Nevada means home to each and everyone one of us in different ways, which is why it was a spectacular, albeit challenging, task selecting our favorites for this year’s picture hunt. We received more than 1,200 photographs, each expressing a distinct and brilliant facet of the Silver State. We want to thank everyone who submitted photography, and congratulate the winners of the 2017 Great Nevada Picture Hunt. Here are some of the reasons why home means Nevada to the winners of the 2017 hunt, in their own words.


1st Place – B.C. Collins

“I had been thinking about a shot like this for about a year before I took it. On the night of the super moon, I managed to talk my brother, Justin, into coming out to model for me, bringing along his dog, Boomer. We took this shot at Shadow Mountain Sports Complex in Sparks. It required quite a bit of planning. I set up about 300 yards away in the baseball field. My brother, Justin, was on top of Shadow Mountain. We communicated through our phones, using our earpieces. Our dad is a rancher in White Pine County, so I thought that a cowboy-themed shot would be something he would get a kick out of. He loved it.”

Camera: Nikon D7200

Lens: Sigma 150-600c f/5-6.3 Aperture: f/7.1

Shutter Speed: 1/125 ISO: 250

Prize: Entry to the 2018 Nevada Northern Railway Winter Steam Photo Shoot Spectacular. Includes complimentary accommodations for three nights at the Ramada Copper Queen in Ely.


2nd Place – Rajesh Raghunathan

“The picture was taken at Huffaker Hills in south Reno. I generally have my phone in my car, and I took it with me because I decided not to run that day. The clouds were beautiful and I have always liked shooting the clouds. I think they give the sky a nice personality.

When I saw the horizon turning color, I thought it’d be a great sunset. I sat behind the foxtails to see if I could focus on them and capture the sunset in the background and that is how that picture came to fruition.”

Camera: Samsung SM-G900P Aperture: f/2.2

Shutter Speed: 1/1980 ISO: 40

Prize: Entry to the 2018 Eagles & Agriculture event in the Carson Valley, sponsored by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce. Includes tours, Falconer’s Dinner, and photography workshop, plus complimentary accommodations for two nights at the Carson Valley Inn.


3rd Place – Lee Molof

“This image was taken in February 2016. I was by myself driving back from Carson City to Reno, noticed the great sky and decided to take old Highway 395 and stop at the Twaddle-Pedroli Ranch. It is a five shot HDR, processed in Photomatix and Adobe Lightroom. The clouds just got more dramatic the longer I was there. If I remember cor- rectly, the particular shots making up this image were taken as I was walking back to my SUV to leave.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Lens: Canon 24-70 2.8L at 24 mm

Prize: Entry to the 2018 Shooting the West Symposium in Winnemucca, a $145 value, with a $200 credit to attend workshops.


4th Place – Kurt Molnar

“I wanted to find a way to communicate the human element that exists out there amidst the incredible artwork, the massive party culture, and the endless dust. In this case, it was a tender moment between two people who had actually met at Burning Man the year before in 2014. The couple had gotten engaged the night before, so the image I made for them that morning became their engagement photo. I wanted them to have an image that visually told their unique story and the context of how Burning Man had brought them together. I think I got it. I sent them the shot and they loved it. That was the best prize of all.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Lens: EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II USM

Aperture: f/25 Shutter Speed: 1/320 ISO: 320

Prize: $100 gift certificate to Nevada Fine Arts in Reno.


5th Place – Neil Lockhart

“This shot was taken near Lake Tahoe and is made up of multiple vertical stitched photos. Though all the shots were taken from the same location, I shot the tree and the sky separately to give me better control of the depth of field as well as offering me the option to use brighter light on the tree than was available in the sky. The tree was lit with a single gelled speedlight and one flashlight for the rim light. Though I arrived at 3 a.m., by the time I had shot all the pieces needed it was starting to get light. Next time I’ll start earlier!”

Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Multiple Exposures

Prize: $100 gift certificate to Nevada Fine Arts in Reno.


The following photos represent what we call “Also AWESOME!” at reminding us that home means Nevada. Each photographer in this section will receive gift certificates for Gordon’s Photo Service and Home Means Nevada® clothing.


James Marvin Phelps

Photographer James Marvin Phelps took this photo of Fremont Street in Las Vegas in 2016 during “blue hour.” “I had to make sev- eral attempts to get just the look I wanted with the car lights,” he says.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Aperture: f/22

Shutter Speed: 8 seconds ISO: 100


Ben Kuhns

“If you’re looking to capture all the visual drama of a working steam railroad, visit in the winter. The cold temperatures make the steam and smoke extra visible. This image was taken during the Nevada Northern Railway Winter Steam Photo Shoot Spectacular. After trying some tighter crops of the two locomotives, I realized that the better image was having them together in one composition.”

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8

@112mm Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/500 ISO: 200


Janis Knight

“A welcomed series of April 2017 storms brought rain and the occasional fiery sunset to northern Nevada. This was photographed from the Sparks foothills. To prevent the image from blowing out, I underexposed the scene and then brought out shadows and clarity with the adjustment brush in Adobe Lightroom.”

Camera: Nikon D810 Lens: Sigma 50-500 lens

Aperture: f/11

Shutter Speed: 1/5

ISO: 200


Michael Herb

“We had set out to take advantage of the clouds and get some stunning landscapes. Traveling about 60 mph, we passed a group of people roping cows. The sun was to their backs and the dust from the horses was creating a volumetric lighting wonderland. The golden rays were clearly visible through the dust. Suffice to say the brakes were abruptly engaged and we left the landscapes for another day.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon 70-200 f/2.8 MK1 @ 108mm Aperture: f/8.0

Shutter Speed: 1/800 ISO: 200


Liz Huntington

“This photograph was taken in January 2017 in Virginia City. I had it on my bucket list to hike up Mt. Davidson and get a winter snow photograph. On this day, the snow was just right, the fluffy type of snow that made a soft layer on trees and homes, and I knew this was my chance. Not much later in the winter the snow became so frequent and heavy that I was no longer able to access the area where this was taken.”

