“Capturing Wonderland” Photo Contest Off To a Great Start

Announcing our First Place Winner for June’s Wildlife Theme...

                                           Bison Mother and Calf

Yellowstone Park Foundation staff were impressed and overwhelmed with the 440 entries we received in the month of June as we launched “Capturing Wonderland.” Narrowing down the selection was difficult, and we were grateful for the help of renowned Yellowstone photographer Tom Murphy, who chose our first, second, and third place winners.

Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to our winners. First and second place will receive Canon cameras and the third place winner will receive a complete set of Tom Murphy’s Seasons of Yellowstone books. Here’s a look at the first place image, and a bit about our winner.

Ray Thomas, Idaho Falls, ID

First Place, Wildlife

Title: The Protector (pictured above)

Ray ThomasYPF: Tell us a little bit about your winning photo!

RT: I was driving from Gardiner to Lamar Valley one morning in April 2011 when I came across this bison cow and calf right along the road at the Phantom Lake turnout.The timing was perfect.I was parked at the turnout, they were right across the road from me and mom was eating what little grass there was on the road side.So I was able to take quite a few shots from my car window. It wasn’t until I saw this shot on my laptop that I realized I had a really cool picture with mom exhibiting a very protective stare at me.

YPF: Have you been to Yellowstone on other occasions?

RT: If my friends heard this question, they would be rolling on the floor laughing. I only live about an hour and a half from the West Entrance to the Park.I have been visiting Yellowstone since 1991 and haven’t missed a year. My wife and I actually stay in or just outside Yellowstone five or six times a year. I absolutely love this place!

YPF: What is your favorite subject to photograph?

RT: I have to just say “wildlife.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a bird or a mammal.My favorite type of shot is action - I love to catch wildlife on the move.Also, regardless if the subject is in motion or not, I try to catch the subject’s eyes.This adds a sort of personalization to the shot and leaves interpretation of the subject’s expression up to the person viewing the picture.

YPF: How long have you had an interest in Photography?

RT: Ever since I bought my first manual SLR film camera in 1970 while stationed with the Air Force in Viet Nam. I travelled extensively around the world during my 23 years in the Air Force and felt compelled to take pictures in the many countries I visited.But my real passion started when I first visited Yellowstone in 1991! I immediately fell in love with the diverse wildlife in the Yellowstone ecosystem and cannot help but record everything I see and experience and share it with others.


Don Andrews, Vancouver, WA

Second Place, Wildlife

Black Bear Cub

Title: Black Bear Cub Learning to Climb


Preston Hone, Spanish Fork, UT

Elk on the Madison

Third Place, Wildlife

Title: Morning on the Madison


The second phase of our contest winds up on July 31, 2013. To enter a photo in our “Thermal Features & Geysers” contest, visit www.ypf.org/contest for more details.


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