“Not a lot of the same old themes,” Jim Salge said as he sat down for the final evening of judging in this year’s AMC Photo Contest. Salge and our other judges—Allison Bell, Jerry Monkman, and Paul Mozell—have more than 40 years’ experience with the AMC Photo Contest between them. They spend hours each fall sorting through hundreds of entries, so not many locations, styles, or compositions remain unfamiliar to their eyes.
When a shot defies these odds by revealing a new angle or a fresh subject, the judges take notice. All of which explains the eclectic mix of images that rose to the top of this year’s contest: a little girl surrounded by a school of fish; rime ice framing a distant peak; a lone paddler skirting a band of fog; a few pieces of wood and canvas that hint at the vast history of the huts.
We also have some of the tried and the true, of course. Entrants sent in plenty of summits and sunsets and foliage this year—and they were also spectacular. The appeal of these simple scenes is, after all, what keeps drawing us outdoors.
Thank you to all contest entrants—and to judges, for your time and expertise. And thanks, also, to Deuter, ENO, Forty Below, LEKI, and LifeStraw for once again providing prizes for our category winners.
–Marc Chalufour, Senior Editor
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: “MAKING FRIENDS”
By Geraldine Sweeney, New York–North Jersey Chapter | Taken at the Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center in Harriman State Park, N.Y., on July 30, 2017
“When I arrived at Breakneck Pond to join friends for a swim, I spotted a young girl at the water’s edge. I loved how absorbed and relaxed she was in this moment, as the fish swim around her and the sun sparkles and dances on the water. I wanted this photograph to capture the joy and innocence of childhood interacting with the timeless gift of nature.”
“Sunfish and shadows radiate in spokes from the sunny-haired girl, who holds earth, water, and reflected sky in her outstretched hand.”
“A fun perspective that captures a great moment. The vibrant color of the girl’s shirt grabs the viewer’s attention and nicely breaks up the monochromatic tones of the rest of the photo.”
“You’d have difficulty planning this shot. Are the fish and the girl playing? If you don’t smile when seeing this photograph, you must be having a truly bad day. Historically, winners of this contest have featured dramatic landscapes, yet the assembled judges voted for this image unanimously. We hope readers of this magazine agree!”
“One of the more unique images I’ve seen submitted to AMC’s contest, and it’s perfectly executed. I’m most fascinated by the shadows of the fish and the reflection of the clouds in the upper corner.”
LANDSCAPES & NATURE WINNER: “FRAME OF REFERENCE”
By Claudine Mapa, Worcester Chapter | Taken on Mount Pierce, White Mountain National Forest, N.H., on January 28, 2017
“Last January I led an AMC hike up Mount Pierce. I was so excited for my group to catch their first views of the Presidential Range, and I had my fingers crossed we would have decent visibility. At treeline these icy trees formed the perfect natural frame for this shot of Mount Eisenhower.”
“This magical photo captures the moment we break from our forest climb and catch sight of the snowy summit ahead. The rime-crusted firs line the trail like sentinel alpine trolls. We pause with the photographer here, at the edge of the krummholz keyhole, where crossing the threshold may indeed provoke more wicked winter spirits.”
MY AMC WINNER: “AUTOGRAPHS”
By Jean-Pierre PlО, Potomac Chapter | Taken at AMC’s Zealand Falls Hut, White Mountain National Forest, N.H., on August 2, 2017
“This image tells a portion of the story of the AMC hut stewards, individuals who make the White Mountain experience so special. The autographs on the iconic wooden packs give them a life and a story of their own.”
“The croo wears the packboard as both function and tradition, as a badge and a challenge. The photographer captures this unique part of hut culture with a perfect use of composition to make me feel like I’m on the porch heading in!”
PEOPLE OUTDOORS WINNER: “KAYAKER AT DAWN ON CHOCORUA LAKE”
By Paul Degitz, New Hampshire Chapter | Taken on Chocorua Lake, Tamworth, N.H., on October 8, 2016
“Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time. I drove up in the dark hoping to capture the fall colors on Mount Chocorua reflected in the lake at sunrise. Instead I found the lake covered in a thick layer of fog. I was shooting the peaks to the left of this image when I noticed the kayaker crossing in front of me. I had just enough time to recompose and capture this image.”
“This is a magical moment on a lake that generates more than its share of scenic splendor. Mount Chocorua seems to float on the morning fog as easily as the kayak traverses the calm, reflective water. The photographer was there at the right time and composed a wonderful image.”
RECREATION CLOSE TO HOME WINNER: “FALL MORNING TRAIL RUN (SELF PORTRAIT)”
By Matthew Grymek, Boston Chapter | Taken on Wachusett Mountain, Princeton, Mass., on October 8, 2016
“I’ve always enjoyed taking photographs and documenting my adventures in the mountains. Even on solo outings, I like to bring a camera and take some self-portrait action shots. In this photo, I was doing a sunrise trail run and brought a camera hoping to get a good sunrise shot. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate, but the eeriness still made for interesting photos.”
“I really enjoy the use of warm and cool colors in this shot, and the foggy weather strengthens the quiet mood of the landscape.”
PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER: “LOON”
By Kathleen Veilleux, New Hampshire Chapter | Taken on Umbagog Lake, Coos County, N.H., on July 4, 2017
“My husband and I watched this loon for quite some time as she stalked, caught, wrestled, then swallowed a large whitefish. We had just turned to motor away when she circled around, and I was able to catch this image with the setting sun reflecting off the water. The timing was tricky with all the motion: the loon, the boat, the water.”
THANK YOU TO OUR JUDGES:
Jerry Monkman is a conservation photographer and filmmaker based in Portsmouth, N.H. He is the author of 10 books, including AMC’s Outdoor Adventures: Acadia National Park, the winner of a 2017 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.
Allison W. Bell is a designer and photographer in Whately, Mass., specializing in cultural and natural history projects. With Nancy Slack, 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. Her latest book, Glorious Mountain Days, is due out later this year.
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.