginia three years ago, mainly for the skiing and mountain biking and the accessibility to the mountains. I spend my winters skiing on the weekends and my springs, summers, and falls mountain biking, backpacking, disc golfing, and taking photos of the mountains. If it involves being outside, I'm in.

I took a photography class in college as an elective and have kept it as a hobby ever since. Living in Utah is great for taking photos because there is so much amazing scenery nearby and such a variety of landscapes and national parks within a few hours.

About the photo: I took this photo at Lake Blanche, which is accessed from the Mill B South Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City. It's about seven miles round trip to the lake and back and you gain about 2,700 feet in elevation. I hiked up with a few friends for a day hike last summer. We got started a bit later than we had planned and reached the top right as the sun was setting. The mosquitoes were terrible that day and we didn't have any bug spray, so it wasn't the most enjoyable hike, although the scenery was fantastic.

We reached the top just after the sun had set. I set up my tripod and took a few photos and then we headed back down. We didn't spend too much time at the top because it was getting dark and the mosquitoes were making life very unpleasant. Luckily we ran into some people with bug spray that were nice enough to share. We also didn't have any headlamps or flashlights because we didn't intend on being out that late and didn't do a very good job of planning. I had to be very careful on the way down not to trip or roll my ankle or anything because I could barely see, especially by the time I got back to the bottom when it was nearly pitch black.

Anyway, it's a great day hike for anyone that lives near Salt Lake City and definitely worth it when you reach the lake at the top. Just remember to bring a headlamp if you're starting late and bug spray if you're going in the summer.


Second Place - Outdoors Landscape


"Transition" by Khristian Snyder (KSPHOTOgraphy)


About Khristian: I am 19 years old, and even though I've grown up in the urban jungle of Southern California, I've been drawn to the outdoors from an early age. I went on my first solo backpacking trip two years ago in the Three Sisters Wilderness of Central Oregon. That trip really opened my eyes to the incredible beauty of the outdoor world.

I've had a camera since I was 8 years old and have really come to love photography and, with my main subject being landscapes, I try to get out into the wilderness every chance I get. My favorite places to get outdoors are in Central Oregon and the Sierras. Bringing back beautiful photographs of the places I go to my family and friends is very exciting for me as I love to show the beauty of the mountains to those who may never get to experience them for themselves. I hope to continue my photography and someday be able to do it full time and photograph the amazing world around us. 

About the photo: The photo is taken from Sparks Lake, in the Cascade Mountains just west of Bend, Oregon. I had visited the lake for sunset several times that week but the sunsets were rather dull and ordinary. On this day, however, there was a lot of moisture in the upper atmosphere that caused lenticular clouds to form over the mountain range. I kayaked out to an island in the lake for sunset and began shooting one of the most incredible light shows I've ever witnessed. There was one other photographer in the area that was hooting and hollering over the amazing colors that were exploding in the sky.

Everything seemed to come together just right and I composed South Sister and Broken Top mountains in this shot. I really like how the warm colors of the day transitioned to the cool colors of night from one side to the other. Many think that I did heavy processing to this photograph but, to be honest, all that I did was basic contrast and light adjustments. The scene was so amazing that it was nearly impossible to take a bad photo of it!


Third Place - Outdoors Landscape


"Bearpaw Fire, Grand Tetons" by Nancy Adams


About Nancy: I retired in 2005 and now spend a lot of my time playing outdoors and doing volunteer work, and when I can combine the two all the better. Soon I'll be spending my fourth summer in the Tetons volunteering with the Wildlife Brigade doing bear management work, which is very fun and very meaningful. I also enjoy hiking and camping in Utah's Redrock Wilderness and just got back from Death Valley, a favorite destination this time of year.

About the photo: I was on a boat on Jackson Lake in the Tetons and took several digital photos of the Bearpaw Fire that burned more than 2,000 acres last summer. We knew the fire was heading towards the lake so just waited for it to explode through the trees, which it did, roaring like a freight train. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Congratulations again to Chris, Khristian, and Nancy, our three outdoor landscape winners! They each win a gift card to an outdoor retailer of their choice.

Stay tuned for the category winners in People Outdoors on Tuesday, and Nature and Wildlife on Wednesday. And next week, we'll share some of the other images that were worthy of Honorable Mentions.

All images entered in the Trailspace photo contest are copyrighted by the photographer.

Filed under: Contests


0 reviewer rep
415 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 10:09 a.m. (EDT)

Props to whoever suggested the photo contest -- my only regret is the rest of you don't get to do fun stuff like this as part of your job.

