The Buzz Magazines 2020 Photo Contest
After reviewing more than 1,300 submitted images, we are pleased to present the winners of The Buzz Magazines’ 15th annual photo contest. Congratulations to all and especially to our Grand Prize winner, 18-year old Luke Chapman.
With any contest like this, the process is subjective. However, there are basic principles of photography that must be met, such as lighting, focus, exposure and composition. And there are personal elements to consider: subject, emotion and storytelling. Judging is blind, as the judges do not see names or any information about the photographers.
We also let our readers vote. We posted the 45 finalists on our Facebook page, and the photos that received the most “Likes” became our Readers’ Choice winners.
The Buzz Magazines’ annual photo contest is open to all amateur photographers, so keep that in mind as you are shooting pictures in the upcoming year. Watch for next year’s call for entries on our website, social media and in the March 2021 print issue. Thanks to everyone who entered, our judges, our readers who voted online, and our contest sponsor, Telluride Ski & Golf Resort.
Rainy Night, Grand Prize Winner
Luke Chapman, 18, took this photo of his friend Hannah at CityCentre, next to the neon sign for the burger joint Hopdoddy. Luke, who graduated from Memorial High School this year, was enrolled in a photography course and took this photo as part of his investigation of urban night photography. “I get a lot of inspiration from Brandon Woelfel, so I knew I wanted to get a portrait using a neon sign to light the subject’s face,” said Luke. “I also used a half-shattered prism to reflect water droplets and play with light reflections on the subject’s face.”
This candid portrait touched all of the judges for its honest and unpretentious rendering of the subject. The pleasing composition, with the subject positioned left of center, coupled with the mixed natural light sources and unique perspective made this photograph a winner.
“The maker of this image did a wonderful job with the light. It’s interesting, and the viewer has to think to interpret what they are viewing. The maker also used a pleasing composition, having the subject in the third, not center. The colors are pleasing and it’s an interesting image, leaving a lot up to the viewer, including the subject’s expression, to interpret.” – Nikky LaWell
“Luke Chapman’s candid portrait of a young lady under an umbrella touched all of the judges for its honest and unpretentious rendering of the subject. The mixed natural light sources added color, and the rain streaks added texture and contributed to the naturalness of the capture. Positioning her head on the left of center strengthens the composition – she has ‘room to look,’ even though she is looking at the camera and not out of frame. A sweet portrait.” – Michael Hart
“While there were many great images that we considered for the top selection, this particular image really caught my eye. It has a very unique perspective, unusual and interesting lighting, and has a real ‘captured moment’ feel to it versus something that was planned or staged. The image made me curious: What was this girl doing? Where is she? And her expression is wonderful, sort of like ‘OK, I’m caught in the rain, let’s get out of here,’ and yet a slight smile of intrigue. Congratulations to the photographer who created this image.” – Terry Vine
“The rainy-evening image of the woman with the umbrella immediately spoke of a creative viewpoint. The lighting, shapes and reflections were candid, reflecting this beautiful mood and mysterious subject and moment in time. The spontaneity of this moment is perfectly featured in this image, captured by the photographer’s vision and artistic skill.” – Carol Andrews
Ride As Far into the Sun, Second Place/Action
Alexandra Schoener, 15, took this photo of herself while she was “attempting to stand on the water” at Sam Rayburn lake. She set up her phone on the beach, set it on self-timer mode and started taking photos. She was eager to get a shot with the sunset in the background. “After many failed attempts and me soaking wet, I captured the perfect shot,” she says. This photo also received third place in our Readers’ Choice Contest.
Beauty at the Boutique, First Place/People
Alexandra Schoener took this photo at Drybar in the Rice Village on the day of her graduation from St. Thomas More Parish School. “The boutique chair and the curled hair just set up for the perfect vintage look. All the photo needed was a finishing black and white filter,” she said.
In the Darkness, Light, Third Place/Nature
Jan Buchholtz, 63, took this photo after a surprising fall freeze at Brazos Bend State Park. She noticed a great egret across the pond, standing in the dark thicket of vertical branches and a large fallen tree. “This beacon in the shadows inspired me to memorialize the scene,” she says.
Teton Sunrise, Second Place/Landscapes
Mitch Boeck, 32, took this photo of the Grand Teton mountain range during a sunrise last June. “My dad and I had to get up around 4 a.m. that morning to make it here in time for sunrise,” says Mitch. “It was cloudy when we arrived, but the clouds cleared just enough for the light to hit the mountains early and cast that red/orange color on the peaks … I was able to take several images as the light changed, which made them all very different, but this ended up being my favorite. It was an amazing morning with my dad that I won’t forget!” This photo also received fourth place in our Readers’ Choice Contest.
Underwater Fun, Fourth Place/Action
Mauricio Recinos, 49, took this photo last year on a hot day with his daughters at the pool. “Isabella saw me and began to swim towards me,” Mauricio recalls. “I am sure she wanted to splash me. I had my camera with me and was able to take a photo just as she was about to reach me. She was smiling, maybe because, as I suspected, she splashed me with water.”
