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National Park Photo Contest Winners – 2016

Meet the top three 2016 winning photographers and hear how they were inspired to take their shots. Follow their example to take your own award-winning photos.

More than 3,000 photographs were submitted to the 2016 National Park Trips Photo Contest, almost double the amount of the previous year’s entries. Of these submissions, three 2016 winning photos were chosen to be featured in four editions of the National Park Journal, and 56 photos received an honorable mention online.

“It’s always incredibly difficult to choose the winner,” says Rob Wood, publisher of National Park Trips Media. “This year was by far the hardest.”

The top three photographers were awarded Tamron lenses and will be featured in the National Park Journals hitting news stands in late fall through spring. In addition, 56 honorable mention winners received certificates and are featured on our websites.

Grand Prize Winner – Wildlife

Kate Noll from Laureldale, PA – Awe-inspiring Natural Wonders Above and Below
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Kate Noll from Laureldale, PA – Awe-inspiring Natural Wonders Above and Below, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Kate Noll

Kathy Noll from Laureldale, Penn., captured an underwater encounter of a blacktip reef shark while a frigatebird soared overhead with a partially submerged lens at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

“The fact that she captured those two perspectives–that was the X factor. It was something we hadn’t seen before,” Wood says.

“I owe capturing the bird and shark together to good timing,” Noll says. “Animals rarely work with you when you’re photographing them. What you really need is luck, and a lot of patience.”

Noll got her start in photography as a child when she received her first disposable film camera but has become more passionate about it since she started traveling more frequently.

“When I’m not taking photos, my favorite thing to do is travel,” says Noll.

She was island-hopping and snorkeling in Hawaii when she managed to snap the incredible shot.

Noll will receive a Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD camera lens for her work. This long telephoto lens is great for portraits of animals and birds.

Runner Up – Night Skies

Phill Monson from Centerville, Utah – Toadstools and Lightning
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Phill Monson from Centerville, Utah – Toadstools and Lightning, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Phill Monson

First runner-up Phill Monson took his photo of lightning striking at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument after he was woken up by the sounds of thunder.

“As we were sleeping, probably around 3, 4 in the morning, we were woken up by this really intense thunderstorm that was right above us,” Monson says. “And [my friend and I] just looked at each other and said, ‘We’re here. We might as well go see what we can get.’”

Monson works in sales but became interested in photography in 2008 on a trip to Europe with his wife.

“I started getting out a bit more and buying more expensive stuff, and my wife was kind of scratching her head wondering what she got herself into here,” Monson says.

Tamron and National Park Trips Media awarded Monson with the Tamron SP 16-300mm DI II VC PZD Macro camera lens for capturing landscapes from wide to close up.

2nd Runner Up – Landscape

Sandeep Gali from Aurora, Illinois – Sunrise at T.A. Moulton’s Barn
Grand Teton National Park

Sandeep Gali from Aurora, Illinois – Sunrise at T.A. Moulton's Barn, Grand Teton National Park
Sandeep Gali

Sandeep Gali was the second runner-up with his photo of T.A. Moulton’s Barn and Teton range in the background. Gali had attempted to photograph the barn on his first night camping at the Tetons.

“I couldn’t get mine because the sun was setting behind the barn, so I decided to go early the next morning at 5 o’clock,” Gali says.

An IT engineer for United Airlines during the day, this was his first visit to a national park with his DSLR camera. Gali has always been interested in photography but only recently got a DSLR.

Tamron and National Park Trips Media awarded Monson with the Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD camera lens, a great choice for medium-to-long telephoto zoom ranges.

Honorable Mention – Landscape

Winners receive a certificate from Tamron and National Park Trips Media.

Dale Berlin from Dublin, Ohio - The La Sals, Arches National Park
The La Sals, Arches National Park
Dale Berlin

Kent Gubler from Frederick, Maryland - Calm Before the Next Rapid, Grand Canyon National Park
Calm Before the Next Rapid, Grand Canyon National Park
Kent Gubler

Alan Anderson from Whitefish, Montana - Hidden Lake Bear Grass View, Glacier National Park
Hidden Lake Bear Grass View, Glacier National Park
Alan Anderson

Timothy Klasinski from Chatham, Illinois - Autumn Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Autumn Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Timothy Klasinski

Gioacchino Rizzo from Vancouver, Washington - Bridge at Devils Punchbowl on Crescent Lake's Spruce Railroad Trail, Olympic National Park
Bridge at Devils Punchbowl on Crescent Lake’s Spruce Railroad Trail, Olympic National Park
Gioacchino Rizzo

Judi Kubes from Graham, Washington - Wildflower Explosion, Mount Rainier National Park
Wildflower Explosion, Mount Rainier National Park
Judi Kubes

Amy Novotny from Gilbert, Arizona - Badwater's Peaceful Mornings, Death Valley National Park
Badwater’s Peaceful Mornings, Death Valley National Park
Amy Novotny

