Good Bx at Night 14 by Mark Masters, one of the Photo Contest finalists.
For the past few months, the photographs have been flowing in and the judges have been judging. Now, we're pleased to announce the finalists (see below) in our 2012 Wildfire Magazine photo contest.
First, we generally sorted the photos into categories — "On the Fireline," "Fire Landscapes/Fire Effects/Fire Ecology," "Aviation" and "Offline."
Next came the challenge. With nearly 100 images from some 25 photographers, a team including two judges and Editorial Board member Don Oaks went to work. Judge Kari Greer, a contract fire photographer for the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, was left (nearly) speechless:
"I would like to thank all of the contributors to this contest…yes, thank you all for making these choices so difficult! Congratulations to the winners; your work really stood out, in particular with compositions and lighting, and for your being in the right place at the right time. Together, this series of photos pulls together a cohesive glimpse into fire and what it's like out there. You've really put eyes on it."
As Mike McMillan, the other judge, noted: "I enjoy photos that look as if the photographer was either a participant — or nearly in the way."
Of all the photographs, the judges were drawn to the very first one submitted. The Wildfire Photo of the Year (2012) is awarded to Anthony Clark for Belrose, Sydney, a photo taken on a fuels management burn in New South Wales, Australia. When reviewing their selection, the judges noted:
Kari: "Your winning shot is wonderful. It truly gives a sense of the heat and the action."
Mike: "Great shot, Anthony. The ground-level perspective conveys the feeling of being there, and the subjects seem unaware of the camera, hard at work."
This is a photo that captures the risk that firefighters manage for the public good, and it continues to support our profession: Prints of the photo were auctioned at the IAWF's 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference to raise funds for the International Fire Relief Mission and the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.
For a slideshow of all the finalists and submissions, visit http://wildfireworld.org/photocontest/.
2012 Wildfire Photo Contest Winners
1st - Belrose, Sydney, Anthony Clark
1st - Belrose, Sydney, Anthony Clark
2nd/tie - WUI Burn Out, Mark Masters
Davis Peak, MT, photographer not named
3rd/tie - Good Bx at Night 14, Mark Masters
Callahan County Fire Mopup, Ron Billings
1st - Day One Williams Fire, Felix Valle
2nd/tie - Fire west of Cascades, Bill Gabbert
Shadow Lake Fire, Reburn, Garrett Meigs
3rd/tie - Fire Morel, Garrett Meigs
Regrowth on the beach, Nathan Maddock
1st - White Draw Fire 1, Bill Gabbert
2nd/tie - Williams Fire #1 (212 belly drop), Felix Valle
H527 longline, Cameron Balog
3rd - Helicopter with Rainbow, Felix Valle
1st - Texas Fires (2011), photo series, Ron Billings
2nd/tie - Waldo Canyon Fire Blowup, Cameron Balog
Firefighter, Yellow Hardhat, Felix Valle
About the Judges
Mike McMillan, Alaska Smokejumper from 1996-2012 and former Los Padres Hotshot, has included an SLR camera in his line gear for most of his 24-year career. His compelling photos can be viewed at www.spotfireimages.com.
Kari Greer is a contract fire photographer for the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. She spent four seasons during college working on a Forest Service Regular Type 2 Crew, and on district engines on the Gifford-Pinchot NF. She has been contracting as a fire photographer since 1997. Her work is featured in portfolios at www.wildfireworld.org and www.kariphotos.com.
Ron Steffens is the chair of the Wildfire Editorial Board.