The UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education recently held its annual photo contest. The contest received over 430 entries from across the country and two overall winners were chosen from those entries. Professional judges deliberated over the photo and chose the best overall winner and the best in Florida winner.
Overall winner —Paddling Chassahowitzka at Dawn
Alexandra Morrison was selected as the winner of the best overall category with her photograph in the 2017 PIE Center Photo Contest. Morrison’s photo was chosen based on quality, composition and use of light. Morrison is a seventh-generation Floridian born and raised in Tampa. She has a background in wildlife biology and environmental education as well as photography. Her photography focuses on the partnership between art and science, and how art can help people connect to the natural world. Morrison works with photographer Carlton Ward Jr., and together, they tell the stories of wildlife, wild places and wild people who call Florida home.
“From January to March of 2015 I worked as the photography intern for the ‘Glades to Gulf’ Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. This was a 70 day, 1000 mile expedition through wild Florida led by conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, photographer Carlton Ward Jr. and wildlife biologist Joe Guthrie with the purpose of raising awareness for the need to connect, protect and restore corridors of wild land and water throughout Florida for the benefit of people and wildlife. Our trek took us from the Green Swamp located between Tampa and Orlando all the way to Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Panhandle. Day 9 of our 70 day adventure found us marveling at a foggy sunrise filtered through cabbage palms over Crawford Creek in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge,” Morrison said.
“As the photography intern on the expedition, I made it my mission to capture as many ‘behind the scenes’ moments as I could, highlighting the little everyday wonders of our incredible adventure. Also, as a conservation-minded photographer, I wanted my images to bring attention to a side of Florida people rarely see or even know exist,” Morrison said. “Our state boasts some of the most incredible wildlife and wild places in the country, and even the world. Sharing those animals and landscapes with people is what I am most passionate about, with the hopes that sharing them will encourage people to act for their protection.”
Best in Florida winner — Everglades red mangrove
Nick Vitale was selected as the winner for the best of Florida category with his photograph in the 2017 PIE Center Photo Contest. Vitale is a wildlife researcher for the University of Florida based in the Everglades. This career has taken him to incredible places that most people don’t get to see so it goes hand in hand with photography, according to Vitale. When he’s not working for UF, you can find Vitale out photographing wildlife and landscapes, mostly in Florida but also throughout the country. You can see more of his work on his website: www.nickvitalephotography.com.
“I took this photograph in Everglades National Park. The everglades is a challenging environment for a landscape photographer with no picturesque mountains or waterfalls,” Vitale said. “You must search hard for the right composition and often that means getting off the beaten path to find just the right spot (in this case a small mangrove tree). In the everglades the sky is really what makes or breaks a photo, so many mosquito filled evenings were endured waiting for the sky to do just the right thing.”