The National Park Foundation last year asked amateur photographers to explore U.S. parklands and come back with their best shots. With almost 20,000 submissions, lesser-known landscapes in Michigan and Wisconsin parks are the big winners in the 2013 Share the Experience contest.
Courtney Kotewa of Michigan won the $15,000 grand prize for her photo of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in northern Michigan. And she wins another distinction too: Her photo will appear on the 2015 National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass.
The photo of Lover's Leap Arch was taken in August during a kayaking trip with her family. "Most people wouldn't associate such stunning scenery with our state, so I think it's great to be able to represent some of the natural beauty that we know exists here," Kotewa told Michigan Live.
Second-place prize of $10,000 went to Michael DeWitt of Ashland, Wis., for an icy photo taken during a winter canoe trip in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin-side Lake Superior.
The 2014 Share the Experience photo contest is open from now through Dec. 31. Categories include adventure and outdoor recreation; historical and cultural; scenic, seasons and landscapes; Let's Move outside; wildlife; and a new category, night skies.
Top three photographer winners will receive $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 respectively.