National Park Photo Contest Winners - 2016

Meet the top three photo winners of 2016 and hear how they were inspired to take their shots. Follow their example to take your own award-winning photos.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
2016 Photo Contest Winners

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 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

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

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 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.

Honorable Mention – Wildlife

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

Honorable Mention – Night Skies

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

Honorable Mention – People

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