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Photo contest winners capture the essence of Alabama

By Allison Law

For Alabama Living’s first photo contest in 2017, we asked our readers to capture life in rural Alabama. That contest garnered more than 100 photos from all parts of Alabama, from the picturesque mountains of the northeast to the sugar white sands of the Gulf coast.

The contest was, from our viewpoint, a great success. We knew that there were many talented amateur photographers all around Alabama, and we weren’t disappointed. We were able to share them with you in our July 2017 issue.

For our second photo contest this year, we expanded our call for photos with four separate categories: Rural landscapes, Alabama landmarks, emotions and cute critters. The idea was to broaden the subject matter of the photos, and to get our readers to use some creativity in submitting their entries.

Entries were limited to two photos per category, per photographer, and the contest was limited to amateur photographers only. We printed the call for entries in the March and April issues of the magazine.

This year, our judge was Phil Scarsbrook, a professional photographer in central Alabama with nearly 40 years of experience. He also takes the group photos for our annual Montgomery Youth Tour. Scarsbrook did not know the identities of the photographers during the judging.

Each first-place winner will receive $50. Enjoy this year’s winners, and keep an eye out for next year’s contest.

Cute critters (photo on the cover) First place winner: Dorie Parsons, Baldwin EMC. Judge’s remarks: “Whether this is a pet rabbit or wild rabbit, the photograph gives the illusion of wild. Nice use of a shallow depth of focus to pull attention to the subject. Also having the rabbit look into the open space to the right makes for a more interesting composition.”

Honorable Mention. Beach Chorus: Dorie Parsons, Baldwin EMC. “I took this shot of some very opinionated gulls at Orange Beach.”

Honorable Mention. Boll Weevil monument: Kathryn Tipton, South Alabama EC. “I think this photo is special because it’s the only monument in the world dedicated to a pest.”

Alabama Landmarks. First place winner: Rebekah Calhoun, Coosa Valley EC. Judge’s remarks: “I have seen variations of this shot (of the staircase in the Alabama Capitol building) before, however, this one is particularly well executed. The leading lines of the handrail pull your eyes into the composition and keep them there.”

Honorable Mention. Cranes at Wheeler: Susanlynn Allen, North Alabama EC. “Photographed at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge during the annual migration of the Sandhill Cranes. It is an amazing adventure to watch the cranes fly into the refuge and land and to think about their migration habits of returning each year.”

Honorable Mention. Cross on lake: Kathryn Taipton, South Alabama EC “This photo, taken at the Vineyard Christian Retreat) is a constant reminder of the one who died for our sins.”

Emotions. First place winner: Jennifer McCuiston, Cullman EC. Judge’s remarks: “Very cute photo catching the spontaneity of the moment and the child’s natural reaction.” “We have backyard chickens and wanted a few more, so we bought six new chicks this year. Coleman (McCuiston’s son) liked to bring them in the house when they were little to play with them. He set the chick on his shoulder to be like a pirate, but was laughing because the chick kept pecking at the freckle on his face.”

Honorable Mention. Fishing on Wheeler Lake: William Porter, North Alabama EC. “I was taking photos of the pelican migration (at Joe Wheeler Dam), perhaps on their way back to Canada. The sun was setting low on the horizon, giving a warm glow on the birds. When I looked over my shoulder I saw a peaceful scene of Alabamians enjoying their leisure time.”

Honorable Mention. Fox squirrel: Donna Marcella, Cullman EC. “I took this photo in our back yard beside our pecan tree. With three pecan trees in our yard this fox squirrel is a frequent visitor. We recognize this particular squirrel by the white on its face and look forward to each visit.”

Rural Landscapes. First place winner: Caroline Mann, Double Springs. Judge’s remarks: “Beautiful image. Could easily been in the emotions category. Makes me want to travel up the road to see what’s beyond the rise.”

Honorable Mention. Raccoons ready to fight: Dorie Parsons, Baldwin EMC. “These young raccoons on Catman Trail in Orange Beach seem to be having a disagreement over breakfast.”

Honorable Mention. Shrimp boats: Jeff Hosterman, Baldwin EMC. “The tremendous historical legacy of this small, diverse Alabama town (Bayou La Batre), with its shrimping and shipbuilding industries on a local, state and national level.”