Image shot with iPhone 6 wins annual Columbia Gorge photography contest

Pictures taken with an iPhone have won quite a few contests in the past. A recent photography competition, however, crowned an image taken with an iPhone that’s more than a few years old as its grand prize winner.











Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a nonprofit based out of Portland, Oregon, announced the winners of its fourth annual photo contest this week. The competition encouraged people to submit photos that fall into the following categories: Cultural, Scenic, Wildlife, Wildflowers and Youth Photographer.

The winning photograph was taken by Colleen Wright of Lake Oswego in Oregon. The image was shot on September 3rd, 2018 using an iPhone 6. The image was taken on the Nick Eaton Ridge loop trail, which was in the burn area of the 2017 Eagle Creek fire.

The image is described as depicting “sunlight filtering through the trees and morning fog.” Judges praised the image for its lighting and mood, while also saying it “sums up the resilience of nature in general and the Gorge in particular.”

Here’s how Wright describes her image:

“The clouds were on the ground the day the photo was taken,” said Wright, explaining how her winning shot came to be. “Everything was cool, wet and misting, perfect.  As we neared the junction to Nick Eaton Ridge and the cutoff trail, the sun was slowly burning through the mist, creating magical light and enhancing the mysteries of the blackened and burned trees.”

Read the full press release below and view all of the winning images here. The iPhone 6 was originally released 2014, which makes it dated compared to today’s standards – but the camera still clearly holds up.

Lake Oswego, OR Photographer Wins Grand Prize in Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s Fourth Annual Photo Contest

Evocative shot of blackened trees, through the morning fog, along the Nick Eaton Ridge trail illustrates the Gorge’s resilience after devastating 2017 Eagle Creek fire 

Contact:   Burt Edwards, communications director | 971.634.0595 (Office) | 703.861.8237 (Cell) |burt@gorgefriends.org (email)

PORTLAND, OR – On Sunday, April 7, Friends of the Columbia Gorge announced Colleen Wright of Lake Oswego, OR, as the grand prize winner of Friends’ fourth annual photo contest. The announcement was made at Friends’ Annual Meeting & Luncheon at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA. Five category-winning photos and four honorable mentions were also announced at the event.  The grand-prize winning photo, category winners and honorable mentions were all selected by a panel of four seasoned, local experts with experience in photography, communications and the arts.

“The winning photos all share an evocative quality that communicates both pluck and wonder,” said contest judge Kimberly A.C. Wilson, communications director for the Meyer Memorial Trust. “The Columbia River Gorge is a magical, diverse and dynamic place, born of traumatic geological transformations; resilience is its very nature. These photographs embody that nature.”

Wright’s grand-prize winner was taken on the morning of Sept. 3, 2018, while she was hiking through a wooded area on the Nick Eaton Ridge loop trail, which was in the burn area of the 2017 Eagle Creek fire. Wright used her iPhone 6 to capture sunlight filtering through the trees and morning fog:

“The clouds were on the ground the day the photo was taken,” said Wright, explaining how her winning shot came to be. “Everything was cool, wet and misting, perfect.  As we neared the junction to Nick Eaton Ridge and the cutoff trail, the sun was slowly burning through the mist, creating magical light and enhancing the mysteries of the blackened and burned trees.”

“This moody image evokes both the devastation of the Eagle Creek fire, while hinting at the resilience of the forest, as the sun cuts through the mist, and patches of green are revealed in the ground cover on the hillside,” said contest judge Vince Ready, a Friends board member who owns and operates Lasting Light Photography in Hood River.

“The lighting is fantastic…the photo just sums up the resilience of nature in general and the Gorge in particular,” said contest Brian Chambers, a Hood River resident who owns and operates Brian Chambers Photography.

Amanda Cowan, photo editor for The Columbian and a Gorge resident, also served as a contest judge. The panel of photo contest judges was assisted by Friends staff, who helped screen initial entries and develop a slate of semi-finalists for review.

The contest called for photographers to submit photos in any of five categories: Cultural (photos focusing on human activities and creations), Scenic, Wildlife, Wildflowers and Youth Photographer (under age 18). The submission period for contest ended on Dec. 31, 2018.

Contest winners were awarded gift certificates from contest sponsor Pro Photo Supply and a Columbia Sportswear backpack; they also received a large print (developed by Pro Photo Supply) of their respective photos and were invited to attend the Annual Meeting & Luncheon as guests of Friends of the Columbia Gorge. All participants were given passes to visit the Columbia Sportswear Employee Store.

In addition, the winning photos and the honorable mentions will be framed and displayed during the month of May (beginning with a First Friday exhibition from 6-8 p.m. on May 3) at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. All of the framed photos will be for sale, with post-gallery proceeds going to further Friends’ Gorge protection work.

Capturing Resilience Photo Contest Winners

  • Grand Prize – Colleen Wright
  • Cultural category – Jeremiah Leipold
  • Scenic category – Jeremiah Leipold
  • Wildflowers category – Don Jacobson
  • Wildlife category – Bill Partin
  • Youth – Ethan Nenadic (age 14)
  • Honorable Mention: Daniel Gomez, Catherine Hotchkiss, Bill Kirkland, Sharon Philpott

In total, Friends’ fourth-annual photo contest received a total of 352 entries.


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