Camera: Canon EOS REBEL SL1 Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm

Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/1600

ISO: 100


Jim Berryman-Shafer

“At the Numaga Powwow in Hungry Valley, we had set up a portable studio to take photos of dancers to record their regalia, especially those who are older. When we were not doing photos in our “studio” we went and photographed the dancers. Numaga is one of many powwows in the local area and one of our favorites.”

Camera: Nikon D7200

Lens: 70-200 mm

Aperture: f/3.5

Shutter Speed: 1/125


Robert Petersen

“The Raw image capture was edited with Adobe Photoshop and NIK Filters to achieve what I saw and felt at the time I captured the image. The birds are from an earlier image I captured during the many images I made that morning. This image was made at 7 a.m. I always feel that the light and shadows and even the air is most beautiful before 8 a.m. Also, a good pair of rubber boots helps one trudge through the mud to position the camera to capture the magic moment.”

Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Lens: 24-70mm Canon L


B.C. Collins

“Like a lot of other photographers, I make mental notes of places I can get to quick if I think the sunset is going to be awesome. I had taken a mental note of the fence with the tire tracks passing through a few months before. The conditions were setting up great, so I headed to the spot I had in mind. I could not have asked for a better sunset. I really liked the composition, but I really got excited when I realized I could line up the Reno skyline through the fence!”

Camera: Camera: Nikon D750 Lens: Nikon 24-120 f/4 Aperture: f/11

Shutter Speed: 1/15 ISO: 100


Michael Horsley

“This image was taken at the Marble Bluff Dam on the Truckee River. With the great water year we had, I suspected it would be an amazing spot for the pelicans this year. I set up above the river in a spot where I hoped the wa- terfall would be in the background. A fair number circled around toward me as they got close to the falls, allowing me to get shots of them with the falls in the background.”

Camera: Nikon D500 Lens: Nikon 500 mm Aperture: f/8

Shutter Speed: 1/2000 ISO: 125


Chip Carroon

“The picture was taken at night, but at a time when the sky was not totally dark, as evidenced by the yellow light on the horizon. The long exposure renders the sky lighter than it would have personally appeared.”

Camera: Nikon D800E Lens: 14-24 mm

Aperture: f/2.8

Shutter Speed: 13

ISO: 3200


Jeff Sullivan

“In May 2015, a storm passed my home at Topaz Lake, and I decided to chase it east into Smith Valley. I didn’t catch up with it there; it continued over the next set of mountains to Mason Valley south of Yerington. I headed through Wilson Canyon, ending up in the Cambridge Hills as the skies cleared toward the setting sun and sunset color spread under the storm clouds.”

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L IS II USM Aperture: f/16

Shutter Speed: 4/10 ISO: 160


James Marvin Phelps

As with James Marvin Phelps’ photograph of Fremont Street in Las Vegas, this image of the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah was captured during what photographers call blue hour—a period of time in the twilight of dawn and dusk in which images appear blue.

Camera: Canon 5D Mark II Aperture: f/22

Shutter Speed: 8 seconds ISO: 50


Jackie Gorton

“The floodwaters from the Carson River subsided, leaving this large puddle behind at the Anker Ranch. After helping their parents feed orphaned calves, Tucker, in the lead, and younger brother, Tanner, couldn’t resist doing what boys do. The reflections caught my eye, so I aimed their direction and was able to get a couple of photos of the next generation of Ne- vada ranchers before they realized they were being watched.”

Camera: Nikon D610 Lens: Nikkor 28-300 Aperture: f/11

Shutter Speed: 1/500


Melissa Knight

“Surprise moments make me smile. On this day, in January 2017, right after it had snowed, I took a drive to South Reno. As I was rounding a corner, I saw these four standing up there on a high ridge, far away. I realized, they had just turned a basic snowy landscape into a beau- tiful scene. Nevada seems to always offer us a surprise moment upon every turn we take.”

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Aperture: f/18 Shutter Speed: 1/400 ISO: 500


Gretchen Baker

“I took this photo during a family backpacking trip to The Table in the Mount Moriah Wilderness. When we went to bed, clouds covered most of the sky, and I didn’t have high hopes for night sky photography. But I woke up in the middle of the night, and most of the clouds had cleared. I got up and wandered the majestic setting, taking photos from various vantage points. This bristlecone pine tree really caught my eye. I tried different shots so I could highlight the Milky Way in the background and used a muted headlamp to put a little light on the tree. The background glow is from Ely.”

Camera: Canon T3I Lens: Tokina 11-16 mm Aperture: f/2.8

Shutter Speed: 25 seconds ISO: 3200

Nevada Magazine has been holding its Great Nevada Picture Hunt for 40 years. In celebration of this accomplishment, we have chosen 40 photographers to be featured on a limited-edition 24” x 36” poster showcasing the state in the most beautiful way we know how— photographically. The poster will be available for pre-sales starting Sept. 1, and will begin shipping out in November. Each one will list the photographer’s name and location of the photo. If you are interested in purchasing any photos from this year’s Great Nevada Picture Hunt, either the main contest or the poster contest, please contact Art Director Kippy Spilker at [email protected], and she will put you in touch with the photographer. Each poster will cost $10 + S/H, and we expect it to sell out quickly. To order this poster, please visit or call 855-729-7117.

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