2017 North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest Winners Selected

<< All News Monday, October 16, 2017 - 05:00 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today recognized the winning photographs and honorable mentions from the 14th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest in a ceremony in Memorial Hall of the North Dakota Capitol building.

Joining Burgum for the presentation were North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) Executive Director Beth Gigante Klingenstein and AAA Senior Public Affairs Representative Gene LaDoucer.

The vibrancy of the night sky and unique subject of “Sailing Dreams” earned Josiah Kopp of Beulah the awards in both the Best of Show category and Adventure and Recreation category. The photo grabs a viewer’s eye while showcasing the clarity of North Dakota’s starry skies and our exciting adventure opportunities.

This year’s contest entries were strong, with 1,381 photo entries. The most popular category was scenery.

“Today we recognize the impressive talents of our state’s amateur photographers,” Burgum said. “With its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife and picturesque communities both large and small, North Dakota gives photographers a wide array of opportunities to capture something unique.”

 Photos were judged on originality, subject matter, visual appeal and ability to portray North Dakota as a legendary travel destination in the categories of adventure and recreation, places to visit, communities and events, fun with family and friends, scenery and wildlife.

“It is always fun to see the variety of photos that are submitted, and this year’s winners are all very talented and their photos help tell North Dakota’s story.” Otte Coleman said.

The North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest began as a collaborative program between the Governor’s Office and North Dakota Tourism and has grown to include AAA as a contest sponsor and the NDCA as a collaborative partner.

The 2017 winning photos will be on display during the months of October, November and December at the Capitol in the offices of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.

“I am impressed with the creativity and the eye for beauty that is embraced by these North Dakota photographers,” said Klingenstein.  “The beauty of the human spirit and of our state are captured in these wonderful photographs.”

AAA, North America’s largest travel organization, will also display winning photos as part of its sponsorship.

“Not only do the state’s photographers do a great job of capturing inspiring images, they serve as ambassadors for the state,” LaDoucer said. “Who better to tell the story than those who are living it?”

This was the eighth year that photographers could submit photos online through image and video hosting site Flickr.

Top category photographers will receive a $200 cash prize for each winning photo and have their work featured in North Dakota Tourism’s marketing materials, along with even greater exposure through contest partner AAA. A Best of Show photo was selected from the winning photographs, and the photographer received an additional $300 cash prize and a free, one-year basic membership to AAA. Honorable mention winners will receive $50 and may also have their images featured in the state’s tourism marketing materials.

The Governor’s Photo Contest is held annually and is open to all North Dakota amateur   photographers. Next year’s contest will begin in May 2018. Winning photos can be seen on the North Dakota Tourism website; http://www.ndtourism.com/articles/2017-north-dakota-governors-photo-contest-winners,

2017 Governor’s Photo Contest Winners (by category):

Adventure and Recreation Category

Winning photographer: Josiah Kopp, Beulah
Winning photograph: “Sailing Dreams” – at Lake Sakakawea near Pick City

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Daniel Kessel, Dickinson

“The Cosmic Connection” – near Sully Creek State Park

Places to Visit

Winning photographer Meredith Jo Ehli, Bismarck

Winning photograph: “Chateau De Mores” in Medora

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Katherine Plessner, Verona

“A Real Beauty” – showing Gol Stave Church in Minot

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Dustin White, Bismarck

“Sundogs” – on the Enchanted Highway

Communities and Events

Winning photographer: Brian Heskin, Minot

Winning photograph: “Musical” in Medora

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Rebecca Raber, Bismarck


Honorable Mention
Photographer: Julie Wooden, Hebron

“Richardton’s Little Opryland”

Fun with Family and Friends

Winning photographer: Mandy Dendy, Bismarck

Winning photograph: “Train O’ Sleds”

Honorable Mentions
Photographer: Angie Waletzko, Lisbon

“Boating Buddies”

Scenery category

Winning photographer: Jeff Smith, Bottineau
Winning photograph: “North Dakota Northern Lights” – at Short Creek Dam

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Mischelle Highman, Fargo

“Reflections” – in Fargo

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Steve Silseth, Minot

“Moon” – near Foxholm

Wildlife Category

Winning photographer: Tom Wirtz, Bismarck
Winning photograph: “Blue Jay”

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Lisa Buchweitz, Langdon

“Pure Majesty”






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