Soft Kitty, Second Place/Animals
Zeah Crabtrey, 17, took this photo of her rescue cat, Junior, as he was lying on large dog bed in front of a window at Zeah’s home. “The sun was hitting just right and warming his soft fur,” says Zeah. “I wanted to capture a moment of innocence and serenity for him.” Junior has cerebellar hypoplasia, so he lacks fine motor skills, balance and coordination. Zeah says he brings laughter and joy to her family, and he thinks he’s as big as his canine companions. “Sometimes I’m not even sure he knows he’s a cat!”
Lower Half Dome in Mirror Lake, First Place/Landscapes
Luke Chapman took this photo while with his family in Yosemite National Park. Here, he captured Half Dome, a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, reflected in Mirror Lake. “The name of the lake obviously hints at having good reflections, so I decided to give it a go,” says Luke, who was interested in reflection photography at the time. “The lake wasn’t very full of water and there was intermittent rainfall that would disturb the lake’s surface, so a lot of bushwhacking and patience went into finding the right spot for this shot.”
Study Spot, Third Place/People
John Sanson, 35, took this photo at Pearland Coffee Roasters, where he used to be a manager. “This was a regular customer,” said John of the photo’s subject. “He came in often while in nursing school.” John was captivated by the customer’s determination and endurance through his nursing program, and he sought to capture that through this visual.
Flock, Third Place/Animals
Mauricio Recinos took this photo when he was in Galveston with his family last year just before the start of the 2019-20 school-year. “The weather was nice, not too hot and a little windy,” Mauricio recalls. “We were on the beach, and I saw a flock of seagulls approaching. They were taking advantage of the wind and were just gliding above us … I grabbed my camera and took some pictures.”
Contender, Third Place/Action
Matt Muliadi, 25, took this photo of Thomas Edwards, a 2018 graduate of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, during Notre Dame University’s 90th annual Bengal Bouts boxing tournament. The annual tournament is a fundraiser supporting the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh, and Matt calls it one of the most rewarding experiences while at Notre Dame. “I definitely felt that I had a unique opportunity to use the skills that I have developed in this style of photography to create pictures that I personally felt very close to,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to capture moments from the tournament that depicts the emotion and energy that you can feel in the room.”
Texas Sunflowers, First Place/Nature
Macala Elliott, 23, captured this image in a field of Texas sunflowers at her family ranch in Beeville. She was wandering through the never-ending sunflower field on what happened to be her 23rd birthday last summer, trying to photograph the flowers with the sun. “I wandered through the field until I was drawn to this particular confident sunflower,” she says. “The way the sun shone through the yellow petals really completed the shot for me. Out of hundreds of photos of this field, I feel that this image best captured the hope and magic of the moment.”
Cline River Winter, Third Place/Landscapes
Whitni Parker, 41, took this aerial photo of the Cline River and tall pine trees covered in winter snow when she was visiting the Canadian Rockies in December. She captured this image after take-off in a helicopter, en route for a snowshoe hike. “I thought it was such a beautiful vantage point seeing the pine trees and the blue of the glacier river water with ice scattered along the banks from above.”
Kids Being Kids, Second Place/People
Edna Senel, 34, captured this shot of her three daughters enjoying time outdoors during Easter weekend this year. She said she loved the way the light came through the tree while her children were playing outdoors, in their own world, during the coronavirus pandemic. “I love spontaneous moments of my children, and a beautiful scenery around them made a perfect moment.”
Annie, First Place/Readers’ Choice
Dana Katz, 43, took this photo of her youngest child, Annie, 11, during the quarantine period this year. “Annie peeked her head out of the window of our parked minivan, and I snapped the picture from the driver’s seat when I was testing out my new lens,” said Dana.
A Ray of Hope, Second Place/Nature
Jan Buchholtz took this photo of a leaf of a Louisiana iris in March 2020. She was walking around Hermann Park, practicing social distancing while getting some morning exercise in. “Spring blossoms garnered everyone’s attention, but I was drawn to the leaves of this Louisiana iris,” she says. “Everything was wrapped in dew. One leaf, so heavy with droplets, bowed downward and reflected the light. This optimistic-seeming bright ray in the shade became my photo subject, not the flower.”
Hello There, First Place/Animals
Tori Hill, 28, took this photo of a chicken last November when she was visiting Fredericksburg. “I was exploring the area where our Airbnb was, and I just loved how curious the animals were being,” she said. “It was golden hour so you can see, on the left side of the chicken, he is glowing because of the sun setting.”
Friends Forever, Fourth Place/People
Mauricio Recinos took this photo of his daughter Isabella and the Recinos’ dog Chica while at home this February. Isabella and Chica spend a lot of time together, and one day, Isabella asked her dad if he could take a photo of them. Mauricio says it took only a couple of shots to get this photo. “Both of them did a great job,” he says. “This photo shows how good they look together. It shows that no matter what, they always will be BFFs.”
