Helena photographer Kevin League captured first place in the 12th annual Picture Wild Montana Photo Contest.
His winning photograph is titled “Quiet Contemplation at Holland Lake.” The Montana Wilderness Association sponsors the contest which had a theme of “The Joy of the Wild.”
The other top photo winners were:
• Second place: “Winter Play Under Lolo Pass” by Seth Orme of Missoula;
• Third place: “Tight Lines Under Dawn Mist Falls” by Bryan Dufresne of Hamilton;
• Honorable mention: “Small Elk Herd Framed by Snowy Trees” by Carol Fowler of Seeley Lake;
• Honorable mention: “Enjoying the Fall on Blodgett Canyon Trail” by Betsy Rogan of Stevensville.
Prizes for this year’s first- and second-place winners include gear from Montana-based MWA sponsors Mystery Ranch and Obōz Footwear. The third-place winner will receive swag from MWA, including apparel, a “Keep It Wild” water bottle, stickers, and more.
Submissions were judged by Luke Duran, art director at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ “Montana Outdoors” magazine. While great composition and skilled technique played a role in his decision, Duran says that it’s the sum of all the elements captured in League’s photo that makes it special.
“This is a technically masterful photo, with gorgeous composition, a compelling visual story, and lots of elements to gaze upon,” Duran said. “The image answers the call of the theme with a sort of quiet, contemplative joy — almost like a mediation in a natural, serene space.”
Since 2009, thousands of amateur and professional photographers from across the state have participated in the Picture Wild Montana Photo Contest. This year, more than 160 photographers submitted 600 photos.