Two images of Letchworth State Park were among the winners of an online photo contest sponsored by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
A night-time image featuring the new railroad bridge in Letchworth State Park by Christy Hibsch of Warsaw was the People’s Choice winner.
“Letchworth State Park is my local park, and I have been going there since I was a kid,” Hibsch says of her photograph. “I wanted to capture an image of the Milky Way that comes up over the Upper Falls in the park with the new trestle.”
The image was captured just before midnight in mid-August, Hibsch said.
“Most people do not see the Milky Way with the naked eye, but it is always there,” she said.
Brandon Sprung of Rochester won the Point of Interest Category award for an image of the park’s Glen Iris Inn featuring a hot air balloon passing overhead.
The image was taken on a July morning in which Sprung had made an hour drive to the park, arriving before sunrise.
“After sunrise at Archery Field, I made my way down to the Upper Falls area where I noticed a hot air balloon inflating in the field,” Sprung said. “That morning I also was able to capture rainbows over both Upper and Middle Falls.”
Sprung said he understands that photographers rely on the park system to maintain the natural beauty of the public lands.
“I am always inspired by the everchanging beauty of these parks and their ability to surprise every time I go out to take pictures,” he said.
More than 5,200 photographs were submitted an nearly 18,000 votes cast in the competition that captured the state’s parks, forests, trails, campgrounds, nature centers, historic sites and other popular destinations.
The online contest was conducted Aug. 29 to Nov. 30, 2018, in partnership with ReserveAmerica.com powered by Aspira, the state’s camping reservation system. A grand prize winner was selected along with five entry categories. Finalists were determined by top vote-getters on social media and through a selection committee. Additionally, one photo won the People’s Choice prize for receiving the most online votes across all categories.
The awardees are:
■ Grand Prize Winner – Jerome Davis of Penfield, NY; image: Sampson State Park
n Point of Interest Category Winner– Brandon Sprung of Rochester, NY; image: Letchworth State Park
n Camping Life Category Winner – Kevin Jensen of Hobart, NY; image: Fish Creek Pond Campground
n Connecting with the Outdoors Category Winner – Alex Perfect of Kingston, NY; image: Wilmington Notch
n Day Trips Category Winner – Karri Marengo of Brookhaven, NY; image Hither Hills State Park
n On the Trails/Off the Beaten Path Category Winner – Luke Gashi of Wappingers Falls, NY; image: Heart Lake, Adirondacks
n People’s Choice Winner – Christy Hibsch of Warsaw, NY; image: Letchworth State Park
Each category winner receives a $100 New York State camping gift card and a one-year Empire Pass. The Grand Prize winner receives a $300 New York State Camping Gift Card, an Empire Pass and a Nikon DSLR camera complete with multiple lenses and premium accessories for a total package value of $1,030.
“New York has some of the most beautiful landscapes, exciting adventures, and inspiring destinations. The entries in this year’s photo contest document all these wonders and show New Yorkers and visitors alike just what our great state has to offer. Thank you to the winners and everyone who submitted and shared these amazing photos,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release.
The winning images will be featured in the 2019 New York State Camping Guide and together with other entries will be used in statewide promotions on social media, websites and in print publications, and highlighted through seasonal marketing campaigns.
The contest-winning photos are featured in an online gallery here with information about each image and photographer.