It’s hard to imagine a Wyoming photo contest without a picture of an erupting geyser in Yellowstone National Park or a scenic set in front of the Tetons.
But Wyoming Bureau of Land Management staff see the state from a different perspective. They know it intimately through days spent on the range and in the hills away from the national parks. It is this Wyoming you will see in the entries of the agency’s first employee photo contest.
More than 40 employees entered about 180 images, said Cynthia Wertz, a public affairs officer with the BLM. Entries came from every field office in the state, from interns up to district managers.
Wertz, who runs the BLM’s social media accounts, is always asking staff for images to share with the public and is often impressed with what her requests bring in. “We have some extremely talented people in the field,” she said.
The summer contest required only that the photo be taken in Wyoming by a BLM employee. Entries included pictures taken with professional gear and some taken on cell phones.
Images could be entered in three categories: Living in Wyoming, Playing in Wyoming and Working in Wyoming. A three-judge panel also awarded a Best in Show to Gavin Lovell’s image of a prescribed burn.
Photos in Working in Wyoming captured images of employees fighting fires, studying sage grouse and monitoring rangeland improvements.
“We try to tell our story that we are multiple use, but until you see what our specialists are doing in the field, it’s hard to understand the variety of things we’re responsible for,” Wertz said. “The photos put what we do in a different perspective. These on-the-job images show a unique perspective.”
Judges announced the winners about two weeks ago, Wertz said. She plans to print the winning images on canvas and create a traveling display that will visit each field office in 2016.
“We’re really proud to live in Wyoming,” she said, “and you can tell that from the photos.”
You can see all of the entries at this Flickr page.
Best in Show
Gavin Lovell, Prescribed Fire
Living in Wyoming
1st place – Aaron Thompson, Red Canyon
2nd place – Gretchen Hurley, Wildflowers Carter Mountain
3rd place – Charlotte Darling, Middle Fork Canyon
Honorable Mention – Sam Cox, Kurt Triscori, Shawn James, Gavin Lovell
Playing in Wyoming
1st place – Sam Cox, Camping Sunset at Oregon Buttes
2nd place – Phillip Blundell, Killpecker Sand Dunes
3rd place – Nancy Patterson, Fishing on Sweetwater
Honorable Mention – Paul Rau, Larry Zuckerman
Working in Wyoming
1st place – Stephanie Connolly, Practice Makes Perfect
2nd place – Heather Bromberg, Range Improvements
3rd place – Mark Thonhoff, Biologists and Sage Grouse
Honorable Mention – Sarah Beckwith, Larry Zuckerman, Michael Obendorf, Nancy Peterson