Tag Archives: outdoor photography

Aurora Photographers Win Big in PDN’s Great Outdoors Contest

PDN just announced the 2016 winners of The Great Outdoors photography contest in categories including Action/Adventure, Landscapes, Beaches/Underwater, and Wildlife/Insects. Open to both pro and amateur shooters, The Great Outdoors contest celebrates the beautiful vistas, diverse wildlife and adventure that make our planet so unique.

We’re excited to share that several Aurora photographers, which we entered into the contest, were selected as winners in 3 out of the 4 professional categories including Sean Naugle who won the Grand prize in the Professional Action/Adventure category.

Our first place winners included Paul Zizka in the Landscapes category and Sergio Villalba in the Beaches/Underwater category. Chris Schmid and Chris Ross were also selected as winners in the Action/Adventure and Beaches/Underwater categories. Additionally, 3 more of our photographers, Adam Clark, Krystle Wright and Alasdair Turner won with their own independent entries in the Action/Adventure and Wildlife/Insects categories, respectively.

Although it’s always a challenge to select only a few pieces to submit from our photographers’ great body of imagery it’s also extremely rewarding and validating to have their fantastic work recognized on such a big stage by a wide variety of  judges.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Check out our photographers’ winning imagery below and browse the entire winner’s gallery here.

Grand Prize Winner: Sean Naugle

Professional kiteboarder Matt Thames catches huge air in the backcountry near Fairfield, Idaho.
Professional kiteboarder Matt Thames catches huge air in the backcountry near Fairfield, Idaho.

First Place Professional, Landscapes: Paul Zizka

Ice climbing under the aurora borealis in Athabasca, Canada.
Ice climbing under the aurora borealis in Athabasca, Canada.

First Place Professional, Beaches/Underwater: Sergio Villalba

A woman ducks under a wave.
A woman ducks under a wave.

Winner Professional, Action/Adventure: Chris Schmid

An aerial shot of a surfer, captured above Brazil's Praia Mole beach in Florianopolis.
An aerial shot of a surfer, captured above Brazil’s Praia Mole beach in Florianopolis.

Winner Professional, Beaches/Underwater: Chris Ross

Offshore fishermen catching sailfish and dolphin fish in the waters off Guatemala
Offshore fishermen catching sailfish and dolphin fish in the waters off Guatemala

Winner Professional, Action/Adventure: Adam Clark

Sage Cattabriga-Alosa descends the Neacola Mountains in Alaska.
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa descends the Neacola Mountains in Alaska.

Winner Professional, Action/Adventure: Krystle Wright

Steph Davis ascends The Joker 5.12d near Moab, Utah.
Steph Davis ascends The Joker 5.12d near Moab, Utah.

Winner Professional, Landscapes and Wildlife/Insects: Alasdair Turner

A crack runs across the surface of the Ross Sea in Antarctica
A crack runs across the surface of the Ross Sea in Antarctica
A weddell seal in a breathing hole in the sea ice of the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
A weddell seal in a breathing hole in the sea ice of the Ross Sea, Antarctica.



New Images for August

High Five with the photographer

August brings a plethora of diverse images and a few new photographers to our community! Exotic travel and adventures abound, from waterfall “showers” in Iceland to volcanic hikes in Bromo, Java and from hot air balloons in Egypt to raft camping along the Alsek River in Alaska. There’s epic alpining in the pacific northwest, relaxing canoeing in the northeast and leisurely activities, like skipping stones or taking in the views at Glacier National Park. August is full of other activities too! We’ve got skateboarding frustration, sunset enjoyment with a canine companion, surfing high fives, runner meet-ups, fitness fanatics and slippery rainbow trout.

See all of the best in outdoor living, plus an ashamed walrus, in this month’s curated gallery embracing the outdoors:  http://www.auroraphotos.com/result?webseries_id=14734

Celebrating Acadia National Park’s 100th Birthday

On July 8th, 2016 Acadia National Park celebrated a gigantic milestone — its 100th birthday!  As the oldest national park east of the Mississippi, and with the nickname “Jewel of the Maine Coast,” Acadia is a beloved park for locals and visitors alike.  In fact, Acadia is the fifth smallest national park in the country but one of the top ten visited. Just in 2014 alone, more than 2.5 million visitors flocked to the park to enjoy the breathtaking vistas along the Atlantic coastline, the variety of lakes and ponds, the more than 150 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads and 26 mountains that the park offers!

Established originally in 1916 as SIur de Monts National Monument and later renamed (twice), Acadia is not only the oldest eastern national park but the first created from private lands gifted to the public through the efforts of conservation-minded citizens.

Supporters and friends of Acadia will be collaborating throughout the rest of the year to continue the community-based celebration in which hundreds of partners will honor Acadia by expressing their bond with the park — whether it be through events, programs, products, or works of art.

Since the Aurora family is based in Maine and Acadia truly is our little jewel of the coast, we thought it would be great to help celebrate the centennial by asking some of our photographers what Acadia has meant for them. Check out their responses below!

Centennial celebration. Photo by Winky Lewis

What does Acadia National Park mean to you?

