The Santa Fe Watershed Association’s first ever photo contest closed with a blast and the entries were all creative and inspiring. The winners reveal a passion for the Santa Fe River and watershed as the images were strikingly full of admiration. They reinforce our desire to protect and restore the vibrancy of the river. Submissions were judged by three distinguished professional photographers to select the winners. We are pleased to showcase the winning photographs below, and hope you will be thrilled and impressed with the selections.
Thanks to everyone who supported the contest and submitted photos, and especially our wonderful judges. You made the Santa Fe Watershed Association Photo Contest a brilliant success!
In addition to viewing the photos below, you can see them in person at Justin’s Frame Designs, and view the virtual gallery opening on YouTube!
Justin’s Frame Designs (JFD), 1221 Flagman Way Ste A2, Santa Fe
Lastly, prints will be available for purchase in SFWA’s online silent auction which runs from March 5th to March 19th.
All proceeds will benefit SFWA!
FIRST PLACE: “Santa Fe River Dance” by Leah Gibbons
“It was a hot August day in Santa Fe and my daughter, my two granddaughters, and I went up to Patrick Smith Park, along East Alameda, for relief. We laid in the cool, green grass, ate paletas from the local Mexican paleteria and played in the Santa Fe River, which runs right by the park. We dipped our feet in the water, and my 7 year old granddaughter danced in the river with all the joy of summer and childhood.” ~ LG
Leah Gibbons was born in Germany and came to America with her refugee parents as an infant. She grew up in Brooklyn and attended Brooklyn College, receiving a B.A. in art history. She left N.Y.C. in the early 1970s to attend graduate school in art education at the University of New Mexico, and received an M.A. in art education. Awed by the beauty and spirit of New Mexico, Leah has lived in New Mexico ever since. She raised three daughters, all native-born New Mexicans, in Santa Fe. She taught art and was an early childhood educator and preschool director here in Santa Fe for many years. Retired now, Leah has been exploring mixed media arts along with experimenting with her handy iPhone, taking photos of the landscape, plants and children. She lives a block away from the Santa River off west Alameda and has walked many miles up and down the river.
SECOND PLACE: “Double Vision” by Pat Galagan
“I took this photo in October 2020, when New Mexico’s cottonwoods were bright yellow. Converting the image to black and white made the trees glow even more. I found them in a wetland area near La Cienega. They were a spirit-lifting sight as winter was closing in and the Covid pandemic was spreading again.“ ~ PG
Patricia Galagan is a fine-art photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her photographs include many different subjects but the ones that draw her close repeatedly have a common theme of disruption. She is drawn to the aftermath of upheaval, be it geological or social, momentary or spread over millennia. New Mexico is her preferred landscape, a living tableau of upheaval in its volcano-derived geology and frequent massive forest fires. “Here the land is constantly recovering from something,” she observes. Pat and her husband, Philip Metcalf, were artists-in-residence at Bandelier National Monument in 2015. They are the co-authors of Fire Ghosts, a photography book about the 2011 Las Conchas Fire’s aftermath, which they photographed for seven years as the forest progressed from destruction to regrowth. Fire Ghosts, published by George F. Thompson Publishing in 2019, was voted best nature book in the 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Philip Metcalf died in November 2019, one month after the book was published.
THIRD PLACE: “The Santa Fe River on a Snowy Winter Day” by Jean-Michel Rendu
“It was two days after Christmas 2018. An overnight storm had just ended, leaving behind a white fairyland. I walked down to the Santa Fe River near the intersection of Camino Escondido and the south branch of East Alameda. The river was slowly meandering between its banks, creating sharp contrasts with white snow, dark tree trunks, and orange tinted bushes. Even the cloudy sky contributed to create the perfect conditions for a beautiful image.” ~ JMR
Jean-Michel Rendu graduated from Columbia University with a doctorate in mining engineering. During his professional career worked with socially responsible companies which understood that success, even survival, required obtaining and maintaining a Social License to Operate, a condition which went far beyond following applicable laws and regulations. For both work and leisure, he travelled in scores of countries around the world, gaining a deep appreciation of very different cultures and natural environments, while recognizing the many similarities in human expectations. Jean-Michel moved to Santa Fe more than ten years ago. Once retired, he entirely committed his newly acquired free time to photography and quickly realized how little he knew both technically and artistically. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to learn in Santa Fe. His skills grew by taking local internationally recognized courses, practicing under the always changing New Mexico light, and sharing experiences with other photographers.
HONORABLE MENTION: “The Arroyo at Governor Miles Road” by Mark Berndt
“Looking west at sunset, the arroyo between Governor Miles Road and Pueblo Halona at Nizhoni Drive looked spectacular as I finished an end-of-the-day walk. I don’t usually make serious pictures with a phone, but I’m glad I snapped this one.” ~ MB
Mark Berndt is a self-taught photographer, film director, designer and digital print-maker whose work celebrates people and the circumstances of life. His communication skills, acquired from 40+ years in film, photography and advertising inform and infuse his photography. Having completed a commercial career as a portraitist, Mark is continuing a series of fine art images he began in the 80’s, capturing the simple arrangement of things that one may have missed, or seen out of the corner of their eye. A former faculty member at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA), the Kansas City Art Institute, and the Julia Dean Photo Workshops (Los Angeles), he currently teaches photography and digital imaging in private workshops and one-on-one consultation, both in person and online
HONORABLE MENTION: “Coyote Willows in the Snow” by Clay Ellis
“This was taken in Arroyo Hondo after a light January snowfall. I have long admired the saturated color of these reddish willows after snow or rain. There is typically not a lot of color in our juniper/piñon landscape so the contrasting reds of these willows always grab my attention. It was a very quiet scene this particular morning but normally what stands out to me is the abundance of birdlife in the arroyo.” ~ CE
Clay Ellis has been an advertising and editorial photographer for the past 25 years. His work has largely been in the studio but his heart is definitely in the wilderness. Now that his kids are grown and he has time to travel, Clay’s goal is to transition to working with environmental groups and non-governmental organizations. He would like to use his talents to bring attention to causes that help heal the planet in whatever ways are possible.
A HUGE thank you to our esteemed judges for making the contest possible!
Jennifer Schlesinger: https://www.obscuragallery.net/
Jennifer Schlesinger is the owner and director of Obscura Gallery. She has received several honors in recognition of her work, including a Golden Light Award in Landscape Photography from the Maine Photographic Workshops, and the Photography Award from the Center for Contemporary Arts Photography in Santa Fe.
Ward Russell: https://www.wardrussellphoto.com/index
Ward Russel is an award-winning Cinematographer/Photographer who has adapted his Hollywood art to the world of fine art photography. He is the owner of the Ward Russel Gallery of Photography.
Warren Marr: https://www.warrenmarr.com/
Warren Marr is an esteemed landscape photographer and has been represented by major photography galleries. He lives in Santa Fe and has his own stunning online gallery.