Even more props to the winners and everybody who submitted pix -- talk about a win-win situation: even if your shot doesn't make the final cut, you know you took it while doing something you love in some of the prettiest places on the planet.

And besides, a winning shot requires a combination of luck and skill that can evade even the most seasoned professionals. Two photojournalists can cover the same news event and one will walk away with a Pulitzer-winning capture of an image that might've happened while the other shooter is sneezing or futzing with a camera setting. (True story: I worked with a guy at the paper in Tampa who was out shooting a picture of an intersection where a small town nearby was debating the need for a stoplight. As he was shooting, a car crashed into a travel trailer -- happened right in his viewfinder. Amazing luck).

I've heard at least a few anecdotes about people who have stopped taking pictures on their outdoor outings, reasoning that the process of photography interferes with enjoying nature. Other side of the coin is that going to beautiful places is your best bet for bringing home beautiful pictures. Given that about 99 percent of the snapshots I take anywhere else are duds, I'll keep taking pictures of mountains and waterfalls and sunsets because they offer my best chance for actually taking good pictures.

1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 10:19 a.m. (EDT)

The photo contest was very enlightening for me, I learned a lot, plus it was much more personal than looking at a calender.

This has given me something to "shoot" for, and I'm eager to get a real camera now and see how my photos turn out with some better equipment and some practice.

So many of the photos were really good, for varying reasons.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all for giving me such a large assortment of photos to look at and enjoy!!

848 reviewer rep
3,897 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 10:36 a.m. (EDT)

Trouthunter was too modest to mention that he is the one who suggested the contest. So, he's one of our unofficial contest winners! (I'm sending you hats too, Trout!)

I agree that it is nice to learn more about our members in such a personal way and see where they go and what they do. I hope we can continue to recognize our members in ways like this.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

0 reviewer rep
148 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 12:24 p.m. (EDT)

I've heard at least a few anecdotes about people who have stopped taking pictures on their outdoor outings, reasoning that the process of photography interferes with enjoying nature.

That's interesting. Kind of the opposite for me. I got back into backpacking and day hiking to help my lack of photography skills. If it weren't for a passion for trying to figure out which end of the camera to look through, I probably wouldn't have spent the money, time, and effort accumulating gear for those trips I've taken in the past 5 months and the ones I will be taking.

244 reviewer rep
5,245 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 1:29 p.m. (EDT)

Thanks for having the contest! It was great seeing all the different types of photographs submitted. As for stopping taking a camera, I found during the 80s and 90s when I shot 1000s of shots a day, I got to where I would mainly go out looking for shots and not actaully see the scenery.

I really like that main shot in the landscapes of the mountains. That is a great shot!

Me, today after getting my summer haircut...

22 reviewer rep
76 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 2:17 p.m. (EDT)

Yes I enjoyed everyones photos of their adventures. Congrats to all the winners too! :) Great contest and thank you Trailspace for having it!

0 reviewer rep
148 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 2:21 p.m. (EDT)

As for stopping taking a camera, I found during the 80s and 90s when I shot 1000s of shots a day, I got to where I would mainly go out looking for shots and not actaully see the scenery.

For possible future reference, do they have a 12 step program for that? :-)

244 reviewer rep
5,245 forum posts
April 19, 2010 at 10:27 p.m. (EDT)

Whats the name of the double peak in the shot?

0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts
April 20, 2010 at 11:21 a.m. (EDT)

I believe it is called Sundial Peak. I am not too sure because the signs only mention that you are hiking to Lake Blanche and I haven't looked at a map to check the names of the peaks. If you ever get a chance, you should hike up there - as you can see, it's beautiful. Thanks everyone for all the votes!

Explorer Robby
141 reviewer rep
218 forum posts
April 20, 2010 at 11:40 a.m. (EDT)

Great photos. The forest fire photo is a once in a lifetime pic.

18 reviewer rep
21 forum posts
April 20, 2010 at 11:17 p.m. (EDT)

All the photos are amazing but Transition is definitely my new desktop background

16 reviewer rep
56 forum posts
April 22, 2010 at 12:27 a.m. (EDT)

Congrats you all, I wasn't surprised from the results and emjoyed participating in recognizing your noticable performance! cheers!

32 reviewer rep
6 forum posts
April 22, 2010 at 12:42 a.m. (EDT)

I just joined and missed the voting but, as a "hobbyist that sells photos" (a.k.a. semi pro?) I would like to send out a huge WOW to Khristian. Stunning image. You've captured the quintessential essence of "being at the right place at the right time." Some of the things on your site are great as well. Best of luck and kudos to TS for providing the forum.

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