Photo Contest Winners Announced

Telling the Garden’s Story through Photography

by: Kathy Andrews Wright and Ann Londrigan

Everyone has a favorite place to go in the Garden. A favorite bench or tree. A favorite season, such as spring with its bursts of colorful wildflowers, or fall as the maple groves turn rich hues of gold. The cypress grove, Lincoln Council Ring, meadows and the prairie. Ecology Camp, bird and leaf hikes, Indian Summer Festival.

There is so much to see and experience in the Garden’s 110 acres, which is evident in the winning images of our third annual photography contest, “Images of Lincoln Memorial Garden.” Thirty-one photographers submitted a total of 183 images. The judges identified eight winning entries in four categories (birds, wildflowers, landscapes and the catch-all other). The contest is designed to encourage Garden visitors to share a Garden story from their own perspective and experience.

Thank you to our 2019 judges: Virginia Scott, former Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation board member and creative force behind the Natural Impressions Notecards; Doug Bergeron of Doug Bergeron Photography and Chris Young, Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“I love this place,” said Scott, who has been a longtime Garden volunteer and a member of the elite Acorns fundraising group. “You can find beautiful images not just on sunny days.”

About the photographs entered, Bergeron said: “I enjoyed seeing things I don’t normally see through others’ eyes, their choice of perspective and subject.”

Chris Young said photography can help people connect with a place and to learn about nature as it did for him in his early years of taking nature photos.

“I’d take photographs and go back home to look up the plants or bugs I captured,” he recalled. “I started to recognize the time of year. Nature can be a teacher if you want to learn.”

Following the judges’ review of the entries, visitors to the 2019 Indian Summer Festival voted on the eight first-place winners to select a “People’s Choice” winner. Selected for this award was Elizabeth Sanford’s entry “Beyond the Lakeshore,” which garnered the majority of the 853 votes over the two-day event.

Keep your camera at hand this year as you walk the Garden’s trails and enjoy sponsored programs and activities. Watch for information on the 2020 contest on the Garden’s Facebook page and at


Winning Entries
Age 16 and Older
Birds: Dennis Danner, “Massive Flock of Snow Geese”
Judges’ comments: Dynamic, artistic, continues to the top of the photo, leading us to imagine beyond. A view of nature and the human world colliding. Wildlife adapting to encroachment. A brave viewpoint.

Wildflowers: Craig Paszek, “Dogwood Flowers and Lake”
Judges’ comments: A layered image, yet not too busy, with the flower still and dominant. Very nice light. Photographer thought about time of day and composition. Good use of contrast and shadow.

Landscapes: Elizabeth Sanford, “Beyond the Lakeshore”
Judges’ comments: Bench adds a feeling of rumination, and the reflections are artistic. Strong lines. It’s so hard to capture a snowfall; you have to go at the time or immediately after. One hour later it does not look the same.

Other: JJ Gouin, “Bumblebee on Coneflower”
Judges’ comments: Shallow depth of field. Nice detail with the pollen on the antennae. With a bias toward conservation awareness and pollinators, this image is well-executed and timely.


Age 15 and Under
Birds: James Hugh Graham, “Where Are the Birds Now?”

Wildflowers: Charlotte Graham, “Yellow Flowers”

Landscapes: Charlotte Graham, “Trail”

Other: Charlotte Graham, “Larry the Leaf Bug”

People’s Choice: Elizabeth Sanford, “Beyond the Lakeshore”


Honorable Mentions

Birds: Dennis Danner, “Chipping Sparrow with Nesting Material”

Wildflowers: Ian J. Wick, “Liatris”

Wildflowers: Ian J. Wick, “Silhouette”

Landscape: Janet Pieper, “Foggy Path”

Landscape: Joshua Rhoades, “Icicles on Cypress”

Other: Dennis Danner, “Fawn Standing on Path”

Other: Janet Pieper, “Carp”

Other: Cyndi Gallo Callan, “Blowing Bubbles”

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