2021 Alabama Living photo contest

Alabama Living Magazine

Each year, we look forward to seeing the photographic creativity of our readers in our annual photo contest. This year featured some outstanding entries, and though we can’t print all of them in the magazine, we hope you’ll enjoy seeing a few of the top winners. We’ll also be using some of them on our social media channels, so be sure to “like” Alabama Living on Facebook to see more!

The judge selected one first-place winner in each of the four categories and several honorable mentions. Our categories were a little different this year – we made them a little more broad to allow for a wider range of subjects. In the categories of People, Seasons, Animals and Alabama Travels, we received more than 200 entries from readers in all parts of the state and even outside Alabama. Each first-place winner receives $100, but really, the winners are all of the talented photographers who contributed their creativity.

Our judge, Julie Bennett, is an award-winning photojournalist based in central Alabama. She is on staff at the Media Production Group at Auburn University and teaches photojournalism in the College of Liberal Arts.

First place, People

Sharon Tucker, Cullman EC

“This was a BIG victory celebration for the Cullman High School Bearcats after winning the first round of the high school state baseball playoffs. Coach Brent Patterson has his team fired up and ready for round two.”

Judge’s comment: “What a great moment! Super relatable and full of expression. You can feel the excitement and energy inside the huddle.”

First place, Animals

Robyn Choiniere, Baldwin EMC

“I shot a whole series of this heron playing with this fish, but this was by far my favorite.”

Judge’s comment: “I love the action in this frame. What a catch! Wow!”

First place, Seasons

Gary Waters, Tallapoosa River EC

“This photo was taken during a prescribed burn in a pine forest. It seemed the fit the category since there is definitely a season for burns that help the forests to grow successfully.”

Judge’s comment: “Alabama has a way of showing off her unique ecosystem in so many ways. I like this (frame) because it’s not only gorgeous with the composition and contrasting colors, but it’s also interesting … there’s energy and action to it.”

First place, Alabama Travels

Tom Marlo, Baldwin EMC

“This photo was taken with my drone from an altitude of about 250 feet. The water is so clear you can see the shifting sand on the bottom. Beautiful area just west of Ono Island.”

Judge’s comment: “I love the composition and the deep depth of field here. Lovely shot of the Gulf Coast that showcases more than just a walk on the beach.”

Honorable Mentions

Alabama Travels

Larry Key, Decatur, Alabama

“This photo was taken during the Alabama Jubilee celebration. After trying all weekend, the balloons were finally able to fly at 6 p.m. on a Sunday. Lots of people and a lot of smiles.”

Judge’s comment: “Pretty and unique! I love the composition and the color.”

Sharon Tucker, Cullman EC

“This tribute of crosses honoring our fallen soldiers from long ago was along the roadside of Highway 31 … May they rest in peace and we shall be forever grateful.”

Judge’s comment: “Nice lighting – very moving.”


Marc Stewart, Joe Wheeler EMC

“After the great snowstorm of 2021, Doublehead Resort (on Wilson Lake) was a winter wonderland! This picture of the snow on the dock and the sun’s reflection in the water spoke to me.”

Judge’s comment: “It’s sort of a juxtaposition: The summer lake scene covered in winter snow. The footprints were nice (I love how they didn’t make it all the way to the chairs – too cold?)


Sandra Kiplinger, Arab EC

“My favorite winter destination is Joe Wheeler State Park to watch the fishing frenzy antics!”

Judge’s comment: “I like the action and the lighting in the frame. There is so much energy here; it almost looks like they’re walking on water.”

Steven Bailey, South Alabama EC

“The first hummingbirds of the year were coming back to our feeders, and very thirsty. It’s always a treat to hear their chittering and the movement of their wings.”

Judge’s comment: “I’m super impressed with the stop action here. The detail is amazing.”

Alicia Dodd, Tombigbee EC

“I had always wanted a horse as a kid. When I married my husband, I inherited this handsome guy, Bama. He’s always up for a photo op, but he’s exceptionally beautiful in a rare Alabama snow.”

Judge’s comment: “This is so pretty it needs to be in a calendar.”


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