National Parks: A Photographer’s Dream

 National Parks: A Photographer’s Dream

Courtney Kotewa’s winning photo f the Pictured Rocks national Lakeshore

I've spent much of the past two months using my spare time to study photography, though online courses, books and some classroom work. I also, gulp, bought a professional grade camera and have been learning its ins and out, too. All this in preparation for our RV visits to various National Parks across the country.

This year, I'm going to concentrate even more out there on photography, spurred on by the annual photo contest sponsored by the National Park Foundation.

Courtney Kotewa's winning photo f the Pictured Rocks national Lakeshore
Courtney Kotewa's winning photo of the Pictured Rocks national Lakeshore

The photo accompanying this post was the just-announced winner of the 2013 contest, which brought in more than 20,000 entries. It's from Courtney Kotewa and it is of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which I will visit in mid June. She lives in southern Michugan took the photo last summer during a family vacation. Second place is also from lake Superior. It is of the ice caves that formed along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore this past winter and was taken by Michael DeWitt. He's is from Ashland, WI, not far from the Apostle Islands. We plan to visit the Apostle Island National Lakeshore in late June

After that we head west. To Glacier. Yellowstone. The Canyonlands and more. In the fall, the Great Smoky Mountains National park is on the planned trip list. So is another visit to Everglades National Park.

I've been browsing this year's winners. I can't wait to get out there.

A complete list of 2013 winners and their photos are available for viewing at

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, is the main sponsor of the annual contest, which encourages amateur photographers to explore the nation’s federal lands and share their experiences by capturing and submitting their favorite shots. The winning picture may also be featured on the annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

The 2014 contest is well under way. Photos must be taken from Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2014.

The grand prize for the winning image is $10,000, followed by $5,000 and $3,000 for second and third place, in addition to outdoor gear provided by Celestron, hotel packages courtesy of Historic Hotels of America, and an annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass. There are also prizes for fan favorites and the following six category winners:

  • Adventure and Outdoor Recreation
  • Historical and Cultural
  • Scenic, Seasons, and Landscapes
  • Let’s Move Outside
  • Wildlife
  • Night Skies (a new category for the 2014 contest)

Share the Experience is the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal recreation lands. The 2014 contest is sponsored by the National Park Foundation, ACTIVE Network, and Celestron in partnership with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and The contest entries showcase the more than 500 million acres of federal lands and draws entries from all across the United States.

Bookmark this post. To enter a photo for this year's contest, go to:

See you out there…

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • Looks like Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore

  • Lake superior? That’s what it looks like to me

  • This is beautiful

  • Munising, MI. Love the U.P.

  • Absolutely Devine!

  • My husband and I got to go through a cave at the coast in southern Ca. a few years ago on sea kayaks, it was fun.

  • Dreaming of retirement !!

  • Visited here last summer. It’s breathtaking!

  • Wow

  • Wish I was there!

  • Where is it? I’ll like to go

  • Awesome photos


  • Awesome!!

  • I have seen something like that out of Seward,AK

  • Cool pic

  • Cette photo me rappel de bons souvenir merci

  • Want to be here

  • My dream

  • I love taking pictures in our parks also. Some time I will have to enter one of the contests. I did meet a person in the Tetons that have me a business card with his blog page on it. I did not think much about it until one day I looked at it and wow, I check it out almost as much as I check out roadtrecking. Great photography tips and great photos he takes. Also a must to any traveler to the Grand Tetons. I hope that you and any other of your followers may find it as useful as i do.

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