2015 North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest winners selected

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Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley today recognized the winning photographs and honorable mentions from the 12th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest in a ceremony in Memorial Hall of the North Dakota Capitol building.

Joining the lieutenant governor in 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 vibrant fall colors of “Teddy’s Cabin” earned Katherine Plessner the Best of Show and Attraction category awards. The Verona photographer also won in the Scenery category for her “Hi Line Train.”

This year’s contest began in May and had more than double the entries from the previous at 1,133.

“Capturing the legendary beauty and history across North Dakota has been a real benefit of the Governor’s Photo Contest, as well as showcasing the talents of our state’s outstanding amateur photographers,” Wrigley said. “Through the lenses of their cameras, we are able to see first-hand all that North Dakota has to offer. It is an honor to help showcase these photos and photographers.”

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, attractions, events, people, scenery and wildlife.

“It is always so much fun to see the variety of photos that are submitted and how each photographer captures our state’s unique landscape and personality,” Otte Coleman said. “This year’s winners are all very talented and their photos help tell North Dakota’s story.”

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 2015 winning photos will be on display during the months of October, November and December at the Capitol in the offices of Governor Jack Dalrymple, First Lady Betsy Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. This is part of a cooperative program between NDCA and the First Lady’s office. Canvas displays were printed and sponsored in part by Mathison’s.

“Seeing the beauty of our state, capturing it in photography, and sharing it with others is a wonderful gift,” said Klingenstein. “The North Dakota photographers who participated in this competition demonstrate how creativity can impact all of our lives.”

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 to the state,” said LaDoucer. “Who better to tell the story than those who are living it?”

This was the sixth 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 North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest is held annually and is open to any North Dakota photographer. Next year’s contest will begin in May 2016. Winning photos can be seen on the North Dakota Tourism website: http://www.ndtourism.com/articles/2015-north-dakota-governors-photo-contest-winners-named.

2015 Governor’s Photo Contest Winners (by category):

Best of Show
Winning Photographer: Katherine Plessner, Verona
Winning photograph: “Teddy’s Cabin”

Adventure Category
Winning photographer: Elliott Klinger, West Fargo
Winning photograph: “Discovery”

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Jeremy Lichtenberger, Fargo

Attraction Category
Winning photographer: Katherine Plessner, Verona
Winning photograph: “Teddy’s Cabin”

Honorable Mentions
Photographer: Joshua Eckl, Grand Forks
“Star Power”

Photographer: Brian Heskin, Minot
“Northern Lights and Norway Church” 

 Events Category
Winning photographer: Lacey Kaiser, Streeter
Winning photograph: “Waving Old Glory”

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Breann Fischer, Grenora
“ND State Fair”

People Category
Winning photographer: Jeremy Fonkert, Bismarck
Winning photograph: “Chippewa Downs”

Honorable Mentions
Photographer: Gordon Weixel, Bismarck

Photographer: Carolyn Moore, Minot
“Bottineau Mural”

Scenery category
Winning photographer: Katherine Plessner, Verona
Winning photograph: “Hi Line Train”

Honorable Mentions
Photographer: Sheri Leas, Rock Lake
“Autumn Sunset”

Photographer: Suzie Bayer, Tuttle
“Perseid Scouting”

Wildlife Category
Winning photographer: Russell Hons, Grand Forks
Winning photograph: “Wild Horse Medora”

Honorable Mention
Photographer: Nicole Njos, Rhame
“Running Beauty”