Share the Experience 2015 Photo Contest Winners
Last edited 9/29/2021
Share the Experience gives amateur photographers the chance to showcase their skills by capturing the beauty of the nation’s public lands and waters. The top-prize photograph, made by Yang Lu of El Segundo, Calif., captures a dramatic sunrise at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah. Winners came from other categories including Historic, Adventure, Night Skies, Scenic, Wildlife and Fan Favorite. The Interior Department's Instagram account showcases stunning photos of America’s public lands and frequently features contest submissions.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah by Yang Lu.
Grand Prize Winner - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area by Yang Lu
A seasoned backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Yang Lu’s determination and research has helped earn him the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest. Yang’s winning image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah, was the result of this engineer’s time and effort reviewing water level data, as well as studying maps of the area in order to make the two-day backpacking excursion last February. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds a deep connection to the lands through the lens of his camera. “My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas,” said Yang about the national parks.
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Photo of Bighorn Sheep in Joshua Tree National Park by Koustabh Kulkarni.
Second Place - Joshua Tree National Park by Koustabh Kulkarni
Koustabh Kulkarni’s passion for exploring outdoor landscapes, along with his wife’s keen eye, have landed him 2nd place honors in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest. Last October, the couple headed south to Joshua Tree National Park. Hopeful to see the park’s native bighorn sheep, the couple had struck out until their final day in the park. “We had been camping in Joshua Tree and had wanted to hike the 49 Palms Trail. We were on the trail at sunset, not sure if we could even complete it. As we were walking, my wife saw some movement in the distance.” With only his basic camera and no zoom lens, the couple pressed on to capture a few snapshots of the herd. “We were looking at them and they were looking at us -- it was the perfect moment. We were just so elated to see the sheep. And, all the credit to my wife, who actually spotted them.”
Photo by Koustabh Kulkarni (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The salt flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park by Sarah Gustafson.
Third Place Winner - Death Valley National Park by Sarah Gustafson
Sarah Gustafson grew up exploring the East Coast with a fervor that led to a desire to see what else the U.S. had to offer. The photo that won her 3rd place in the Share the Experience photo contest was taken Memorial Day weekend in 2015 on one of her many solo camping trips. Sarah opted to visit a landscape she had not yet explored, Death Valley National Park. Upon seeing the salt flats, Sarah remembers, “I did some research before I left but in my mind the hexagonal salt formations weren’t more than a foot across…I had it totally wrong.” Hiking into the flats she was amazed by the unique formations and set up her tripod hoping the sun would peak through storm clouds that had followed her all day. For 30 seconds there was a break and the sun shined through, providing just enough time to set the timer and jump into the scene giving her the composition she needed to express the scope and breadth of the magnificent landscape.
Photo by Sarah Gustafson (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The Milky Way over Badlands National Park in South Dakota by Erik Fremstad.
Night Skies Winner - Badlands National Park by Erick Fremstad
Winner of the Night Skies category, photographer Erik Fremstad said this about his amazing shot, "The dark skies in the Badlands of South Dakota allow for some of the best night skies in North America. Green airglow, caused by electrons reattaching to oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules, encompasses the Milky Way, adding to its mystic. Formations over 75 million years old, mainly the result of deposition and erosion, under billions of stars in our galaxy, words and photos cannot express the awesomeness of seeing it in person."
Photo by Erik Fremstad (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Photo of a kayaker in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah by Rebecca Wilks.
Adventure winner - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area by Rebecca Wilks
There's no better way to explore the many geologic wonders of Lake Powell than in a kayak. Part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell is one of the largest man-made lakes in North America and features many geologic wonders. Rebecca Wilks is the Adventure winner of the Share the Experience photo contest for her amazing picture of a kayaker under an arch at Lake Powell.
Photo by Rebecca Wilks (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The ruins of Cedar Mesa in Utah by David Regela.
Historical Winner - Cedar Mesa by David Regela
Located in Utah, Cedar Mesa is hidden gem that's worth exploring. Cedar Mesa's Mule Canyon is home to a number of preserved Anasazi structures, including this granary called the House on Fire. During a single season at a particular time of day, refracted sunlight funnels into this Anasazi alcove, conjuring an ephemeral glow that's truly breathtaking. It's no surprise that David Regela's photo from this precise moment is the Share the Experience photo contest winner in the historical category.
Photo by David Regela (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico by Steve Ancik
Scenic Winner - Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area by Steve Ancik
This out-of-this-world pic of Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area by Steve Ancik is the scenic winner in the Share the Experience photo contest. The New Mexico landmark protects spectacular badlands of rolling water-carved clay hills that show colors rarely seen elsewhere. With little vegetation to conceal geological formations, it's easy to spot the area's rich fossils.
Photo by Steve Ancik (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Photo of two young friends in Virgin Islands National Park by Kimberly Hall.
Every Kid in a Park Winner - Virgin Islands National Park by Kimberly Hall
Photographer Kimberly Hall tells the story behind this fun photo, "Relaxing at Maho Bay in Virgin Islands National Park. New friends are easily found in paradise! These two little buddies are now penpals and are planning their next adventure."
Photo by Kimberly Hall (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Photo of Iron Cross Blister Beetles on a tree in Saguaro National Park by Brent Wauer.
Wildlife Winner - Saguaro National Park by Brent Wauer
Here's an amazing close-up shot of Iron Cross Blister Beetles on a tree in Saguaro National Park. Photographer Brent Wauer had quite an astute eye to catch these fascinating insects in such detail.
Photo by Brent Wauer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Photo of a bison in Yellowstone National Park by Matthew Sorum
Fan Favorite Winner - Yellowstone National Park by Matthew Sorum
Fans picked this winner of the Share the Experience photo contest: A majestic pic of a lone bison standing as king of the hill at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
Photo by Matthew Sorum (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Mt. Whitney trail, Inyo National Forest by Heather Martin
Second Place Fan Favorite - Mt. Whitney trail, Inyo National Forest by Heather Martin
Second Place Fan Favorite goes to this amazing picture from the Mt. Whitney trail in Inyo National Forest by Heather Martin. The way the trees frame the shot makes it look like a window into the mystery of nature.
Photo by Heather Martin(www.sharetheexperience.org).