“Capturing Wonderland” Photo Contest

Our First Place Winner for July’s Thermal Features & Geysers Theme…

                                 Three grizzlies at Mammoth

Yellowstone Park Foundation staff were impressed with the 360 entries we received in the month of July as we rounded out our first annual “Capturing Wonderland” photo contest. Narrowing down the selection was difficult, and once again 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.


Andy Hogg, Bozeman, MT

First Place, Thermal Features & Geysers

Title: Three Grizzlies at Mammoth

YPF: Tell us a littlle bit about your winning photo!

AH: In early May last year I set out looking for grizzly bears. After searching some other areas of the Park I eventually found a grizzly family in a very odd area, Mammoth Hot Springs. I had seen this particular family up on Swan Lake Flat the year before which is not far from Mammoth Hot Springs, but never had I seen grizzly bears right in Mammoth. The bears were feeding on the green grass next to the terraces as it was some of the only green grass around. The bears spent a good part of the day next to Mammoth but only for a brief couple seconds did they cross right in front of the active part of the hot springs. Capturing grizzly bears in front of one of the Park's most famous thermal features was a special moment that doesn't happened often.

YPF: Have you been to Yellowstone on other occasions?

AH: I grew up in Cody, WY and currently live in Bozeman, MT, so Yellowstone has always been a big part of my life. As a kid I would enjoy an ice cream in the backseat of the car as we took Sunday drives up to the east end of the Park and day dream of animals we would see. Over the years my appreciation for the Park has only grown and for the last several years I have made it a goal to visit the Park at least once a month. I spend most of my time in the Park in the shoulder seasons as the crowds are smaller and the wildlife is more active.

YPF: What is your favorite subject to photograph? 

AH: My favorite subject to photograph in the Park is grizzly bears. I find grizzlies to be fascinating animals that have immense character. People often think of grizzly bears as large scary predators, and although they are the largest predator in the lower 48, they spend a lot of time eating grasses and other plants and are fairly easy going. I love to capture bears doing things that you don’t typically see like playing with sticks and bones or watching cubs participate in wrestling matches.

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

AH: I have been taking pictures since I was a teenager and I remember when I got my first digital camera in college, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Over the years I have steadily increased the amount of pictures I take and have acquired much better equipment compared to that first 1.3 MP camera. I mainly focus on nature photography but I also enjoy macro photography and taking pictures of my 5-year-old son.


Danna Rezac, Powell, WY

Second Place, Thermal Features & Geysers

                                                      Geyser with Sun Behind Eruption Column

Title: Pink Cone


Ramon Esparza, Colorado Springs, CO

Third Place, Thermal Features & Geysers

Runoff Channel from Excelsior

Title: Runnoff Channel from Excelsior


This wraps up the second phase of our "Capturing Wonderland" photo contest.Thanks again to all who participated and made our first annual contest so inspiring!


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