Sign On San Diego

Natural Selections

Winning photographers found and artfully framed animals, elements and exquisite landscapes

It takes a special eye to capture the crystalline quality in a dragonfly’s wings and a lot of guts to point, shoot and reveal as pelicans divebomb perilously close. And it requires the art of camouflage – blending in with undulating fronds of kelp – to come face to face with a young harbor seal.

Quest readers have done all this and more, capturing moments in nature as varied as an iceberg and a giraffe’s tongue to win this year’s Nature & Eye photo contest.

Our judges – Andy Hayt, Union-Tribune director of photography; Stephanie Hanor, curator Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and San Diego nature photographer Randy Morse – compared, contemplated and ultimately chose from almost 2,000 photographs submitted by nearly 500 participants.

On these pages are the top winners, including Best of Show – Benjamin R. Miller’s dragonfly, exposed in luscious golden tones. The judges said Miller captured “a very interesting range of color and a nice sense of symmetry and detail. The photographer has a great ability to pick up texture in nice soft light.”

For his photograph, Miller, a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, wins a Giga Vue Pro 60, a portable hard drive for storing and displaying photographs.

First-and second-place winners in six categories and 18 honorable mentions also won prizes in Nature & Eye, which is co-sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego , George’s Camera and Delkin Devices.

The winning photographs were revealed Saturday at the museum during a day of photographic displays and workshops by Adam Jones, a nationally recognized Canon Explorers of Light Photographer, and Union-Tribune photographers John Gastaldo, Peggy Peattie and Nadia Borowski Scott, with catering by Giuseppe Restaurants .

Our thanks and congratulations to the creators of these winning vistas and portraits, and to all of you who shared your visions of nature with us.
– Leigh Fenly, Quest Editor


Iceberg Graveyard by Benjamin Kierulff
Fields of Green by Lisa Mawson
Cracked Ice by Erik M. Eilers
Starfish by Nonoy Tan
Peregrine Falcon by Zach Smith
Wood and Water by Paul Nyerges
Home on the Range by Marlin E. Gher
Flower in the Mist by Karla Ogilvie
Flower Up Close by Lewis H. Abulafia
Turtle Reflection by Steve Gould
White Fish by Tracy Clark
Jellies Sinking by Paul Erickson
Porpoises by Donny Kim
Great Egret Landing by Rich Codington
Pugilist Hawks by Robert Harrington
Golden Dunes by Steve Meth
Monkeys Grooming by Mikael Levin
Female Humpback by Steve Azer

We thank our sponsors – Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, George’s Camera, Delkin Devices and Giuseppe Restaurants of La Jolla – and also our astute judges – Stephanie Hanor, curator Museum of Contemporary Art; Andy Hayt, director of photography, The San Diego Union-Tribune; and Randy Morse, San Diego nature photographer.

Participants who submitted prints to Nature & Eye may pick them up in the lobby of the Union-Tribune, 350 Camino de la Reina, San Diego , between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. , Monday through Friday, from today through May 31.

Photos on CDs will not be returned.

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