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Outdoor Alabama’s 2023 photo contest now open

Arthur James Davis won first place in the Scenic category of the 2022 Outdoor Alabama photo contest with his photo titled, “Sunset at the Lake Forest Yacht Club in Daphne.”

The 2023 Outdoor Alabama photo contest is now accepting entries; the deadline is Oct. 31. This year’s contest is a joint project between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Alabama Tourism Department.

The latest competition will focus on traditional photography techniques and the use of handheld cameras. No cellphone, smartphone, game camera or drone photography will be chosen as winning photos for nine of the 10 categories. However, smartphone and tablet photos will be accepted in the Young Photographers category.

For complete 2023 category descriptions and contest rules, visit


The photo contest is open to state residents and visitors, but qualifying photos must have been taken in Alabama in the past two years. Any amateur photographer not employed by ADCNR is encouraged to enter.

A total of eight photos per person may be entered in the following categories (you may enter all eight in one category or divide them among several categories):

  • Alabama State Parks
  • birds
  • Bugs and Butterflies
  • Cold-Blooded Critters
  • Nature-Based Recreation
  • scenic
  • Shoots and Roots
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • wildlife
  • Young Photographers (ages 17 and under)

First, second, third and one honorable mention will be awarded in each category. Winning images will be featured online and in a traveling exhibit at various venues across the state during 2023.

Art teachers are encouraged to incorporate participation in the Young Photographers category into their art instruction this fall.


The natural beauty of Baldwin and Mobile counties has been the subject of many entries over the years. In fact, the 2022 photo contest was full of local images.

The category most well represented was Sweet Home Alabama. Drew Senter won first place for an image of Spring Hill College and third place for a photo of The Rockery at Bellingrath Gardens.

Although he lives in Oxford, Ala., his family has had a cabin on the Fort Morgan peninsula for four decades. A real estate and business attorney during the week, he told Lagniappe last year why taking photos is a passion for him.

“I enjoy taking landscape and wildlife photos,” said Senter, who has much of his art displayed on the Instagram account titled Longleaf Photography. “It’s a great way for me to connect with nature, and it gets me outside.”

The other top finisher in this category also revolved around Coastal Alabama. In second place was Gwen Ainsworth with a photo at Cooper Riverside Park in Mobile.


An exhibit of the 2022 winning photos is currently on display at the South Huntsville Public Library until Aug. 31. To view the complete exhibit schedule, visit

“The abundant diversity in Alabama’s landscape and native wildlife make it a photographer’s paradise,” Chris Blankenship, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said after last year’s contest. “From the North Alabama mountains to the state’s Gulf Coast beaches, the winning images in this year’s Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest highlight the natural beauty of our state.”

Aside from the Sweet Home Alabama category, the finalists in the other categories were:


First Place, Arthur James Davis, Sunset at the Lake Forest Yacht Club in Daphne

Second Place, Steve Vance, Waterfall in the Sipsey Wilderness

Third Place, Ryan Beverly, Leprechaun Falls in the Bankhead National Forest

Honorable Mention, Brent Eanes, Blue Hour Pier in South Mobile County

Alabama State Parks

First Place, Adam Colwell, Marina at Joe Wheeler State Park

Second Place, Christopher Baker, Sunset at Cheaha State Park

Third Place, Will Childers, Gulf State Park Pier


First Place, Christopher Baker, Great Blue Heron in Madison

Second Place, Jim Denney, Bald Eagle at Lake Martin in Tallapoosa County

Third Place, Ramona Edwards, Hummingbird Silhouette in Huntsville

Bugs and Butterflies

First Place, Jim Flynn, Bumblebee in Albertville

Second Place, Rick Dowling, Female Blue Dasher in Montgomery

Third Place, Rick Dowling, Long-Tailed Skipper in Autauga County

Cold-Blooded Critters

First Place, Tucker Heptinstall, Green Anole

Second Place, Amber Hart, Spotted Salamander in Guntersville

Third Place, Tucker Heptinstall, Ringneck Snake

Nature-Based Recreation

First Place, Amata Hinkle, Exploring Caves in Paint Rock Valley

Second Place, Christopher Baker, Sunset Kayaker on Lake Guntersville

Third Place, Hannah Sumner, Hiking Holmes Chapel Falls in Bankhead National Forest

Shoots and Roots

First Place, Gene Tilley, Butterfly Weed in Ethelsville

Second Place, Arthur James Davis, Goldencrest at the Splinter Hill Bog

Third Place, William Barton, Turkey Tail Mushrooms in Daphne

Honorable Mention, Arthur James Davis, Live Oak Sunrise at Mobile Municipal Park


First Place, Elijah Lamb, Bobcat in the Tuskegee National Forest

Second Place, Susan Eison, Fox Kit at Monte Sano State Park

Third Place, Beth Tattersall, Raccoon in Mobile

Young Photographers

First Place, Morgan Elizabeth Soto, Carnival Ride in Huntsville

Second Place, Sophia Charlotte Haines, Pelicans in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta

Third Place, Sophia Charlotte Haines, Whistling Ducks in Fort Morgan

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