Read the stories behind the top photos in the 2013 Idaho Outdoors/Idaho Camera Photo Contest

rphillips@idahostatesman.comJuly 31, 2013 

Here are the stories behind the top photos in the 2013 Idaho Outdoors/Idaho Camera Photo Contest:

GRAND PRIZE: Vincent Anzalone

Many pictures have a good story behind them, including this one of Redfish Lake. While the photo conveys a sense of tranquility, the events that led up to it were anything but.

“After a night of staying up worried about a wild bear that was hanging around my camp, I woke up around 10 a.m.,” Anzalone wrote on the photo’s description.

“I stayed there for a little bit, just laying there looking at the top of my tent and absorbing the sound of tiny waves hitting the shore of the lake.

“It was a blissful experience to wake up to such a sound. Opening the tent, the view I saw was incredible. The sounds, the view, the experience was all just beyond words.

“I took the rain fly off the tent and then climbed inside to take this picture. I wanted to give people a sense of how it felt to wake up in this amazingly beautiful area,” he wrote.

Anzalone, 23, is currently a pizza cook at Old Chicago in Boise, but he plans to return to college at Boise State University in the fall.

He said he was never a good photographer, and even photos taken with a basic point-and-shoot camera would turn out poorly composed and out of focus.

But in January, he bought a Nikon DSLR camera and started learning the art of photography. He gravitated toward landscapes, calling it his “zen meditative thing.” 

“It gives me an excuse not to think about other things,” he said.

The Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley are his favorite place to shoot photos, and the winning photo was a favorite even before entering it in the contest.

“That one got a lot of love from my friends and family,” he said.

As grand prize winner, Anzalone won a Pentax K-30 weatherproof DSLR from Idaho Camera.

FIRST PLACE: Tony Johannsen

“We usually spend a few days over the Fourth of July holiday with some friends and always hike up to see this view. The beaver dam in the photo creates a really nice, deep, and also cold, place to jump on in. This is my friend’s son, Mike Borton, flipping into the frigidity. It has to be one of my favorite places in Idaho,” Johannsen wrote.

He won a Lowepro camera system backpack from Idaho Camera.

SECOND PLACE: Spike Baker

Baker was returning from the wildlife mecca of Yellowstone National Park and decided to stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument for the night. “In the morning, we found this red fox exploring through the campground,” he wrote.

Baker won a 20-inch by 30-inch custom canvas gallery wrap from Idaho Camera for his image.

THIRD PLACE: Charles Knowles

Despite returning to the ­Camas Prairie near Fairfield every year, Charles Knowles says he never knows what to expect. “This year was good for the camas, and I got lucky with a fantastic sunrise. I tried to position the camera low to highlight the camas lilies.” 

He won a Promaster shooter’s vest from Idaho Camera.

FIRST PLACE, YOUTH 12 AND YOUNGER: Carly Johannsen, 11

“We have kestrel boxes in our backyard, and every spring, the kestrels have chicks. One day I saw one, and I grabbed my camera, ran up the hill and took the picture,” Johannsen wrote. “It took a pretty long time getting the kestrel chick to look at me since it didn’t have much of an attention span.” 

She won a $50 gift certificate to Idaho Camera.

FIRST PLACE, YOUTH OLDER THAN 12: Levi Radford, 17

“I had to make a storybook using pictures. I chose dirt biking, and this is one of my best shots I took that day. It captures my attention when I look at it because of the contrast in colors,” he wrote.

He won a Promaster sling pack from Idaho Camera.

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