Nature + Nurture

The winners, honorable mentions, and finalists of Friends' fifth annual photo contest

Friends' fifth annual photo contest. A record 568 entries were received! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

The Grand Prize winner was Cate Hotchkiss of Hood River, OR, for her photo "December Sunrise at Catherine Creek." View all of the winners, honorable mentions, and finalists from the photo contest.

Information about the contest follows:

Enter your best Gorge photos to celebrate this special, protected landscape.

It's called the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area...for a reason. This river canyon, 85 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, its steep walls, river tributaries, and many dozens of waterfalls cut by unfathomably powerful Ice Age floods, is a wondrous sight for the eye to behold. The Gorge is one of the best nature photography spots in the continental United States, but with this spectacular nature in our region comes the need to responsibly steward and nurture it.

The Gorge is not a national park; it is both a remarkably varied ecosystem and a place of longstanding human activity and settlement. It is our privilege to love the Gorge and our duty to protect it for future generations. And we're looking for photos that not only capture the Gorge's beauty and natural wonder, but the connection between nature and the cultures and communities that make the Gorge such a vibrant place to visit and live.

Friends of the Columbia Gorge's fifth annual photo contest provides an opportunity to share your best Gorge photos as reminders of this perpetual balancing act. And courtesy of contest sponsor Pro Photo Supply, you could win a chance to upgrade your photography equipment.

Photo Contest Categories

  • Community and Culture: Culture runs deep in the Columbia Gorge, in some places reaching back 10,000 years or more. Subjects for this category could include petroglyphs and other art; infrastructure and examples of the sustainable built environment; Gorge life, community conservation; and other depictions of people interacting with the Gorge landscape.
  • Nature and Nurture: From everyday stewardship to community activism, there are lots of ways to help preserve and protect the Gorge for generations to come. We welcome photos capturing the intersection of nature and nurture--including outdoor youth education, stewardship programs, community activism, and more. 
  • Scenic Western Gorge: (western boundary of the National Scenic Area to Viento State Park [OR] and Dog Creek Falls [WA]) - A breathtaking photo of the Gorge often says more than words about the need to protect this special place. This category includes vistas, waterfalls and anything else that constitutes a view of a natural Gorge landscape.
  • Scenic Eastern Gorge: (I-84 Exit 58 [OR] and Cook [WA] to eastern boundary [scroll down to second map] of the National Scenic Area) - Please note, Western or Eastern designation will be determined by location of photographer; it is especially helpful if you note this in photo description.
  • Wildflowers: Are you sitting on a bunch of great photos you took this spring and summer of some of the 800-plus types of wildflowers that bloom in the Gorge, more than a dozen of which grow nowhere else on the planet?
  • Wildlife: From easy-to-spot waterfowl, to basking turtles, to elusive bears and pika, the Gorge is home to an abundance of wildlife. Can your camera capture that perfect image of wildlife in their element?
  • Youth Photographer: Instilling a sense of love and responsibility from a young age is important for developing future generations of Gorge protectors. This category includes photos of any subject submitted by photographers under 18 years old (please note age on photo submission form).

When taking photos, please stay on trails and practice Leave No Trace principles.

View the winning and honorable mention photos from Friends' 2018 photo contest.


The winning photographs will be publicly announced at Friends' Annual Meeting and Luncheon at Skamania Lodge on Sunday, April 19, 2020.

  • Grand Prize: One winner will receive a $300 gift card to Pro Photo Supply and a large print of their photo.
  • Category winners prize: For each of the seven contest categories, one winner will receive a $100 Pro Photo Supply gift card and a large print of their photo. (Note: Grand Prize winner will not also be a category winner.)

More prizes may be added. Prize winners will be notified by email to the address from which the photo was submitted or by the method provided for mail-in entries.