ALBANY – A Schenectady woman won a New York State Parks photo contest, taking the grand prize out of more than 6,000 entries, officials said.
Wendy Blanchard, of Schenectady, took the top honors for the 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest with her photo titled “Bear Mountain Bridge Sunrise.”
Blanchard took her photo at Bear Mountain State Park, located in Rockland and Orange counties. She arrived before sunrise to capture the morning view of fall, officials said.
In her entry, Blanchard , a mother of two, wrote she’d always wanted to visit Bear Mountain in the fall and finally decided to go, traveling there with her father, according to State Parks.
“We got to the Bear Mountain Bridge before sunrise. I remember it being cold that morning and it was taking a while for the sun to peak over the mountain,” she wrote. “I’m a bit stubborn and I did wait for what seemed like hours (but it wasn’t) for the sun to come out.”
Also winning an award was Amsterdam resident Courtney Bradt. Bradt won in the “Views & Vistas” category for her photo titled “Sunset at the Ruins.”
Bradt took her photo at Crown Point Campground in Essex County. She described herself in her entry as an avid hiker and camper. She called the Crown Point Historic Site on her bucket list of places to visit.
“I was excited when we were able to bring our camper there and spend a weekend exploring,” she wrote in her entry. “This photo was taken on Labor Day Weekend, one of my favorite weekends to go camping. The evening this photo was taken, the sunset was beautiful to watch.”
Blanchard won with her grand prize a $1,000 REI gift card, a four-person tent, a 2023 Empire Pass and a $250 NY camping gift card. Winners of the six individual categories, including Bradt, each took home a $250 REI gift card, a 2023 Empire Pass and a $100 NY camping gift card. The winning images will also be featured in the 2023 New York State Camping Guide and, with other entries, used in promotions and campaigns, officials said.
Photos were judged on originality, artistic composition, technical quality, and whether the photograph showcases the best of New York State Parks camping and outdoor activities, officials said.
Correction 1/19 11:07 a.m.: The spelling of contest grand prize winner Wendy Blanchard’s last name has been corrected to Blanchard, instead of Bouchard.