2021 Park Pics Winners

 

Thank you to all the participants who made our first Park Pics contest a success! Enjoy the winning images below – and also the gallery of outstanding finalists! The next chance to win will be in the fall of 2022!

 

People’s Choice Award

Johanna! by Kiersten Tang

Johanna! by Kiersten Tang

About Kiersten Tang:
My name is Kiersten, and I am a sixth grader. My hobbies are photography (obviously) and drawing! I am a competitive swimmer and play the flute and piano. I like to play with my sister during my free time. My family also used to go camping every year before the pandemic!
Inspiration for photo:
 I felt that the scene nicely captures how people react when in nature. The log that my sister Johanna was sitting on has a natural “seat”, and was situated near the top of an incline. Johanna has Down syndrome, so the climb was not easy for her. After getting to the log, Johanna sat on the “seat” and was quite proud of herself. That was when I decided to capture her moment of achievement. I used my iPad to take the picture and tried to capture the rays of sunlight shining through the trees, almost like Johanna was in the spotlight, being recognized for her accomplishment. When out on hikes or camping, Johanna is overall more active, happier, and motivated to try harder things. I feel that this is true for anyone. This is why it is so important for us to respect and protect our parks and wilderness: they inspire people to do better.
Location: Huddart Park

 

Landscapes & Waterscapes

Up High On Alambique Trail With Morning Fog by Dominic Justewicz

Up High On Alambique Trail With Morning Fog by Dominic Justewicz

About Dominic Mark Justewicz:
Current role and profession: medical research director
Goals and aspirations: See the world that nature has given us!
Most impressive achievements: Assembling a professional career in California’s biotech industry: “FluMist” nasal spray vaccination for seasonal and pandemic influenza; construction of artificial organs by tissue engineering; development of focused cell therapy in the treatment of cancer.
Quirky fact about me: I have a twin brother – recently installed in Paris – who offers inspiration on architecture and landscapes!
Inspiration for photo:
‘Alambique’—as in the name of the trail (but one of several at Wunderlich Park)—is another word for serenity, quietness, and relaxation, and that is why I like to go out hiking early in the morning. Serendipity would have it that it’s also when the morning fog is dissipating with the rising sun in our part of “Alta California.” And so, it’s an important aspect of the subject matter captured in this photo. With more opportunities now later in my career, I like to take inspiration in photography of nature from Eliot Porter, the famous photographer, described by yet another master, Ansel Adams, as a “master of nature’s color.” As a medium, photography allows me to try to convey what I see as fine art with a smartphone! Simply, it’s a means of intimacy and contemplation with the outdoors. I’ve come to announce—to dear family and friends—this collection of remarkable moments each day: “Behold, I have returned from a hike!” Finally, one should not forget that, as with repeatedly watching a favorite movie, hiking a trail once is never enough.
Location: Wunderlich Park

 

Aspiring Photographer: Landscapes & Waterscapes

The Golden Hour by Charlotte Rosario

The Golden Hour by Charlotte Rosario

About Charlotte Rosario:
My name is Charlotte Rosario and I’m currently a Freshman at the Nueva School. Recently, I started the Community Photobooth, a youth-led initiative on a mission to raise money and awareness for local nonprofits and important causes through photoshoots. Every summer, I hold a Photoshoot-Fundraiser to support an important cause in my community. Most recently, this was raising money for wildfire prevention efforts. By using positive social entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity, I enjoy getting involved in my community. Other than photography, I am passionate about environmental engineering, robotics, and running cross country. If someone were to peer into my life, they would most likely find me sticking post it notes on my wall of all my ideas for things I want to invent, purposefully getting lost on my runs in local parks, and listening to podcasts.
Inspiration for photo:
I believe photography goes beyond just a photo. Photography is the act of telling a story; it has the power of spreading awareness, showing the objective truth, or passing on emotion from one person to another. A good photo is able to transport you to the exact moment it was taken, so that you sense the same breeze that danced past the photographer and feel the same glowing sun warm your skin as if you were standing there in that very place at that very moment. Clicking the shutter button was my way of preserving my beautiful experience standing at Pillar Point Bluff, watching the ethereal golden sunset. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if society lacked the technology to practice this form of magic also known as photography. Because, as I was clutching tightly to my Nikon DSLR camera and the sun slowly set into the ocean, I felt such an intense passion to capture the scene perfectly. I clicked away, capturing hundreds of photos of that moment, all to narrow it down to one. I want to share this one, the Golden Hour, with you.
Location: Pillar Point Bluff

