2017 Appalachian Mountain Club Photo Contest

The Appalachian Mountain Club recently announced the results of its 23rd Annual Photo Contest. I’ve been an active participant since the mid-2000’s. I started a continuous string of modest success in 2009. Success continued in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

Per the rules, because I was honored in each of those “odd” years; I had to “sit out” the “even” years of 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Of course, I still took photos and as luck would have it, some of my best AMC contest qualifying images were shot in those off years, but were never entered in any contest. I’ll have to put a gallery together of the best images that I never submitted, and we will see what folks think.

Regardless, I was back at it in the official 2017 contest and am pleased to say that one of my images was chosen as an Honorable Mention in the People Outdoors category.

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The image titled: “Look Out! And Where Does This Trail Go?” was taken on Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine, on 02 July 2017 during our EPIC family hike and adventure. There were so many great images that came from that trip, but I selected what I thought was the best one that fit the contest’s criteria for that category, and I’m glad that the judges agreed.

I have to admit that even though I was carrying, and using my Leica MP Rangefinder throughout that trip, this image was taken with my iPhone 6s. This is proof that sometimes the quality of the image is less about the quality of the camera and more about the composition and capturing the moment. I frequently use my iPhone to take video, but also convenient still images that are easy to upload to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. I just pressed the “shutter” and the iPhone, which was set on auto, handled the settings.

The metadata captured the data: 11:23:23 A.M., ISO 25, 4.15mm,  f/2.2, 1/1282

I can picture the exact spot on the Cathedral Trail where I was hiking behind Dahlia and Debbie and spotted them ascending as the wind picked up. I took several photos in the series, but this is the one that captured the moment perfectly. The honored image is pictured above, but also included in the fully sequence below. The images were taken over a six minute span as we worked our way up the trail.

Debbie’s UltrAspire hydration hose is obscuring her face, but that’s something I didn’t notice,and since I snapped this action shot in the moment, can’t change. What works in this image is the position of their legs, Debbie’s hand on Dahlia’s shoulder, and Dahlia’s hand on Debbie’s knee. The definition in Debbie’s leg muscles demonstrates the effort of climbing this great mountain. Admittedly, back in 1999 when we met in the Ascutney Mountain parking lot at the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run, her strong calf muscles were one of the first things I noticed about her; and 18 year and many miles later, still make me smile. These were some of the smaller rocks on this trail, and they still dwarf our 8-year-old daughter. The lichen covered granite has great texture, and the presence of a couple of blue blazes on the rocks gives faint indication of the direction of the trail in this boulder field.

The four AMC contest judges are highly respected in the New England photography community, and deserve a shout out for their AMC related work. These descriptions are from the AMC website contest page:

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). 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.

Congratulations to all of the winners in this year’s contest. I don’t have time to submit to all of the different contests out there, but AMC’s will always be my favorite, and you can be sure that I’ll try again in 2019.

2017 Contest Results and Slide Show

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