Spirit of the Mountains 2010 – Best in Show!

Share the wonders of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Let your photographic imagination capture the essence of this hidden jewel.

Waiting for Breakfast

Yesterday was the opening reception and announcement of the winners of the Spirit of the Mountains 2010 Photo Contest.The contest is run by the Santa Monica Mountains National Park Service and it’s goal is to promote the beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains. The winning photos are featured in OUTDOORS, their quarterly calendar of events publication. (View the Autumn 2010 edition).

I am proud to have won Best of Show for Waiting for Breakfast, a morning shot of an Argiopes Garden Spider. The image was taken on one of the Utah Trekkers training hikes for our just completed tour of southern Utah. We were headed up Boney Mountain to the Danielson Ranch site starting at the Wendy trailhead of the Ranch Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in Newbury Park. We’ve had a pleasantly cool summer this year with an above average number of days with morning fog. As we walked the foggy trail, we passed one after another of these spiders waiting on their webs. The fog had covered each web with dew and they were lit up like a string of holiday lights by the the morning sun.

Stand Tall, below, won 1st Place in the Plants category. The image was taken on another hike with the Utah Trekkers, this time at Malibu Creek State Park. This was my first hike with a new carbon fiber Induro tripod and Acratech ball head. I was checking out the equipment for weight and the best way to carry them on our hike to The Wave. There is a small grove of redwood trees in this park and because I had the tripod with me I was able to take the triple exposure required to produce this image. I was shooting into the sun in order get the glow on the leaves but I needed 3 exposures to capture the full dynamic range of the scene. The exposures were then merged using HDR software. I also picked up an additional four 4th place awards.

Stand Tall

I am honored to have won each of these awards but am also very happy that I can lend my artwork to promoting and supporting the local Parks Service of the Santa Monica Mountains.