Photo Contest winners celebrate ND’s beauty

FARGO – Three Minot photographers were among those submitting winning entries in the 20th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest. Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller, along with North Dakota Commerce Tourism and Marketing Director Sara Otte Coleman and North Dakota Folklorist Troyd Geist, presented the awards during the North Dakota Travel Industry Conference in Fargo.

The contest drew a record-breaking 813 submissions from 170 photographers.

“The record-breaking number of entries and the talent displayed are inspiring. These photos will be powerful tools in promoting our state as a must-visit destination,” Burgum said.

The 2024 contest embraced the state’s diverse climate and activities by introducing new scenery and activity categories based on seasons. A top photograph and honorable mentions were awarded in each category.

Theresa Mallory of Mandan won the Best in Show award for her photo “Celebrate! Bismarck Looking at Mandan,” which captures the grandeur of a Fourth of July fireworks display.

Corey Serr of Minot received an honorable mention in the fall scenery category with “The Three Musketeers,” featuring three bighorn sheep standing together with eyes trained on the camera, set off by colorful fall trees. The photo was taken in the Little Missouri National Grasslands.

Lindy Beardsley of Williston received top honors in the fall activities category for a photo “Chasing Sun or Chasing Antlers?” The photo shows a hunter walking through the trees near Stanley as the sun flare in the trees brings life to the image and the muted colors stir the pensive feeling echoed in the title.

Cody Schmidt of Minot received an honorable mention for his photo, “Dove Watching.” In the photo taken near Stanley, both hunter and dog scan the area, searching for their prey. The lines of the tree trunk and the juxtaposition of the subjects pull a viewer’s eye into the scene, and back, creating wonder as to who will spot a dove first.

In the summer activities category, Brian Heskin, Minot, received an honorable mention for his photo, “Little Shell Powwow.” In the photo, peeking through the top of the arbor, a viewer sees drum circles, colorful regalia, the color guard and the concentric circular formation of grand entry. The more a viewer looks at the image, the more there is to see.

Brock Mitchell of Rolla earned top honors for “Tip-Ups at Sun Up” in the winter activities category. The photo shows a sky ablaze with color, but that pales in comparison to the smile on the face of the young boy holding the catch of the day.

The prints will be on display at the North Dakota State Capitol, 18th floor, during May.


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