Adam Jewell from Conshohocken, Pennsylvania - Sunrise Surprise on Fisher Cap Lake, Glacier National Park
Sunrise Surprise on Fishercap Lake, Glacier National Park
Adam Jewell

Baljinder Bathla from Chicago, Illinois - Early-morning Shot at Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier National Park
Early-morning Shot at Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier National Park
Baljinder Bathla

Kevin McQuade from Fenton, Missouri - Cub Lake Colors, Rocky Mountain National Park
Cub Lake Colors, Rocky Mountain National Park
Kevin McQuade

Rod Garren from Lone Tree, Colorado - Spring Sunset, Hovenweep National Monument
Spring Sunset, Hovenweep National Monument
Rod Garren

Nick McDowell from Chicago, Illinois - Trail of the Cedars, Glacier National Park
Trail of the Cedars, Glacier National Park
Nick McDowell

Kyle Ford from Renton, Washington - Trail of Fire, Zion National Park
Trail of Fire, Zion National Park
Kyle Ford

Randall Bertrand from Hinesburg, Vermont - Autumn Glow at The Tarn, Acadia National Park
Autumn Glow at The Tarn, Acadia National Park
Randall Bertrand

Shelly Mullin from San Diego, California - Stairway to Heaven (Angels Landing), Zion National Park
Stairway to Heaven (Angels Landing), Zion National Park
Shelly Mullin

Honorable Mention – Wildlife

Winners receive a certificate from Tamron and National Park Trips Media.

Ron Havard from Cibolo, Texas - I See You (Grizzly Closeup), Yellowstone National Park
I See You (Grizzly Closeup), Yellowstone National Park
Ron Havard

Holly Fischer from El Dorado Hills, California - Beautiful Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Beautiful Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Holly Fischer

Kathee Johnson from Grand Lake, Colorado - Two Elk Play-fighting in a High-mountain Meadow, Rocky Mountain National Park
Two elk play-fighting in a high-mountain meadow, Rocky Mountain National Park
Kathee Johnson

Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn from Portland, Oregon - Shake, Shake, Shake (Beaver), Denali National Park and Preserve
EShake, Shake, Shake (Beaver), Denali National Park and Preserve
Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn

AJ Harrison from Solon, Iowa - Grizzly Focus (Salmon Catching), Katmai National Park and Preserve
Grizzly Focus (Salmon Catching), Katmai National Park and Preserve
AJ Harrison

Michael Hancock from Lutz, Florida - Bighorn Sheep, Badlands National Park
Bighorn Sheep, Badlands National Park
Michael Hancock

Kevin Coellen from La Grange, Illinois - Alligator Life, Everglades National Park
Alligator Life, Everglades National Park
Kevin Coellen

Athena Burns from Arvada, Colorado - The Battle Between Bison in Winter, Yellowstone National Park
The Battle Between Bison in Winter, Yellowstone National Park
Athena Burns

Javier Mateo from Glendale, California - Magnificent Bison Walking Along the Road at Sunrise in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park
Magnificent Bison Walking Along the Road at Sunrise in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park
Javier Mateo

Kym Bartlett from Madeira Beach, Florida - Bison Peeking Through the Grass, Yellowstone National Park
Bison Peeking Through the Grass, Yellowstone National Park
Kym Bartlett

Angela Hoffman from West Fargo, North Dakota - Dusky Grouse at Dusk on Signal Mountain, Grand Teton National Park
Dusky Grouse at Dusk on Signal Mountain, Grand Teton National Park
Angela Hoffman

Tom Luhmann from Loveland, Colorado - Mother and Daughter Moose, Rocky Mountain National Park
Mother and Daughter Moose, Rocky Mountain National Park
Tom Luhmann

Jennifer O'Dell from Tuscola, Texas - Grizzly Bouquet off of Beartooth Highway, Yellowstone National Park
Grizzly Bouquet off of Beartooth Highway, Yellowstone National Park
Jennifer O’Dell

Robert Klusaw from Glenn's Ferry, Idaho - Mothers Love (Elk Nuzzling Calf), Yellowstone National Park
Mothers Love (Elk Nuzzling Calf), Yellowstone National Park
Robert Klusaw

George Krezinski from Austin, Texas - 'Bob' the Otter (Name Provided by My Granddaughter) at Willow Flats, Grand Teton National Park
‘Bob’ the Otter (Name Provided by My Granddaughter) at Willow Flats, Grand Teton National Park
George Krezinski

Brian Predmore from Cottonwood, Arizona - Mother Owl Protecting Her Young in the Coconino National Forest, Grand Canyon National Park
Mother Owl Protecting Her Young in the Coconino National Forest, Grand Canyon National Park
Brian Predmore

Tanya Hamner from Sheridan, Wyoming - Hanging On (Black Bear Cub in Tree), Yellowstone National Park
Hanging On (Black Bear Cub in Tree), Yellowstone National Park
Tanya Hamner

