2016 Great Nevada Picture Hunt Winners
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GRAND PRIZE winner
Oftentimes, photographers explain that unexpected circumstances can lead to an extraordinary shot. Such is the case for the grand-prize winner of the 2016 Great Nevada Picture Hunt Tony Fuentes, who captured this incredible shot of Sand Harbor and Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore. “A friend and I arrived to the overlook, waiting for moonset so that we could shoot the Milky Way,” Tony says. “While waiting, we noticed that the setting moon was about to perfectly align with this tree near the shoreline. Capturing this shot was one of those unplanned pleasant surprises.”
BLACK & WHITE winner
Photographer Kristen Kabrin elegantly blends light in her interpretation of Fort Churchill State Historic Park. “The clouds were amazing and when I turned around, it looked liked they were coming out of the remains of the building,” she says. “I lined up the building toward the bottom of the frame and shot up to get the dramatic clouds.”
BLACK & WHITE runner-up
Sometimes a black-and-white image can increase the dramatic effect tenfold compared to a color one. Such is the case in photographer Liz Huntington’s capture of two wild horses in Virginia City, which she calls “July Colt.” “I usually prefer to photograph wild horses in a natural setting,” she says. “But in this photograph, they were walking across the paved street right in town as they are prone to do in Virginia City.”
Janis Knight/Home Planet Images
Sometimes you have to stick around for a while to get the perfect shot. “Our photo group had been downtown earlier, but only two of us decided to stay after dark. I was glad we did,” says photographer Janis Knight, who took this photo of the new Virginia Street bridge in Reno. “A 13-second exposure on a sturdy tripod produced the satiny water glowing from the neon signs and the white lights under the new bridge.”
James Marvin Phelps
“The Park had just opened on The Strip and I wanted to get some photos of ‘Bliss Dance’ and the Monte Carlo hotel,” says James Marvin Phelps, who captured this shot in Las Vegas. “I managed to dodge the tourists that were walking around and get both in one frame.”
Melissa Faith Knight
Photographer Melissa Faith Knight snapped this shot during Lantern Fest 2016. “My intent was to actively participate more than photograph,” she says. “That changed after I sent my first lantern into the air and my friend handed me my camera demanding I should ‘get this.’ I hope this final image honors those minutes of our peaceful gathering as the night shined bright with thousands of lanterns.”
Bull riding is a fast-paced sport, and photographing it requires skill. The 2016 Carson City Smackdown Rodeo presented photographer Lisa Fisher with the perfect opportunity to capture this incredible shot. “I took this picture from the grandstands while my husband and I were watching the bull riding.”
It takes tremendous skill to photograph Diana’s Punchbowl, but it takes bravery to do it in the manner that Shaun Astor did with this shot. The pool of water at the bottom sits near 140 degrees, and spells certain death for anyone unlucky enough to fall in. “I would set the timer and run across the craggy lip of the cauldron so that I could be pictured for scale,” Shaun says.
“Art is the expression of human creative skill and imagination,” says photographer Mike Wetzel. His ability to capture light is remarkable, as evidenced in this shot of Seven Magic Mountains in southern Nevada. “Each of the seven towering sculptures was lit from above as the clouds passed behind them,” he adds.
LONG EXPOSURE winner
Long-exposure shots and astrophotography can be complex. This photograph of Chimney Beach at Lake Tahoe was captured by photographer Tony Fuentes, who shot from several different perspectives and stitched this 10-image panorama. “The interior of the chimney is illuminated with a LED panel light with an orange gel cover on it,” Tony says.
LONG EXPOSURE runner-up
Photographer Neil Lockhart received grand prize in the 2013 Great Nevada Picture Hunt with a long-exposure shot. This year, Neil has proven that his long-exposure skills are still strong. “This shot is comprised of seven vertical shots stitched into a panorama,” he says. “I processed the shots two ways, one brighter than the other, which allowed me to combine them and give the letters a feeling of being lit. This shot went on to become the cover of the City of Reno’s first “Reno Lens” book.”
MOBILE PHONE winner
This category is testimony to the fact that expensive DSLRs do not make a great photographer. Staci McDonald snapped this photo while at Beer Park at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel using her Samsung Galaxy S5. “Right before I was about to make an attempt on the game-winning ball, the Bellagio fountains began and inspiration struck to focus in on a game-winning shot,” she says.
MOBILE PHONE runner-up
It doesn’t get much more Nevadan than train tracks, cowboys, and cattle. Anna Perkins took this photo on her cellphone in Lincoln County.
“This shot was an unexpected ‘catch’ one early morning at Pyramid Lake,” says photographer Neil Lockhart. “I had arrived early at Separator Beach to photograph what turned out to be an amazing sunrise. Before leaving, this gentleman arrived and set up his platform to make a capture of his own.”
Fred Howland has a special talent when it comes to photographing people. Fred won the Portrait/People category in the 2015 Great Nevada Picture Hunt, and followed up strong this year. “This portrait is of the vibrant Gertrude,” he says. “A few days before this photograph was taken she had celebrated her 100th birthday. Her life story is full of wonderful Nevada history.”
RURAL TOWN winner
Virginia City is picturesque enough, but sometimes getting a good vantage point can make a world of difference. “With my trusty Canon and my trusty mug of coffee, along with some huffing and puffing, I hiked to a good vantage point on Mt. Davidson and photographed the golden glow of the sun reflecting off of the architecture of the old city,” says photographer Liz Huntington. “Sunrises in Virginia City are beautiful and for a few brief moments each morning everything seems almost magical.”
RURAL TOWN runner-up
“A fellow photographer and I set out looking for scenes to photograph as I’ve always had the best success either right before or right after a storm,” says Aaron Smith, who captured this pasture scene in Carson Valley near Genoa. “The dramatic sunset along with the recent rain-soaked farmlands really added to the scene. The local cows were happy to oblige, as well.”
“Sometimes nature helps you out when you least expect it to,” photographer Aaron Smith says about this stunning pelican shot taken at Pyramid Lake. “A large group of these amazing pelicans could be seen in the distance. I set up my camera and tripod hoping to get something and as luck would have it one started heading my way. When it got close and started to land I took this photograph.”
James Marvin Phelps
The perfect moment in wildlife photography can happen in a split second. “Just past the Mouse’s Tank at Valley of Fire State Park parking lot in a narrow area of the canyon I heard a loud crack,” says photographer James Marvin Phelps. “I saw two males fighting for affection of this female. The older ram won the battle and posed with his partner for me. I was lucky enough to get several good photos of the two of them.”
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