Minot photographer earns top award in governor’s photo contest

Submitted Photo Steve Silseth’s photo “Pintail” was named Best of Show and first place in the Wildlife category in the annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest.

BISMARCK – Steve Silseth’s photo “Pintail” has been named Best in Show in the 15th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest. The Minot photographer’s photo also earned first place in the Wildlife category.

Gov. Doug Burgum recognized the winning photographs and honorable mentions in a ceremony Wednesday at the North Dakota Capitol. Joining Burgum was North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman and North Dakota Council on the Arts Executive Director Kim Konikow.

In “Pintail,” Silseth captured the moment just before the duck takes flight, leaving a trail of geysers through the water. The photo was selected as best from the 1,072 submitted to this year’s contest.

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.

“The photos on display here have captured the essence of what sets North Dakota apart,” Otte Coleman said. “These stunning photos help showcase what makes North Dakota truly special.”

Submitted Photo Laura Gardner’s photo “On the Hunt” received first place in the Adventure and Recreation category of the North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest.

Laura Gardner of Washburn had the winning photograph with “On the Hunt” in the Adventure and Recreation category. Other winners were Zachary Hargrove of Bismarck in the Places to Visit category; Katherine Plessner of Bismarck in Communities and Events; Wendy Fix of Bismarck in Fun with Family and Friends; Crystal Ann Swoll of Grand Forks in Scenery;

“The winning images show a strong understanding of composition and color,” Konikow said. “The artistry is evident, as is North Dakota’s beauty.”

This was the ninth year that photographers could submit photos online through image and video hosting site Flickr. Top category photographers received a $200 cash prize for each winning photo and will have their work featured in North Dakota Tourism’s marketing materials, along with even greater exposure through contest partner AAA. The Best of Show winner received an additional $300 cash prize and a free, one-year basic membership to AAA. Honorable mention winners received $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 2019.

The North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest is a collaborative program between the governor’s office, North Dakota Tourism and the North Dakota Council on the Arts and contest sponsor AAA. The 2018 winning photos will be on display during the months of October, November and December at the Capitol.