This year witnessed our most talked about photography contest ever. Held in partnership with Texas Highways – the travel magazine of Texas – our 2012 contest marked the first time that we invited the public to vote for winners. And what a response! Nearly 13,000 votes were cast for 1,700 photographs on our Facebook page and website. After public-vote winner Jane Barkow was announced in June, our panel of six judges narrowed down the entries to 50 finalists. Then we got together to advocate for our favorites in the People with Wildflowers, Black and White, Botanical, Landscape and newcomer Wildlife in the Native Landscape categories.
We agree with what Ansel Adams once said: "You don't take a photograph, you make it." Read on to learn what went into the making of our winners' photographs. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see our public-vote winners, or just click this link.
1st Place, Landscape
Paint misty for me
During his annual pilgrimage from Fort Worth to Central Texas to photograph the wildflowers, British native Tony Crowley found fog a welcome bonus in this misty sunrise scene. He spotted the Indian paintbrush (Castilleja purpurea) on Highway 190 just east of Richland Springs, Texas.
2nd Place, Landscape
There's a snap(shot) for that
Jason St. Peter
Former first-place People with Wildflowers category winner Jason St. Peter took this winning shot with his iPhone camera on the Whitener Ranch in Burton, Texas, in late summer. The snow-on-the-prairie (Euphorbia bicolor) against the sunset was too good to pass up even though he'd left his SLR behind.
1st Place, Black and White
Jack Bales of Austin saw this potted New Mexico agave (Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana) at the Wildflower Center and decided to test out what his new Sony Nex-5 camera could do. Turns out it could make a winning image.
2nd Place, Black and White
Dana McGuire of Dallas never tires of taking pictures of dogwoods (Cornus florida). The trees inspired her when she lived in East Texas, where she says they grow among the pine trees. She photographed this one in her friend's backyard.
1st Place, People with Wildflowers
Ben O'Neal of Coppell, Texas, snapped this shot of five-year-old son Grant surrounded by bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) in Las Colinas, Texas. Ben's mom loaned him the Texas-shaped prop to add some flair. A friend who'd seen the picture posted on O'Neal's Facebook page encouraged him to enter it in the contest.
2nd Place, People with Wildflowers
Carrol Fibich of Brookfield, Wisconsin, and her granddaughters were on a bike ride in Door County, Wisconsin, when "all this white" caught their attention. The girls are much older now, but this picture of them in the trillium (Trillium sp.) is still a treasured memory.
1st Place, Wildlife in the Native Landscape
Hare's looking at you
Wendy Naranjo of Goliad County, Texas, waited for months for the perfect moment to capture this photo of the jackrabbits around her property. Finally, an opportunity arrived in a field of black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) two days before the contest deadline when the early-morning light was just right.
2nd Place, Wildlife in the Native Landscape
Wild world web
Winifred Simon (first-place winner in the botanical category of 2010's contest) spotted this spider on a Mexican hat flower (Ratibida columnifera) in her Wimberley, Texas, backyard. She used a macro lens to get a better look at the tiny insect.
1st Place, Botanical
Holly Moore of Georgetown, Texas, got down in a ditch to get this photograph of prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora) in Fredericksburg, Texas, along Highway 16. Now retired, she has gotten back to her childhood love of photography.
2nd Place, Botanical
Jeremy Kuhn found this striking scene in fall 2008 near a pond at Lost Maples State Park in Utopia, Texas. He remembers how a slight breeze and the sun's reflection made an interesting backdrop for this bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) grass. This is the first photo of a grass ever to win in our photography contest.
A stroll with bunny and bluebonnets
Butterfly on a Thistle
Thanks to all who voted for their favorite Wildflower magazine photo contest entry during our public voting. Of 12,837 votes, Jane Barkow's "A stroll with bunny and bluebonnets" received 1,508 votes–making Jane the winner! Congratulations, Jane! Runners-up are "Butterfly on a Thistle" by Rich Love and "Bluebonnet Dreams" by Daniel Adams.
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and who voted for their favorite entries. Details about our 2013 contest will be available in March 2013.