Rural Missouri - January 2012 - (Page 17)

Rural Missouri’s inaugural state park photo contest draws nearly 1,700 entries by Jason Jenkins hen we announced this summer that we had teamed up with Missouri State Parks to bring you the first-ever Missouri Snapshots Photo Contest, we’ll admit we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. Although we have sponsored other reader contests in the past — such as the perennial favorite, Best of Rural Missouri — we didn’t know how many shutterbugs would send us their photographs. Talk about worrying about nothing. Entries trickled in at the beginning, but as the deadline approached, that trickle soon became a roaring torrent. During the final week, mail tubs full of photographs arrived daily. In the end, we received a total of 1,687 photographs across the five contest categories. Some entered photos in every category; others entered just a single photograph. We even had a few teachers who turned the contest into an enterprising class assignment for their students. Nearly every one of Missouri’s 85 state parks and historic sites was represented among the entries. They came from well-known parks such as Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Ha Ha Tonka and lesser-known parks such as Crowder, Van Meter and Wakonda. In November, judges selected 10 semifinalists in each category. From these, the final winners — which appear below and on the next three pages — were selected. As we talked to those whose photographs made it to the semifinals, the reasons Missourians love their state parks system became apparent. Foremost among them was the wide array of natural and cultural resources that can be explored at Missouri’s state parks and historic sites. From grist mills and covered bridges to the birthplace of favorite son Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, the state parks system offers a glimpse of Missouri history like no other entity. Combined, there are more than 145,000 acres to explore in state parks and historic sites, and more than 900 miles of trail on which to do it. Camping, hiking, biking, fishing and swimming are just a few activities you can enjoy along the way. Another reason folks love their state parks is affordable access. Unlike some states, Missouri charges no general admission or day-use fee. That means a family on a budget can enjoy a day together at a state park without worrying about how to finance the outing. And for services which have a fee, the value far outweighs the cost. Many contest winners cited they visit state parks often — in some cases daily — which helps explain how they were able to capture their winning images. “I’m pleased, but not surprised, at the response to the contest,” says Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. “People love their state parks, and this is reflected in the subjects they chose to photograph and keep as memories.” During the judging, some trends emerged among the winning entries. First was the use of light. Photos taken early in the day or late in the afternoon took advantage of the golden light that makes for dynamic photographs. Another common thread among the winners was their ability to capture the moment. Whether it was the look of pure joy on a child’s face or waiting for an animal to strike just the right pose, the winning entries went beyond snapping mere record shots of an event or place. “Overall, we were all impressed by the variety of images entered in the contest,” says Rural Missouri Editor Jim McCarty. “There were so many quality photos, especially in the wildlife category. It really was tough to whittle it down to the top three.” Each first-place photographer wins a Missouri State Parks Getaway Package valued at $500. For a description of each package, see the bottom of page 20. Second-place photographers each receive a Missouri State Parks gift basket valued at $100. Thirdplace photographers each receive a $50 Missouri State Parks gift card. “Rural Missouri and Missouri State Parks share a common goal of promoting our rural treasures,” says Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, noting that most state parks and historic sites are served by electric co-ops. “We look forward to continuing this partnership toward that goal in the future.” Learn more about Missouri State Parks online at or call 800-334-6946. MISSOURI SNAPSHOTS 2ND FUN ST 1 3RD ON THE WATER 1st: “A Colorful Splash” by Michelle Cole, Poplar Bluff. The Cole family headed to Johnson’s ShutIns State Park last August to cool off. There, Michelle photographed her 17-year-old son, Brandon, dousing his 3-year-old sister, Haven, with the cool, clear water. “With six children, there’s not a lot you can do that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg,” she says. “So we camp a lot, and we try to go to state parks when we do.” 2nd: “Tubin’” by Tom Ward, Russellville. Last summer, Tom captured this image of his great-nieces, 10-year-old Mattie Weber and 5-year-old Mariah Bostick-Jones, along with Mariah’s mother, Casey, while enjoying a day at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. 3rd: “Shall We Gather at the River” by Jim Harris, Alamogordo, N.M. Originally from Lamar, Jim vacationed in the Show-Me State last July and met up with friends at Bennett Spring State Park where he snapped this image. He says Missouri’s state parks are among the best he’s visited nationwide while traveling in his RV. JANUARY 2012 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2012

Rural Missouri - January 2012
Table of Contents
Superior steel
Facing ‘extreme men’
Return to the prairie
Out of the Way Eats
Missouri snapshots
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Woven in tradition
Around Missouri
The Nimblewill Nomad

Rural Missouri - January 2012