 

Up Close with Nature

Pileated Woodpecker by Selwyn Quan

Pileated Woodpecker by Selwyn Quan

About Selwyn Quan: 
An expatriate South African now living in the Bay Area who is interested in nature, biodiversity, and photography (wildlife and macrophotography). I am a big fan of documenting and learning from iNaturalist, where these hobbies intersect with an added social twist. Chance encounters on this site with fellow iNaturalist and leading experts in the field have led to some interesting discoveries. I also post pictures occasionally to Instagram @bayareanaturephotography.
Inspiration for photo:
As a new birder, the Pileated woodpecker, North America’s largest woodpecker, has been on my radar of birds to see in the Bay Area. This past summer camping at Memorial Park presented me with a golden opportunity to see one, since I knew they were found at higher elevation along the Santa Cruz mountains. Just before sunrise the first morning camping, the loud drumming of a Pileated woodpecker reverberated through the campsite. I followed the drumming around the campsite but was never able to get even a glimpse of the woodpecker. This hide-and-seek would continue the following day and the next two camping trips to Memorial Park. On the last day of entry to the Park Pics contest, I had no picture to submit and had given up on seeing the Pileated woodpecker. I was at Memorial Park again, birding next to the creek when I glanced up and saw a large bird on a nearby wooden post. It was the Pileated woodpecker less than ten meters away. It jumped from post to tree stump and onto a fallen tree where I was able to watch for at least thirty minutes; truly a magical moment for me!
Location: Memorial Park

 

Aspiring Photographer: Up Close with Nature

Falcon Food Exchange by Parham Pourahmad

Falcon Food Exchange by Parham Pourahmad

About Parham Pourahmad:
I am an 11-year-old bird photographer. I enjoy photographing birds and other wildlife. I live in Santa Clara County but occasionally go up to San Mateo. Some of my favorite things to photograph are great horned owls, peregrine falcons and coyotes.
Inspiration for photo:
In early December, I visited Devil’s Slide Trail in Pacifica. I was thrilled to see a peregrine falcon there, but I didn’t get any photos. In early June, we revisited the place. This time, the peregrines were very active, exchanging food and diving at gulls. I caught this photo as a young falcon reached for food from its mom. This was my favorite photo of the burst, and I was thrilled to get it.
Location: Devil’s Slide Trail

 

People in Parks

Sunday with the Elders by Caroline Day

Sunday with the Elders by Caroline Day

About Caroline Day:
I am lucky enough to have grown up in the Santa Cruz mountain area, and currently live in La Honda. I try to walk in nature every day, and most weekends finds my family and I enjoying a local beach or park. Memorial Park is our favorite, and I very much look forward to returning there as I grow older and have more and more in common with the redwoods.
Inspiration for photo:
My son Charlie, 3, and I frequent the parks and trails of the peninsula as often as we can. Helping him understand the ecosystem and natural beauty around us has reawakened my own appreciation for it as well. It is humbling and moving to attempt to explain life and death to a very young person, and I imagine the redwoods have heard hundreds of years of parents trying to get it right. I have always enjoyed the forests of this beautiful area, but watching my child discover them has given me the gift of rediscovery, and a renewed appreciation for the parks and those who have preserved them for us.
Location: Memorial Park

 

Aspiring Photographer: People in Parks

Untitled (Alone But Not Lonely) by Enya Liu

Untitled (Alone But Not Lonely) by Enya Liu

About Enya Liu:
My name is Enya, and I am sixteen years old. Photography is one of my favorite hobbies. Creating and editing aesthetic pictures and videos makes me happy.
Inspiration for photo:
I took this photo this past summer when I was hiking on a coastal trail. My family and I had stopped to look at the beautiful view of the cliffs and ocean. My aunt was standing at the edge of the path enjoying the scenery, and I saw that it would make a cool photo because of the composition of the scene. I like this photo because it is completely candid; I didn’t ask my aunt to pose or anything. She was simply taking in the view. I like photographing nature because of its awe-inspiring wonder. I want to capture moments in nature so that others can see its beauty and fragility and be inspired to take action to preserve it.
Location: Cowell-Purisma Trail

 

 

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