Chris Bennett, outdoor photographer, http://www.cbennettphoto.com : When I’m out west and tell people I’m from Maine, I often hear people say that they loved Acadia, that it was one of their favorite parks. They see grand mountains all the time; it’s great to have a park in my back yard that is a little different. It may not offer expansive wilderness or huge mountains, but you really get a sense of the raw ocean and the simplicity of life as a fisherman from the smell of the salt air. It’s a completely alien experience for someone in a landlocked state like Wyoming or Colorado.

Jake Wyman, commercial and outdoor photographer, http://www.jakewyman.com: It’s one of my favorite places in the world, for the natural beauty, dramatic coastlines and the places where I can find serenity and quiet.

What is your favorite season / month to visit Acadia, and why?

Jerry Monkman, documentarian, outdoor / conservation photographer, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Acadia National Parkhttp://archive.ecophotography.com: All of them. Winter for the cross country skiing. Spring for the quiet beauty without the crowds. Summer for the spectacular weather and insane energy. And fall for classic New England foliage.

Wyman: Fall and Winter, for different reasons; The Fall for the clear air, brilliant colors, and fewer people.

A woman runs at sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, Maine.
A woman runs at sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, Maine.

What is your favorite trail / hike in Acadia, and why?

Bennett: The short, easy trail to Ship Harbor on the western side of the island is a favorite. Excellent views for a small effort. Anytime I get a chance to get to the western side I do, there are always less crowds. Some of the western carriage roads offer the same solitude, such as the one up and over Parkman Mountain, or the one to the top of Day Mountain. Both are quite a climb by bike but worth the effort. Any trail on Isle Au Haut is worth the effort, you can only get there by ferry or personal watercraft, and there is a sense of raw and wild island life that you don’t get on the big island. Duck Harbor is also the only place to primitive camp in the park.

Monkman: I love doing a loop hike up and over Sargent and Penobscot Mountains near Jordan Pond. Amazing views and lots of blueberries in July.

Winky Lewis, children / lifestyle photographer, http://winkylewisphoto.com: My very favorite trail there is the one up Duck Mountain. It is quick and easy. It was a great trail for my kids when they were younger and now when we hike it my dogs cover the distance about 10 times over because they circle from my kids up ahead and then back to me about a hundred times before I reach the top. There is a wonderful view from the top! So beautiful.

What is something rare you have seen at Acadia?

Monkman: Watching Peregrine falcons dive bombing from Eagle Cliff while I was photographing Somes Sound. They go frighteningly fast.

Bennett: Taking a late evening spring walk along the Jesup Path, I watched an owl feed for several minutes, swooping down into the tall grass from its perches in the trees.

Sunrise, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Sunrise, Acadia National Park, Maine.

What is your favorite memory in Acadia?

Monkman: Hiking the Bubbles with my kids, eating wild blueberries the entire time, and following it up with tea and popovers at The Jordan Pond House. We’ve done it every year since they were born and even as teenagers it’s what they look forward to most on our trips to the park.

Wyman: Being alone on the top of deserted Cadillac Mountain before sunrise in the middle of February or January.

Lewis: I am lucky enough to have grown up spending time on Mt. Desert Island in the summer, so many of those trails in the park on MDI are full of wonderful memories for me. My friends and I would take off and go on some fun adventures, often ending up at Jordan Pond for popovers. Now, with my own family, I spend time in the summers on Isle Au Haut, of which about half is Acadia.

What keeps you coming back, year after year?

Wyman: Every time that I visit Acadia, I find someplace new.

Monkman: My wife and I have visited every year since 1989 and we just love the combination of dramatic ocean scenery with great hiking up granite domes, paddling in Frenchman Bay, and the ability to choose between dozens of restaurants at dinner.

A clearing storm near Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park.
A clearing storm near Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park.

Do you have any tips for amateur / young photographers on how to get the most out of Acadia?

Bennett: Get up early, go on the shoulder seasons, find someplace off the beaten path to make a compelling picture.

Wyman: Don’t be overwhelmed by the landscapes; there are plenty of beautiful details to be found. Be sure to visit Schoodic and Isle Au Haut. Try to “see” with your own eyes; there are millions of beautiful images which have been made in ANP, but search for your own original vision.

Monkman: Get up early to beat the crowds to the photo hot spots and to take advantage of that sweet Maine coast sunrise light.


To learn more about Acadia National Park and the 2016 Centennial, please visit the Acadia 2016 Centennial website.

New Images for July

Surfer captured in Praia Mole located in Florianopolis, Brazil.

Summer time is here and things are heating up! Our photographers are embracing the outdoors and trying to find ways to cool off: kayak racing through falls in Vermont, lake and river plunges in Idaho, snorkeling in Mexico, surfing in Indonesia, spear fishing in California and sailing in Spain and France. Some are beating the heat by heading up…way up! Summiting and skiing mountains in Colorado and Alaska, camping at Needle Peak in BC or skiing at Kirkwood Mountain Resort in Tahoe are just some of the alpine activities this month. And what would summer be without travel? From a monastery in India to surfing in Brazil, fireworks in Banff to fly fishing in Samoa, and canoeing in Tasmania to birds-eye views of birds in Svalbard, our photographers got around!

See all that, plus loons, lonely bison, osprey and the best in the realms of outdoor lifestyle and adventure in this month’s curated gallery of outdoor living: http://www.auroraphotos.com/result?webseries_id=14734