2nd Annual Great Outdoors Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner: Lewis Abulafia

Title: North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park

Congratulations to 2011 Great Outdoors Contest Grand Prize winner Lewis Abulafia. Describing the situation when he took this photograph, Abulafia recalls, “It was in October 2010 shortly before the North Rim of the Grand Canyon shut down for the season. I had been camping for a few days, going out before dawn and returning after dusk without any very exciting images. On the last morning of my trip, I awoke an hour before sunrise, looked out of my tent and was very disappointed by what I saw. The sky was totally overcast, and the wind was blowing strongly. Because it was my last day of shooting, I forced myself to get dressed, grabbed my gear and drove to a previously scouted overlook. The weather continued to worsen, and I literally had to hold on to my tripod to prevent it from falling over. About 45 minutes after sunrise, I was ready to pack it in, but I gave myself another 10 minutes to stay just in case. Then 8 minutes later, the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated Mount Hayden below with the sweetest light I’ve ever seen. I managed to get a few frames squeezed off before the clouds blocked the light again.”

Canon EOS-1D Mark ll, Canon EF 28-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS USM, Gitzo tripod, Really Right Stuff ballhead

1st Prize Winner: Tony Rowell

Title: Moonbow And Stars, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National

A full moon illuminates Yosemite Falls, creating a rare nighttime lunar rainbow or moonbow complemented by bright stars above the granite walls of Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America it is 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls.

Nikon D300s Nikkor 24 mm f2.8 lens at f4 Gitzo G1228 tripod

Honorable Mention: Peter Lik

Title: Inner Peace

Standing beneath the canopy of this Japanese Maple tree was an incredible feeling – I was in awe as the late afternoon light backlit the delicate leaves. Every branch told its own story, and I felt this special tree had so much to tell. I truly felt an indescribable energy – a total connection with Mother Earth. I used a really wide-angle lens to reach out to as much of the tree as possible. I put my camera on the ground to give me a strong perspective to shoot up into the skies. As the sun sunk toward the horizon, the tree came to life with an incredible display of color, shape and texture – its rays burst into a star within the tree. It was a magical moment when I pressed the shutter – one I’ll never forget. I hope I can bring to you the rush of emotions I experienced.

Phase One P65+

Honorable Mention: Geoffrey Schmid

Title: Botany Bay

Canon 5D3, 16-35 f4, grad filter, tripod

Honorable Mention: Eric Suhm

Title: Monsoon In The Desert

Monsoon season offers unique contrasts for the outdoor photographer. The combination of the normally dry desert with the powerful storms and the ability to see for miles makes Arizona one of the best places to capture spectacular lightning photos. This particular shot was captured in a session in which I shot over 1500 photos.

Canon 40D, 28-135 IS USM

People's Choice Winner: Steve Perry

Title: Dead Horse Point Lightning Strike

August storm over Dead Horse Point with a double lightning strike.

Nikon D3x, Nikon 24-70

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