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First Place Landscape Winner - NWF
  
 
Steve Perry
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p.1 #1 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Hey everyone -

It's been awhile since I posted over here (been doing more critters than landscapes), but I wanted to share this photo with you. It just won 1st place in the Landscape category in the 2013 National Wildlife Federation's 2013 Photo Contest! There was a total of 32,000 images submitted, so I'm pretty excited about it

You can see this and the rest of the winning entries here:

http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/PhotoZone/Archives/2013/2013-NW-Photo-Contest-Winners.aspx

I'll put the back story below.







Edited on Nov 21, 2013 at 07:45 PM · View previous versions



Nov 20, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #2 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Man this shot beat me up!

It started off easy enough, just some pleasant scouting one fall afternoon. I really liked the way everything looked and, hey, what-do-ya-know, the next day a gale was predicted

Well, I can’t resist that, so the following day I come for some sweet sunset light. Unfortunately, the great light I was hoping for never made an appearance, but there were some nice waves and ominous clouds hanging in the sky. I was actually pretty happy with the shot…

However…

Couldn’t help but notice…

Just kind of occurred to me…

The wind was forecast to shift overnight and that should make for better waves…

AND…

The sun just so happens to come up in a good area compositionally.

Hmm…

Now, the decision had to be made – do I drive back to the hotel (an hour away), then drive BACK before dawn the next morning to try again – when I already had a good shot?

Well, I can’t live with myself knowing that I might be passing up a great photo, so back up I drove early the next morning.

Oh – and yeah, it had snowed overnight and the roads were covered, so I needed to leave even earlier (2 hours before dawn). It was painfully slow going (the clock constantly working against me towards sunrise) and there was an occasional snow squall to remind me that I was still in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I finally made it to the lighthouse and started shooting shortly before dawn. The wind was amazingly strong (the gale had gotten a bit more ambitious overnight) and I had to keep a hand on my tripod at all times or it would be swept over the ledge to a rocky, aquatic grave. (Actually, I had to watch my footing as well, the wind seemed determined to blow ME over the ledge too!)

At this point, a vicious rain / snow mix had started – blowing horizontally across my exposed position on the ledge. It was all I could do to keep the camera dry enough to shoot as my jacket and clothes snapped with the wind. The only glimmer of luck was the wind was square to my back.

About 10-15 minutes or so after sunrise, this photo happened. The sky, only for a few moments, lit up with this eerie looking light. It was over in just a few minutes but it was enough to make this image – and to make me smile with my big, stupid, “I just got a good photo” grin.

I lingered there for a bit – you never know what might happen with the light. About 30 minutes after sunrise someone else showed up and quickly took a snapshot from a more protected location, looked at me like I was a nut job, and scurried away. Hey, other than that I had the place to myself

It was then I noticed the back of my legs were really stinging. I looked around and oops – the back of my pants were totally soaked from the rain and snow. With the wind whipping at near 40MPH, the temps in the upper 20s (no clue about the windchill – I don’t wanna know), I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise that my legs were gonna start hurting from the bitter cold.

I stayed another 10 minutes or so (by this time it I had been out for over an hour), and finally called it done. I was soaked, cold, and NOT looking forward to the 5 hour drive ahead of me, but man, WHAT A MORNING!




Nov 20, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Matt Anderson
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p.1 #3 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Chicken dinner !!!!

How many exposures ?



Nov 20, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Kee Woo Rhee
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p.1 #4 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Dang! Steve, it's gorgeous! I love the story as much as the "1st place winner shot!".
I noticed that the shot was taken on October 6th, 2012.. and it already snowed there northern Michigan?
Incredible shot, and much CONGRATULATIONS! I am very proud of you.
Question. "Did you pack the eyeliner in your backpack?" - :-)




Nov 21, 2013 at 12:06 AM
naturesmoments
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p.1 #5 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congratulations on your win Steve!!!! An absolute stunner of an image!!!




Nov 21, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Jeffrey
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p.1 #6 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congrats, Steve, and very nice imaging.

My nits: I wish the lighthouse was actually vertical. It's the only indication of wide angle distortion. A crop off the left would really help the comp and make the structure more prominent and not so off to the right. And, clone out those annoying branches on the right side.



Nov 21, 2013 at 01:24 AM
ckcarr
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p.1 #7 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congratulations Steve!
Well deserved and what we come to expect from you!

And I was impressed with your coyote popping up on the daily Earth Shots feed...



