National Park Trips received 2,700 spectacular photo entries to the annual National Park Photo Contest presented by Tamron. It was a difficult task to choose the 2022 winning photos because of the high quality of entries, but the judges have selected this year’s top photos. The best photography in each category, Landscape, Night Skies and Wildlife, was awarded a Tamron camera lens including a 150-500mm, 150-600mm or a Tamron All-In-One Lens, and is featured in the National Park Journal magazine.
In addition, 30 honorable mention winners receive certificates and are featured on our national park websites.
From shooting through a snowstorm in Yosemite to getting up early for sunrise in Grand Teton and exploring the darkness of Canyonlands backcountry, our 2022 National Park Photo Contest winners all had to share one thing in common in getting their spectacular shots: a sense of adventure.
Landscape Photography Winner
Randy K. Habel from Fenton, Missouri
Grand Teton National Park
The day started well before sunrise. My camera equipment was cleaned and batteries charged the night before, and put into a smaller carry-bag along with a tripod. Since it was still dark when I arrived at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, I put on a headlamp. This allowed both hands to be free for the steep and rocky downhill trek to the shoreline. After that, it was set up and wait for the sun to come up. Mother Nature did not disappoint. She presented a gorgeous sunrise! I was able to capture it from the first hint of orange on the peaks.
Randy’s prize choice: Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 (Model A022) for Canon DSLR cameras, ARV: $1399
Wildlife Photography Winner
David Yunker from Pataskala, Ohio
Yosemite National Park
My wife, Sue, and I, love national parks. We have seen 24 of them! We were actually photographing a waterfall and the weather wasn’t cooperating. Sue happened to notice earlier that there was some osprey activity nearby. We found the subject matter and were fortunate to have about 3 minutes to get the shot. The light snowfall added a dramatic touch to the photo.
David’s prize choice: Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 (Model A022) for Canon DSLR cameras, ARV: $1399
Night Skies Photography Winner
Josephine Fox from St. Louis, Missouri
Canyonlands National Park
My husband and I spent a long weekend in Utah’s canyon county this spring. We hiked to this spot from our campsite late one afternoon. Once I realized the arch opening aligned with the Milky Way, I knew I had to come back at night. I woke up at 2 a.m. to hike back to the location, relying on my GPS and husband’s high-powered flashlight to navigate the darkness. Once I arrived, I set up my camera and waited for the Milky Way to be in the perfect position.
Landscape Honorable Mentions
2022 Honorable Mention Landscape Photos by David Connel, XiaoYing Shi, Isabel Guerra Clark, Brian Boyd, Jose Torres, Craig Bill, Bethany Kamman, Rajani Ramanathan, Moinul Mahdi and Ronald Callaghan.
Toroweap – one of the best views in the solar system! This an area of the Grand Canyon that I have longed to visit. It is not like your usual visit to the Grand Canyon. Toroweap is on the north side of the canyon where it narrows enough to corral the Colorado River beneath 3000 foot cliffs – and where the the larger of the canyon rapids lay below: Lava Falls. On the more familiar south side, you generally see a vast expanse of canyon terrace landscape – and usually you can’t see the river at all. Toroweap, however, is more difficult to get to. You must take a 61 mile dirt road and arrive at a destination that is beautifully non-commercial. No gift shops, no rails and walkways, no hotels, no restaurants, and no lawyers. If you were so inclined, you could just walk right off the edge!
I wanted a little different shot of this overlook. What did that mean? It meant that I scaled down part of the cliffs where some other photographers refused not try – and advised that I should not go. That just made me think that there was a good photograph hiding. It was getting dark, but this was the time of day that I needed for this shot – sunset. I just hoped that the darkening climb back up would not make me regret the “portents of doom” from other on-lookers. Yeah, it scared the hell out of me. “Canyon Dreams” is one of the last late day images of Toroweap looking West. I love how the depth of the canyon is showcased as the last rays of the setting sun warm the cliffs to the left. This image shows this grand vista from a little below the cliffs instead of the usual on-top-rim-shots where most photographs are made. I especially like the looming cliffs on the right side of the image and then the blazing sun lit cliffs on the other. This photo-poetically captures and conveys the enormous feel of the entire experience.
The Lake Superior Caves are spectacular, no matter the season. In summer, the vibrant sandstone cliffs are stunning, sandwiched between the emerald green forests and the sapphire blue lake. In winter, if old man winter wishes it and there is the perfect confluence of the right frost and wind conditions, the lake surface freezes over. These are not glacier ice caves but they appear to be so with the pillars of ice where waterfalls have hardened in place, with brilliant blue and sea green colors. It is a winter wonderland inside the caves where the water has formed icicles and the formations can change every day due to the vagaries of temperature and wind.
Wildlife Honorable Mentions
2022 Honorable Mention Wildlife Photos by Lauren Bunker, Randy Traynor, Jean Lyons, XiaoYing Shi, Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven, Darin Robison, Bethany Kamman, Randy Yost, Debra Duford and Darin Robison.
In the early morning at Grand Teton National Park, the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. At a moment’s notice, a moose leaped out of the jungle.
A bull moose smiles at the camera after performing the Flehmen response. The jagged ‘teeth’ showing is actually a combination of lower teeth and old gums. Moose have no upper teeth.
Annually in late May to early June, synchronous fireflies put on a show in the Smoky Mountains. I took this shot June 1 2022, on the Little River Trail in Elkmont in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Camera was Sony A7rIII 20mm f1.8 Sony lens at 2500 ISO 120 second exposure.
Night Skies Honorable Mentions
2022 Honorable Mention Night Skies Photos by Jose Torres, Abhik Mondal, Josephine Fox, Marcin Zajac, Bret Tate, John Vermette, Kayla Henry, Bruce Herwig, Randy Yost and Rajani Ramanathan.
From underneath the only waterfall in Bryce Canyon National Park – with the Milky Way as the cherry on top!
The sky had just opened up while on a hike to the east side of the Caledera. It was raining like crazy so I hiked back to the car and drove to Kīlauea overlook and captured this shot on my last night in the park. Sony A7rIII 20mm f1.8 lens 2500 ISO 10 second exposure.
I have visited Yosemite National park in California, USA several times over the years but never got around to visiting Tuolumne Meadows side of the park. Finally got a chance to do so and Tenaya Lake is such a fantastic location.
John Muir on Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite: “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
View the 2021 Winning Photos