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Jan 13 2020

Picture Wild Montana Countdown: Honorable Mention

“Milky Way Over Park Lake” by Chris McGowan

With over over 650 entries submitted to our annual Picture Wild Montana Photo Contest, our judges had their work cut out for them this year.

The theme of this year’s contest was “People and Public Lands.” In an effort to highlight the connection that Montanans feel to our public lands and waters, we asked participants to submit photos that featured friends, family, or themselves enjoying everything our public lands have to offer.

Thanks to you, we were inundated with beautiful photos of outdoor enthusiasts exploring our wilderness areas, state parks, national forests, wilderness study areas, and other federal, state, and local public lands. 

After our staff whittled down the photos to the best of the best, we passed the lot to our guest judge Luke Duran, art director at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ “Montana Outdoors” magazine.

Luke picked three winners and, in a surprise move, an honorable mention! Without further ado:

Honorable mention: “Milky Way Over Park Lake” by Chris McGowan

  Chris McGowan photo

From Luke Duran, guest judge:
“Technically, this is an outstanding photo, the result of a lot of hard work by the photographer to pull this off. Thematically, it’s another reminder that people in public lands takes on many forms, and endless opportunities. It’s also nice to see an image that demonstrates that Montana wild places can be incredibly beautiful even at night. I like how the photographer used a long exposure to not only capture the colorful starscape of the Milky Way Galaxy, but also manually created dramatic light using a flashlight to highlight the trees and cast colorful reflections on the lake’s surface. It’s a beautiful composition, lots of energy and movement, and another example of the awesome beauty of Montana’s wild landscapes.”


To see more of Chris McGowan's work, check out his Instagram and Facebook pages.

We’re counting down to the first place photo announcement by sharing the other winners, one by one, each day through Thursday. 

Thanks to everyone who submitted a photo this year. We’re always thoroughly impressed by the quality and variety of photos.

Keely Damara
Communications Coordinator

Keely provides communications support for our chapters, programs, and campaigns and manages our social media channels. In her free time, she enjoys fly fishing on Montana's scenic rivers, hiking, camping, and exploring public lands in her home state.
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