Nov 21, 2013 at 01:25 AM
dbehrens
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p.1 #8 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Top pic out of 32,000 is quite a feat! I remember seeing this pic earlier this year. Congratulations!

Dave



Nov 21, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Howard Snyder
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p.1 #9 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Wow, well done Steve! Congrats!!!


Nov 21, 2013 at 02:00 AM
roguecoolman
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p.1 #10 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Wow steve,

Congrats on winning! it's a stunning photo for sure. I just love the drama and the sweet light. It's definitely worth all the pain you had to go through


Jason



Nov 21, 2013 at 02:25 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Steve Perry
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p.1 #11 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Thanks so much for the kind words everyone

@ Matt - Thanks - only 2 - and I now that I'm more familiar with the D800, I think I could have probably pulled it off in one.

@Kee - Thanks - Yeah, it snows there early for sure - the snow was really wet and the trees on my way to Munising that day were all covered - it was pretty amazing. Didn't get much up by the lighthouse.

@Naturesmoments - Thanks

@Jeffery - Thanks - Actually, I had played with a couple crops and liked this one best- I didn't want to lose the rainstorm in the background. I did try to straighten the lighthouse, but didn't like how much it killed the sharpness. I might have to visit those branches some day though - when I'm better at cloning

@Craig - Thanks! And I'm glad you liked the 'yote too - I was THRILLED to get that shot. I'll probably be posting some wildlife over in the nature forum soon.

@Dave - Thanks! It was 32,000, but it was across 8 categories - I'm still thrilled to get the nod.

@Howard - Thanks!!

@Jason - Thanks - The "pain" was actually fun for me - I love being out in the weather (as long as I can come into a warm truck, sleeping bag, or camper room afterward )




Nov 21, 2013 at 02:53 AM
AMaji
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p.1 #12 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congratulations!!! A superb image and you should be proud


Nov 21, 2013 at 03:02 AM
mspencer1
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p.1 #13 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congratulations! Stunning photo and great story.


Nov 21, 2013 at 03:41 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #14 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congrats Steve! Very very nice and definitely a hanger


Nov 21, 2013 at 05:40 AM
JimFox
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p.1 #15 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Hey Steve,

What a super cool shot here. Man, that is some sweet light and I sure like the look of the water, well the whole thing looks pretty sweet. Congrats on winning too, that's a lot of people entering, so I know it sure feels good!

As for getting soaked... For that you have no excuse.... .... Myself I carry my rain gear that I have for backpacking (legs and Jacket) rolled up nice and small with me no matter where I go. They are super light weight, and even if it's not raining, they help provide extra warmth and are great for those times when the temp gets a bit colder than expected you can through the pants or jacket on as needed. To me, they are an essential part of my camera gear.

Jim



Nov 21, 2013 at 06:22 AM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #16 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Thanks again for all the kind words

@Jim - Thanks - and... Actually, the jacket I was wearing was waterproof - it was just wet when I put it in the back of the truck to dry. It's the pants where I had a major fail on my part. I have a pair of Northface rain pants that I slip on over my regular pants - but when I arrived it had stopped raining / snowing, so I foolishly didn't bother to put those pants on - grade A stupid - I've been in the UP enough to know better. So, yup, I got soaked.

Confession - And, alas, that's not the first time something like that has happened either

Edited on Nov 21, 2013 at 02:32 PM · View previous versions



Nov 21, 2013 at 01:54 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #17 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congratulations, Steve. I recognized that image as special when you posted the first version of it, and I'm glad to see it getting well-deserved wider recognition.

Dave



Nov 21, 2013 at 02:09 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #18 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


congrats.
I remember your image as well when you first posted it.
Very nice.

David



Nov 21, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #19 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Fabulous shot Steve A huge congrats on your winning image and it wasn't a simple snapshot that is for sure!

At first look it locked me in with a great feel of the impending weather, love the richness in color the hard and soft textures of water and rock. Such a nice draw to the eye starting low and following the water to the light and catching the lighthouse along the way

Excellent sir!
Karl



Nov 21, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Justin Grimm
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p.1 #20 · First Place Landscape Winner - NWF


Congrats Steve, great shot! Definitely a lot of action and great light to take in.

Not like it matters now since you already won all the things , but it looks like you accidentally moved an adjustment layer a bit off center. There is a hard edge above the left rock, and near the bottom in the water that might be worth fixing or cropping out for print.



Nov 21, 2013 at 04:21 PM
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