Second Annual Photo Contest

This competition brought in 170 entries from across the country. Here are the top three winners and seven honorable mentions. Of our nine featured photographers, three were winners in last year’s contest: Bob Gates, Henry Ehrenberg, and Amaru Pareja. Our anonymous judging also resulted in the selection of two different winning images by George H. Shattuck III.

The Judges

Our panel of ten judges includes magazine photographers Brian Jolley, Alison Shaw, and Peter Simon; Chris Baer, who teaches art, design, and technology at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School; David and Sheila Franklin, owners of Vineyard Photo in Edgartown; Chris Morse, owner of the Granary and Field galleries in West Tisbury and North Water Gallery in Edgartown; and magazine staffers Morgan Taylor Lucero, Nicki Miller, Alley Moore, and Nancy Tutko.

First Place

Ethan Stead, Oak Bluffs and Austin, Texas

Ethan Stead

Ethan, who’s been coming to the Island since he was five and now brings his own young family to their Oak Bluffs Camp Ground cottage as often as possible, captured this Vineyard Haven vista just after sunset on a chilly April evening. “I was immediately stunned by the contrast between the threatening low clouds and the mirror smooth harbor,” he recalls. “I rested my camera on a dock [piling] and set it for a timed exposure....Later that evening I was overwhelmed by the saturated blue color that came straight off the chip.” Ethan’s photograph resonated with our contest judge and photographer Brian Jolley as well: “What strikes me first about this photo is not the moody saturation of color and how it plays with the word ‘ICE.’ Nor is it the use of the strong diagonal that leads you into the image. What impacts me is the fact this photo is taken during the time of year when the Vineyard feels as if it is an island that belongs to you, and you alone. It is quiet, the water is still, the visual canvas is uncluttered by all that summer brings. You feel alone and you like it; it is the time of year that you fall in love with the Vineyard and realize how lucky you are to be here.”

Second Place

Charles Kernick, West Tisbury

Charles Kernick

Charles, a year-round resident, took his camera to South Beach last August following Tropical Storm Bill. He says, “South Beach, the morning after the storm, was busy with surf watchers – including this totally indifferent passerby.” Photographer and contest judge Alison Shaw says of this image, “The photographer’s decision of how to crop this image is a key to its success – a strip of beach, the bird, and the wave. Aperture choice is right on – keeping the bird in perfect focus, and letting the background wave go slightly out of focus. I love the juxtaposition of the bird calmly strolling down the beach, with the gigantic swirling wave looming right behind.”

Third Place

Amaru Pareja, Edgartown

Amaru Pareja

Amaru – a year-round Vineyarder, recent Hampshire College grad, and winner of an honorable mention last year – moves into the top three with this dramatic depiction of lightning in the nighttime sky over Edgartown, taken from the shoreline along Katama Bay. David and Sheila Franklin, owners of Vineyard Photo, sum up the circumstances that led to this striking image: “Patience and luck get a powerful photograph.”

Honorable Mention

George H. Shattuck III, Lakeville, Connecticut

George H. Shattuck III

George has been a regular visitor to the Island since 1964. This image depicts the sun breaking through the fog over James Pond at Lambert’s Cove in West Tisbury. “There was something magical in that moment: the stillness of the morning air, the foreground spattered with the young spring foliage, and a ray of sun illuminating the path beyond,” he recalls. Photographer and contest judge Peter Simon notes, “This is the kind of photograph that I’m always on the lookout for, but rarely have the opportunity to find! Perfect muted light, beach plums in blossom, a swirling fog bank, and a very pleasing overall composition – all the right elements are in place.”

Honorable Mention

George H. Shattuck III

George H. Shattuck III

George, a two-time honoree this year, captured this image last August at Quansoo using a slow shutter speed while moving the camera. He was inspired by the work of photographer Alison Shaw, he says. Judge Morgan Taylor Lucero, a graphic designer who works for the magazine and the Vineyard Gazette, says, “Broad sweeping lines are what immediately drew me into this serene landscape. Its style is reminiscent of an oil painting, with soft colors blurred together to evoke a calm and peaceful mood. The subtle lighting creates a warm glow that emanates from the image.”

Honorable Mention

Evy Huppert, Hanover, New Hampshire

Evy Huppert

Evy picked up her camera during an October sunset at Chilmark’s Lucy Vincent Beach for this shot. “I appreciate how the photographer blurred the water’s motion with a long exposure to paint the right mood for a soft, peaceful, almost otherworldly twilight. That, plus the calming color palette, the starkly graphic rock shapes, and the tightly cropped sky and beach, made this photograph a winner for me,” says judge Chris Baer, who has been teaching photography at the high school since 1995.

Honorable Mention

Barbara Berresford, West Tisbury and New York, New York

Barbara Berresford

A summer and weekend West Tisbury resident, Barbara describes what caught her attention one night during a ferry crossing: “The evening light, the empty deck, and the woman in the window reminded me of an Edward Hopper painting. I tried to create that feeling in my photo.” Gallery owner Chris Morse admires Barbara’s dexterity in framing the shot. “There is a great abstract compositional element to this photograph,” he says. “The architectural or geometric forms divide the image with a strong diagonal, offering an interesting visual balance. The moon is a nice subtle anchor to the landscape.”

Honorable Mention

Rogers Brandon, Chilmark and Bakersfield, California

Rogers Brandon

Rogers, who comes to the Island year-round, photographed Tisbury Great Pond in West Tisbury looking toward Big Sandy for this sea- and sky-scape. Alley Moore, the magazine’s art director, says, “This photograph should be blown up large. The mirrored surface of Tisbury Great Pond, the soft colors in the high humidity of the cloud cover, and the sharp shore edges all combine beautifully. No doubt a ten-year-old would feel an impulse to throw a rock into the pond just to hear the splash and to see all the ripples.”

Honorable Mention

Henry Ehrenberg, Seattle

Henry Ehrenberg

Henry, seventeen, has been coming to the Island every July since he was born. Last year he photographed the Aquinnah lighthouse at dusk. Nicki Miller, the magazine’s editor, notes, “Sunset lighthouse photos can seem cliché, but this image makes me feel as if I’m standing there, quietly taking in the vivid colors of the evening sky, the clouds like brush strokes, the ground at my feet too dark to see anymore.” This is Henry’s second time in the winners’ circle; he took third place last year.

Honorable Mention

Bob Gates, Jamesville, New York

Bob Gates

Last year’s first-place winner and a longtime July visitor to Aquinnah, Bob brings his winning eye to the contest again with this photograph of a Menemsha fishing boat’s bright colors shimmering in the water. “The close cropping makes a strong graphic image,” says Nancy Tutko, the magazine’s associate editor. “I like the boat’s vivid paint colors and clean lines, and their intersection with the rippling water.”