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Dry Creek Falls Shot Wins Grand Prize in Friends' Sixth Annual Photo Contest

Dry Creek Falls Shot Wins Grand Prize in Friends' Sixth Annual Photo Contest
Detail from "Down The Middle - Dry Creek Falls" by Dan Hawk, photo contest Grand Prize winner
May 13, 2021
Categorie(s): Latest News

Friends of the Columbia Gorge has announced Dan Hawk of Portland, Oregon, as the grand prize winner of Picturing Protection, Friends’ sixth annual photo contest. Seven category-winning photos and nine honorable mentions were also announced. The grand-prize winning photo, category winners, and honorable mentions were selected by a panel of three professional photographers, with experience ranging from conservation advocacy to photojournalism.

View galleries of contest winners, honorable mentions, and finalists

Hawk’s grand-prize winning photo was taken on a July morning at Dry Creek Falls, accessible along the Pacific Crest Trail south of Cascade Locks, Oregon. Hawk used his Sony A7R3 with a 20-200 mm lens to capture a muted yet vibrant, portrait-oriented shot with the plunge neatly framed by basalt, ferns, lichens, and accumulated logs at the bottom.

“This was one of the first places I visited when trails started to open up again after the fires, and traveling this trail is like a story,” said Hawk, who owns Dan Hawk Photography and serves as Oregon chapter president of the American Society of Media Photographers.

“While the hike into this beauty leads through large blackened areas at the beginning of recovery from the 2017 fires, this waterfall lies in a fairly deep canyon keeping it green and lush all year round and which also protected it from fire damage,” Hawk added. “It’s a beautiful reminder of nature’s power and resiliency.”

“I’m totally enchanted by this picture,” said contest judge Beth Nakamura, a Portland-based, Emmy-winning photojournalist. “It’s really beautifully done, the way the light hits and how the composition helps direct our gaze, but not with a heavy hand.”

In addition to Nakamura, the panel of photo contest judges also featured Hood River-based professional photographers Paloma Ayala and Vince Ready* (*also a member of Friends’ Board of Directors). The panel was assisted by Friends staff, who helped screen initial entries and develop a slate of finalists for the judges’ review.

“The photo contest is an annual source of inspiration for not only the public, but also our staff and members,” said Friends Executive Director Kevin Gorman. “As we observe the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act this fall, the beautiful and compelling images entered by contest photographers serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting this special, fragile landscape.”

The contest called for photographers to submit photos in any of seven categories: Gorge Community Life (photos taken of and in Gorge communities), Human Works (petroglyphs and other art; infrastructure and examples of the sustainable built environment), Scenic Eastern Gorge, Scenic Western Gorge, Wildlife, Wildflowers & Other Flora, and Youth Photographer (under age 18). The submission period for contest ended on Dec. 31, 2020.

The winners will be awarded gift cards from contest sponsor Pro Photo Supply; the winners and honorable mentions will receive a large print (developed by Pro Photo Supply) of their respective photos.

An additional photo Hawk entered in the contest, an image juxtaposing the Bridge of the Gods with a traditional fishing platform near Cascade Locks, was judged the winner of the contest’s Human Works category.

Friends' fifth-annual photo contest received a total of 385 entries. The winner of Friends’ previous annual photo contest, Nature + Nurture, was Cate Hotchkiss of Hood River, Oregon.

Picturing Protection Photo Contest Winners

  • Grand Prize – Dan Hawk, Portland
  • Gorge Community Life category – Jan Sonnenmair, Portland
  • Human Works category – Dan Hawk, Portland
  • Scenic Eastern Gorge category – Laura Payne, Mosier, Oregon
  • Scenic Western Gorge category – Karen Reeves, Portland
  • Wildflowers & Other Flora category – Pratyush Jaiswal, Portland
  • Wildlife category – Bill Kirkland, Portland
  • Youth Photographer – Aidan Sweet, Portland
  • Honorable Mention: Mark Brunsman (Portland), Bill Kirkland (Portland), Regis Krug (Oregon City, Oregon), Robert Meyers (Hood River), Sharon Philpott (White Salmon, Washington), Daniel Rappaport (Corbett, Oregon), Linda Steider (White Salmon; two photos), Rachel Witmer (Lake Oswego, Oregon)