Calla Lily, Fourth Place/Nature
Mauricio Recinos took this photo of a calla lily he noticed when he was visiting his parents’ house last year. “The beauty of this particular flower lies in its simplicity,” he says. “Just two parts, the spathe and the spadix, and this one had just two colors, white and yellow. It was facing the sun, and its cone-like shape made it look very beautiful. Also, I like how this photo looks in black and white; just different shades of two colors, simple, yet beautiful.”
Diving, First Place/Action
Mauricio Recinos took this photo of his daughter Isabella while on vacation in the Cayman Islands. The water was clear and calm, and Mauricio grabbed his sports camera just in time to go under water and take a few shots. He says Isabella was just about to reach the bottom when he took this photograph. “I was lucky to be there at the right moment,” he says, “and being black and white makes it more interesting and dramatic.”
Early Morning Breakfast!, Fourth Place/Animals
Loyd Dalton, 72, took this photo of an osprey with a large mullet in its talons. “I had traveled to the beach on Feb. 6 of this year to take images of the sunrise and was on my way back to Houston when I spotted the raptor flying with the fish in its talons,” says Loyd. “He landed on the log, and when I started taking the images, a flock of grackles flew in and around the osprey, and I was able to capture both the osprey and the grackles in one image.”
Matterhorn Milky Way, Fourth Place/Landscapes
Darren Inoff, 51, took this photo of The Milky Way from the observation deck at 23100 Kulmhotel Gornegrat, the highest hotel in the Swiss Alps. “I had always wanted to take a picture of The Milky Way but had never had the opportunity. Being at such an iconic location as The Matterhorn provided the ideal circumstances. l had one chance to capture this image, and all the conditions lined up perfectly to make this happen.”
Leopard Spotting Antelope, Second Place/Readers’ Choice
Joe Schmitt, 72, took this photo last summer in Chief’s Camp, a private reserve in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. “Our guide spotted the male leopard in the bush during a morning game drive and tracked him for nearly an hour,” Joe recalls. “After watching him stalking antelope and taking multiple shots, we left him to continue his hunt.”
Michael Hart has provided photographic images to corporations, design firms and advertising agencies for almost 40 years. His assignments have taken him to 49 states and more than 30 countries. Michael’s work is consistently represented in the international Black & White Spider Awards, and an image appears in its book, The World’s Greatest Black and White Photography. Recent exhibits include the New York Center for Photographic Art, Southeast Center for Photography, and A Smith Gallery in Johnson City. Recent accolades include local Gold and Silver ADDY awards and a national ADDY award from the American Advertising Federation. He is a member of the national board of directors of the American Society of Media Photographers. His book, Biggio: The Final Game, is in the library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and a photo from it is in The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. www.hartphoto.com, www.michaelhartfineart.com, [email protected]
Nikky LaWell, certified professional photographer and master craftsman photographer from the Professional Photographers of America, holds a BFA in photography from the University of Houston and owns a boutique studio specializing in family portraits with a personal perspective. Nikky has been the keeper of memories for the most important of moments, from babies and graduations to weddings and promotions. She is known for listening closely to her clients and coming up with ideas for intimate and creative photography sessions. Nikky says a strong photo compels viewers to react and evokes a genuine emotional response. Her awards include “Best Portrait of a Senior Professional” from the Professional Photographers Guild of Houston, “Best Wedding” from the Southwest Professional Photographers Association, “Best Wedding” from the Texas Professional Photographers Association, and the illustrious Kodak Gallery Award. Her images have been selected for the international FotoFest exhibition and the International Loan Collection of the Professional Photographers of America. lawellphoto.com [email protected]
Master craftsman photographer Carol Andrews loves to create the magic of a photograph. Over the last 20 years, her award-winning photographs have included exhibitions at Photokina in Cologne, Germany; Disney’s Epcot theme park and the International Masters Loan Collection of the Professional Photographers of America. Her work has been acquired by the Sherman Hines Museum of Photography in Nova Scotia, Canada. She teaches and judges photography and art internationally and has had various shows of her fine art photography. Her photographic designs are featured on her line of umbrellas, silk scarves and stationery. “Photography is my visual love language. I enjoy creating and sharing beauty and imagery with others.” Carol Andrews Fine Art, [email protected]
Recently named one of the 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide by Lürzer's Archive, Terry Vine is an advertising and lifestyle photographer who specializes in creating custom images for the healthcare, hospitality and corporate industries. His ability to capture the essence of an experience as it relates to a destination has landed him assignments around the world and earned numerous awards. His work has been featured in Communications Arts, Graphis Photo, Print, American Photography, Applied Arts and PDN Photo annuals. Terry's fine art images are in many museum and private collections around the country. Having grown up in Ohio, Terry now lives in Texas with his wife, two young children and a rambunctious Golden Retriever named Ranger. www.terryvine.com, [email protected]
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