Cover photo contest celebrates student artists

We present the results of the first annual South County News February cover contest for Vicksburg High School photography students. The themes: “Winter to Me” or “Winter Wonderland.” A lack of snow during most of December until the contest’s deadline in mid-January challenged the photographers, but 11 students submitted entries. The top five were recognized. Included with each photo is the artist’s statement. Judges were impressed with the creativity of the students and the photography techniques they used. The winning entry, “Ice Fishing,” by Colin Ellis, captured the cold of winter and the photographer’s desire to be on the ice. The 2nd place winner, Addison Arnold’s “Christmas Lights” demonstrated her eye for color and dimension. Ariannah Christ’s 3rd place photo, “Koda the Newfoundland,” showed her editing skills and playful use of color. Kiersten Vienstra’s photo, “Great Granny’s Sugar Cookies,” made great use of color and depth. The judges enjoyed Hunter Bell’s 5th place photo and the expression on Ruger’s face.

1st Place, Colin Ellis, Ice Fishing

My winter wonderland picture is ice fishing. I love to sit out on the ice catching fish all winter. When deciding on how I should take the picture, I waited for the sun to set to get a pretty background with my fishing pole on the ice. I took the picture out on my pond, which isn’t completely frozen, so I had to push my pole out on the ice without going on it. Ice fishing connects me to my winter wonderland because it’s what I love to do. That’s why I chose ice fishing for my winter wonderland project.

2nd Place, Addison Arnold, Christmas Lights

I took this photo of Christmas lights at night for the “Winter Wonderland” prompt. This photo also means a lot to me because it was taken at a park in Kalamazoo, which is where I grew up. I used to go to the park every year with my family during Christmas to see the amazing Christmas lights. To take the photo, some of my family and I drove up to Kalamazoo. It meant a lot to me. To take the photo I used a camera and tripod. I had the camera vertical and I positioned it at an angle so that the lights were going from biggest to smallest, which I think makes a cool pattern. I wanted to get close enough so you could really see the lights shining. For editing I used a lot of contrast and saturation to really bring out the light and the color.

3rd Place, Ariannah Crist, Koda, the Newfoundland

The goal for this assignment was to capture a photo that represents our view of winter in Michigan. The photo I took is of my Newfoundland, Koda. Koda loves the cold weather and all the snow. He also likes taking long naps after all his fun outside. I set some Christmas lights in front of him while he was lying down and took a few pictures. The next day I downloaded them into the computer during photography class and chose the one I thought was best. I edited it in Photoshop, making two layers and turning the top layer black and white while the bottom layer stayed with its original color. Then I used the brush tool to make the lights colorful by exposing the bottom layer. My vision of Christmas is that it and family can make you happy during dark times.

4th Place, Kiersten Vienstra, Great Granny’s Sugar Cookies

My subject for the winter wonderland is my great granny’s sugar cookie recipe. My mom makes her cookies every Christmas and she lets me decorate the cookies, which I love doing. I can connect to this on a personal level because with the way the sprinkle of the tree is sitting reminds me of pine trees sitting on a mountain with snow on it. It reminds me of all the times my family and I have gone to Colorado to go see family. My great uncle owns a house on a mountain, and my cousins and I would go outside and take walks around his house. It had lots of pine trees, so seeing the cookie looks like that gives me peace. When I took this picture, I made sure to have my Christmas tree in the back. I used a small tripod, so the camera wasn’t shaking. I adjusted the exposure to make it a little brighter.

5th Place: Hunter Bell, My Dog, Ruger

Ever since my dog (Ruger) was young, he loved the snow and loved going outside. His favorite thing to do outside when it’s sunny is to chase the shadows of the birds flying in the sky. I figured out if I put bird seed out in the bird feeder, more birds would fly around. This keeps him entertained outside and not making a mess inside. He also loves to sit inside and look at the birds, or he loves to eat the seed, then chase them off the feed. When I open the door, he chases them off the feed and then runs back to me and looks all happy like he did his job. That is how I got the idea what to take my picture of.

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