Emily Lester from Chattanooga, Tennessee - Moose crossing the Madison River, Yellowstone National Park
Moose crossing the Madison River, Yellowstone National Park
Emily Lester

Jessica Lee from Brentwood, Tennessee - Bull Elk, Yellowstone National Park
Bull Elk, Yellowstone National Park
Jessica Lee

Steve Muller from Kalispell, Montana - Goat Kid Sewing his Oats on Lincoln Pass, Glacier National Park
Goat Kid Sewing his Oats on Lincoln Pass, Glacier National Park
Steve Muller

Bary Burns from Rotonda West, Florida - Pelican on an Evening Cruise, Channel Islands National Park
Pelican on an Evening Cruise, Channel Islands National Park
Bary Burns

Honorable Mention – Night Skies

Winners receive a certificate from Tamron and National Park Trips Media.

Jose Torres from Mulberry, Florida - Could not have asked for a better night sky than this!, Badlands National Park
Could not have asked for a better night sky than this!, Badlands National Park
Jose Torres

Doug Croft from San Jose, California - White Cascade Under the Stars, Yosemite National Park
White Cascade Under the Stars, Yosemite National Park
Doug Croft

Cheryl Opfer from Gillette, Wyoming - Milky Way and Shooting Stars Over the Tower, Devils Tower National Monument
Milky Way and Shooting Stars Over the Tower, Devils Tower National Monument
Cheryl Opfer

Tony Prince from San Juan Capistrano, California - Arch Rock's Shape Nearly Matches the Rising Milky Way, Joshua Tree National Park
Arch Rock’s Shape Nearly Matches the Rising Milky Way, Joshua Tree National Park
Tony Prince

Kenny Chu from Temple City, California - Time Catcher (Star Trails), Joshua Tree National Park
Time Catcher (Star Trails), Joshua Tree National Park
Kenny Chu

David Yoder from Iowa City, Iowa - Midnight Moment, Mesa Verde National Park
Midnight Moment, Mesa Verde National Park
David Yoder

Derek Sturman from Springville, Utah - Rock Arch and the Milky Way Galaxy, Joshua Tree National Park
Rock Arch and the Milky Way Galaxy, Joshua Tree National Park
Derek Sturman

Kristopher Schoenleber from Princeton, New Jersey - From the Boards in the Meadow with Yosemite Falls and the Star-filled Night Sky as a Backdrop,…
From the Boards in the Meadow with Yosemite Falls and the Star-filled Night Sky as a Backdrop, Yosemite National Park
Kristopher Schoenleber

Vaqas Malik from Vancouver, Washington - Comforts Away from Home, Mount Rainer National Park
Comforts Away from Home, Mount Rainer National Park
Vaqas Malik

Honorable Mention – People

Winners receive a certificate from Tamron and National Park Trips Media.

Russell Smith from Los Angeles, Califonia - Hiking through the Garden of Eden, Sequoia National Park
Hiking through the Garden of Eden, Sequoia National Park
Russell Smith

Debbie Schwartznau from Frenchtown, Montana - Grinnell Point Sunrise with Photographer, Glacier National Park
Grinnell Point Sunrise with Photographer, Glacier National Park
Debbie Schwartznau

Bryan Egner from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - A Daily Routine (Pack Mule-train), Grand Canyon National Park
A Daily Routine (Pack Mule-train), Grand Canyon National Park
Bryan Egner

Greg Thornwall from Boonsboro, Maryland - Climbing the Ladder, Mesa Verde National Park
Climbing the Ladder, Mesa Verde National Park
Greg Thornwall

Bob Oehlman from Irvine, California - The Next Generation of National Park Lovers, Admirers, and Protectors, Glacier National Park
The Next Generation of National Park Lovers, Admirers, and Protectors, Glacier National Park
Bob Oehlman

Amelia Merrick from Seattle, Washington - Mt. Washington at Sunrise, Olympic National Park
Mt. Washington at Sunrise, Olympic National Park
Amelia Merrick

Chrissy Ray from Phoenix, Arizona - Freedom (Boy with Flag at Sunset), Grand Canyon National Park
Freedom (Boy with Flag at Sunset), Grand Canyon National Park
Chrissy Ray

Casey Wieber from Templeton, California - Explorer at Skull Cave, Lava Beds National Monument
Explorer at Skull Cave, Lava Beds National Monument
Casey Wieber

Robert Miller from Lynchburg, Virginia - Biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway (National scenic road managed by the National Park Service)
Biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway (National scenic road managed by the National Park Service)
Robert Miller

Chiayi Wei from Wichita, Kansas - Kayaking at Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park
Kayaking at Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park
Chiayi Wei

Dipti Samant from Boston, Massachusetts - Hiker at False Kiva, Canyonlands National Park
Hiker at False Kiva, Canyonlands National Park
Dipti Samant

See the 2015 National Park Photo Contest Winners