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Photo: Sean Kukowski — 2010 Great Nevada Picture Hunt Grand Prize Winner
Lightning, rainbows, and a leaping dog…ranchers, a motorcyclist, and paddle surfers in a fog—this year’s Great Nevada Picture Hunt photo contest had its share of pleasant surprises. The 2010 categories are the same as last year—City Limits, Wide Open, People, Adventure, and Events.
Grand Prize winner Sean Kukowski, who will receive a complimentary tour courtesy of HeliTahoe, may have said it best at the end of his e-mail that contained his lurid lightning image: “Hope everyone enjoys.” The Nevada Magazine staff sure did.
Title: “Reno Lightning”
Location: Sparks (looking toward Reno)
“Late last summer I was all but ready to go to sleep. I was closing the window shades when I saw a flash in the sky,” says the 24-year-old Kukowski, a Nevada resident for most of his life. “This storm took me by surprise. It had some of the most impressive lightning I have ever seen. I don’t have a lightning trigger, so I had to rely on a 30-second exposure and some luck. It took me three takes to get the shot I was after. I spent another 20 minutes shooting the storm before it stopped, but never came close to getting another shot like that.” Kukowski captured the split-second moment on a hillside off of State Route 445 (Pyramid Highway).
WINNER: CITY LIMITS
Tourist Tidbit: The entertainment capital’s newest resort, CityCenter, opened late last year and has become a photographer magnet. “CityCenter’s modern and even futuristic architecture is a joy to photograph,” Gerrard says. The complex features Aria Resort & Casino, Mandarin Oriental, Vdara Hotel & Spa, Crystals Retail & Entertainment, and Veer Towers—the latter fills the background of this photo. A 132-passenger tram connects CityCenter with the Monte Carlo to the south and the Bellagio to the north. More info: citycenter.com
RUNNER-UP: CITY LIMITS
Tourist Tidbit: The Las Vegas Strip is filled with iconic statues such as this one that rests in the large fountain display at Paris Las Vegas Hotel. “I like all the colors and angles [in the photo],” says Olds, who was visiting Las Vegas for the first time. “I tried to get the intensity of the statue with the soft subtle statues behind the water.” The best part of viewing these fascinating figures that are so prevalent in Las Vegas? It’s usually free of charge. More info: parislasvegas.com
WINNER: WIDE OPEN
Tourist Tidbit: This image was taken in March 2008 from the scenic overlook on Mount Rose Highway (State Route 431), just above Incline Village. The 25-mile drive on S.R. 431, connecting Reno and Incline Village, is a State Scenic Byway known for its splendid views of Lake Tahoe, the Truckee Meadows, and Washoe Valley. More info: byways.org, ivgid.org
RUNNER-UP: WIDE OPEN
Tourist Tidbit: This surreal scene “took place after a crazy sand storm and a downpour of rain,” Turner says. This area north of Reno is known worldwide as the setting for the annual summer gathering, Burning Man. The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area is a unique combination of desert playas, narrow canyons, and mountainous areas. Tread carefully, as this is a land of extremes that should not be underestimated. More info: blackrockdesert.org
Tourist Tidbit: Hidden Beach is located within Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. “The narrow sands and large granite boulders of Hidden Beach are popular with local sunbathers and swimmers,” reads the Nevada State Parks website. More info: parks.nv.gov/lt.htm. Stand-up paddle surfing, an emerging global sport with Hawaiian roots, is popular on everything from ocean waves to calmer inland waters such as Lake Tahoe.
Tourist Tidbit: “Summer fun is in the sand for this rider,” Esplin says. Jiggs is an unincorporated community located on State Route 228, south of Elko.
Tourist Tidbit: Len was the patriarch of the Overland Ranch, a Nevada Centennial Ranch in Ruby Valley (southeast of Elko), which has been owned by the Wines family since 1873. “I was fortunate to have photographed a branding at the ranch, and Len asked if I would photograph him branding one last calf,” Sargent says. “I did, and this was the look of delight on his face at having branded one more time. Len passed away shortly after this photograph was taken.” More info (about the Nevada Centennial Ranch program): nv.nrcs.usda.gov
Tourist Tidbit: Pat, the grandson of Len Wines (see previous photo), “represents to me the future of ranching in Nevada,” Sargent says. “This photograph was taken at the same branding as his grandfather’s photo.”
Tourist Tidbit: The Las Vegas Convention Center celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 2009. It hosts myriad conventions, such as the SHOT Show, where this dog entertained guests with its astounding leaping ability. In September and October alone, the LVCC hosts 14 conventions, expos, markets, and shows. The 2011 SHOT Show is scheduled for January 18-21 at Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. More info: lvcva.com, shotshow.org
Tourist Tidbit: This year’s Civil War Reenactment, October 30-31, will be held at the same location. The event is held annually in celebration of Nevada Day and hosted by the Southern Nevada Living History Association. More info: parks.nv.gov/smr.htm, snlha.org