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What is AMC? Ask any two members and you might get two totally different answers. For some, AMC means trails and huts and the White Mountains, but the organization’s mission spreads well beyond those iconic elements. Each year AMC’s photo contest gives us a 365-day view of the club’s many facets.
This year we had an especially broad range of entries. Waterfalls and birds, yoga and trail running, the bottom of a pond and the stars above. And, of course, some hiking, huts, and mountains mixed in. The range was stunning.
We would like to thank our judges for sorting through nearly 1,000 entries before deciding on the winners presented here. The judges’ time and expertise, as well as the participating photographers’ sheer skill, yields fascinating results every year. And thank you to Deuter, ENO, Forty Below, LEKI, and LifeStraw for donating prizes for our category winners.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
“My friends and I were tackling Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce on a cold, windy day in mid-December. I was seeking images that conveyed the challenging wintry conditions we were facing, the mercurial atmosphere, and striking features of the mountainscape. I kept my eyes peeled for those special moments. Serendipity delivered.”
“I love how the mood of this photo captures the spirit of being above treeline on a cold day in the fog. The sharp texture of the rime ice is juxtaposed nicely with the out-of-focus silhouette of the hiker in the distance.”
“This image reveals the effort made by the photographer, despite uncomfortable conditions. The crystal pattern on the cairn draws us right to its bull’s-eye center. Flowerlike? Yes, but I’m also reminded of rows of rasping, concentric teeth. For me, that’s the thrill of the alpine zone: It’s beautiful and beastly at the same time.”
“I love photographs that have an element of mystery. I see a lovely flower or a bearded face, depending on how long I stare at the image. The photographer should be acknowledged for spotting this composition on what looks like a very cold day above treeline, probably shedding his or her gloves for a moment to frame the shot. A wonderful photograph.”
“The rime-ice deposit in this image has preserved the swirling winter winds that swept around the foreground rock. The monochrome hue gives us the feeling of a day above treeline, allowing the viewer to imagine themselves as the figure in the frame, discovering the icy story of the incredible weather these patterns tell.”
NATURE AND LANDSCAPES WINNER
“Harrison Wrights is one of 24 named waterfalls at Ricketts Glen. It was a perfect fall day with a high cloud layer eliminating shadows. I used a half-second exposure to create just enough vertical movement in the water to highlight its horsetail nature cascading over the horizontal rock layers.”
“Great subject with great color. I really like how the softness of the waterfall created with a slow shutter speed contrasts nicely with the layers of rock. Placing the waterfall slightly off-center helps define the size of the rock wall, and by including some forest above the waterfall, the photographer also gave us a clue as to the size of the waterfall itself.”
MY AMC WINNER
“Amazed at the condensation produced by their breathing during the night, the seventh-grade classmates Kaitlyn McKinnon, Ashley Brust, Natalie Daniels, and Grace Joscelyn peek out at the frosty mountain morning from their cozy Lonesome Lake bunkroom. Great light, rich wood, blue sky reflections, and excited faces required a photo.”
“A wonderful AMC photo: friends, family, and a fresh morning at Lonesome Lake Hut. The doorway, just opening, is unable to contain their enthusiasm to start the day. Each pane is a frame within a frame, and the six separate images share a dynamic palette of cool blues and warm browns. The glass reflects the morning sun, blue sky, and balsam firs.”
PEOPLE OUTDOORS WINNER
“My favorite photos often include people and dramatic clouds, so I was excited to visit Bearcamp Pond at sunset with thunderstorms nearby and thrilled when the lightning ended and my son, Jake, who loves being outdoors in wild weather, took the kayak for a paddle, making this composition complete.”
“Many can relate to the idea of hunkering down, waiting for a storm to pass. Some of the most amazing things I’ve seen in nature have occurred after coming out of an impromptu shelter to find the sky aglow with the most amazing patterns and light. The kayaker in this image is experiencing one of those magical moments, and the photographer allows all of us to share in it.”
RECREATION CLOSE TO HOME WINNER
“This was taken less than a half-mile from my house. I have taken the same shot in each of the four seasons, and it makes for an interesting collection.”
“The bridge that appears faintly in the fog serves to remind us that beautiful landscapes can be found almost anywhere. The silhouetted trees could be holding hands, figuratively, on this frozen, misty day. The photographer’s choice of monochrome over color suits the composition, which is perfectly balanced. The bridge also enhances the feeling of depth in the photograph. It’s hard to turn away from this image.”
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER
“There is no place like Newfound Lake to watch a captivating sunset. A place like no other, a place that brings back memories.”
ABOUT THE JUDGES:
Allison W. Bell is a designer and photographer in Whately, Mass., specializing in cultural and natural history projects. With Nancy Slack, Ph.D., she is co-author of the award-winning Field Guide to the New England Alpine Summits (AMC Books) and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Alpine Summits.
Paul Mozell is proud to have served as a judge in the AMC Photo Contest nearly every year since its inception. He is a photographer of landscapes, architecture, and business and family portraits, as well as a photography educator. He has been an AMC member since 1975. See galleries of his work at mozellstudios.com.
Jim Salge is a nature photographer, writer, and educator based in southern New Hampshire. He is a former weather observer at the Mount Washington Observatory, and the White Mountains remain a primary focus of his work. He currently serves as Yankee magazine’s fall foliage forecaster and blogger, and he teaches high school physics in Bedford, N.H. View his online portfolio at jimsalge.com.
Jerry Monkman is a conservation photographer and filmmaker based in Portsmouth, N.H. He is the author of 10 books, including the AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography, the winner of a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award. He was recently honored with the North American Nature Photography Association’s 2017 Mission Award. You can find his work online at ecophotography.com.