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‘Ding’ Darling Days amateur photo contest winners named

By Staff | Oct 16, 2018

FRANK BRINKER “Shakin'” by Frank Brinker

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge recently announced the winners of its annual “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest.

Part of the 30th annual “Ding” Darling Days, a special presentation was held on Oct. 13 during Conservation Art Day at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

On Sept. 28, the judges had selected three winners and 11 honorable mentions out of 121 entries from 20 states, the Netherlands and Switzerland. All of the entries were shot at the refuge complex.

First place went to Frank Brinker, of Oberageri, Switzerland, for his great blue heron portrait titled “Shakin.'” Contest judge and Sanibel City Councilwoman Holly Smith remarked on its stunning depth-of-field and unique capture.

“I love its personality, pure and simple,” she said of the bird’s disheveled appearance.

JOHN HOYT “Female Anhinga” by John Hoyt

John Hoyt, of Lewes, Delaware, took second place with a black-and-white close-up of a female anhinga.

“It’s so strikingly artistic with dramatic lighting and great detail,” judge Chelle Koster Walton, a Sanibel photojournalist, said.

In third place was Cheri Hollis, of Sanibel, with a blue-winged teal shot titled “True Blue.”

“She actually got all the fine details of the duck, even the color under its wing, and the ripples in the water,” refuge Ranger Monica Scroggin, the third judge, said.

“We always choose three judges for the contest,” Terry Baldwin, who coordinates the contest along with DDWS Development Officer Sierra Hoisington, said. “A refuge staff member, a professional photographer and a member of the Sanibel community.”

CHERI HOLLIS “True Blue” by Cheri Hollis

The winners received cash awards from DDWS at the presentation – $250 for first place, $150 for second, and $100 for third. In addition, each honorable mention winner received $25, which reflects a refund of the contest entry fee. They included:

– Ronald Clark, of Milburn, New Jersey, with “Who Is in Charge Here?”

– Rebecca Clemens, of Sanibel, with “Morning Hunt”

– Heidi Dirkse, of Wolverine, Michigan, with “Shades of Green”

– Bill Fischer, of Sanibel, with “Mangrove Cuckoo Resting on Branch”

PHOTO PROVIDED The contest judges, photojournalist Chelle Koster Walton, Sanibel City Councilwoman Holly Smith and refuge Ranger Monica Scroggin, pore over the 121 entries.

– Christie Hammond, of Nashville, Tennessee, with “Early Morning Reflections”

– Valerie Heldt, of Cape Coral, with “Fungus Among Us”

– Kent Jager, of Sanibel, with “Illuminated Gator”

– James Lotstein, of Canton, Connecticut, with “Look at Me”

– Barry Nagle, of South Barrington, Illinois, with “Tug o’ War”

– Linda Normoyle, of Fort Myers, with “Baby Tri-colored Heron”

– Anthony Pietraniello, of Merrick, New York, with “The Dance”

The winning photographs and honorable mention award entries will be on display in the refuge Education Center throughout the year.

To view the other top-ranking entries, visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/photo-contests.