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Northwest Exposure: Tips from 2015 Photo Contest Winners

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Aug 17, 2016 03:25 PM |
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The 2016 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest is now open. Check out these tips from past winners before entering your shots.

Hidden Lake Sunrise
2nd Place, Trailscapes. Photo taken by Jared Gunderson from Hidden Lake Lookout.

The 2015 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest gathered some of the best hiking photos we've seen in the 12 years the contest has been running. To help prepare you for the 13th annual contest this year we talked with last year's winners to get photography tips to improve your shots. Here's what they had to say:

"Don’t focus too much on equipment. Instead, find out what drives you to get outside and go places you’ve never been, explore the outdoors! See amazing things and the moments will just happen." -- Quade Sheehan, Grand Prize winner

"My best advice would be to just go outside and shoot. You can read as much as you can on the subject, but the truth is that you're not going to get better unless you immerse yourself within your camera. The best photos are of special circumstances - out of the ordinary things that someone happened to capture because they were in the right place at the right time." -- Jared Gunderson, Trailscapes 2nd place winner

Don't give up if one day of shooting did not give you the result you wanted. Keep trying, keep practicing and sometimes the right photo can happen in the most unexpected situations." -- Archana Bhat, Flora and Fauna 2nd place winner

2nd Place Camp Life NWX 2015 - Andrew Bertino
2nd place winner in the Camp Life category taken by Andrew Bertino on Sahale Arm.

Northwest Exposure strives to showcase great outdoor photography that tells the story of Washington's trails. While contest judges value technical excellence, having a strong subject and story can give your photo a few bonus points. Here are a few other things to think about when you're out taking photos:

  • Keep the rule of thirds in mind when framing your shots
  • The best time to take photos is during the "golden hours", which are close to sunset and sunrise when the light is more dramatic
  • Try to avoid taking photos in harsh midday sunlight or dark shade
  • Your camera phone can be a great tool to capture spontaneous shots. In fact, last year's grand prize winning shot was taken with an iPhone.
  • For more advice on taking great outdoor photos check out these ten tips


The contest is now open, so start taking photos and visit the Northwest Exposure page for info on prizes, rules and more. Happy photoing!

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