A joyful photograph of a pet dog on a run at Ohiopyle State Park is among the top winners of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau’s 15th Annual Photo Contest.
Jeff Helsel, of California, won first place in the Plants and Animals category with his captivating photograph.
Kristin Ecker, LHVB’s Senior Director of Marketing, who oversees the contest, explained, “When judging the photo submissions for our annual contest, there’s a multitude of attributes that we discuss and consider as we review the images. That includes quality, composition, character and personality, and authenticity just to name a few.’’
Ecker continued, “When we encountered the series of images featuring George, the golden retriever, we all knew that the images were standouts in all of those areas and beyond. The ability to pack all of the beauty, essence and emotion that people love and experience when venturing into our natural spaces – alongside with their four-legged companions as so many visitors do – in such an amazingly high-quality rendering is remarkable and priceless to us at the LHVB.’’
Ecker noted, “The ability for us to share that moment with others creates a personal connection with viewers that money cannot buy, and that’s a big part of why we host the contest year after year. Visitors tell our story amazingly and we’re grateful for their willingness to share these moments with others.’’
Anna Weltz, LHVB director of public relations and community outreach, commented on Helsel’s photo, “Every year, I am astounded by the images submitted for the photo contest. The beauty, the excitement, and the vibrancy. This particular image invokes pure joy. Clearly, this furry guy is enjoying his adventure in Ohiopyle State Park.’’
Other winners included:
Plants and Animals: Krystall Ritenour, Linn Run State Park, Ligonier, second place; Tim Krupar, Wendover, Greensburg, third place.
People: Amanda Dowdy, Packsaddle Bridge, Fairhope, first place; Lori Ostroski, St. Vincent Lake, Latrobe, second place; Tim Krupar, Westmoreland String Workshop, Ligonier, third place.
Places: Alexandra Davis, Walker School Road, Berlin, first place; Linda Seanor, Johnson Church, Church, Confluence, second place; Dana Rukse, Jennerstown Speedway, Jennerstown, third place.
Festivals and Events: Dana Rukse, Greensburg Community Days, Greensburg, first place; Denise Eidemiller, Westmoreland County Airshow, Latrobe, second place; Linda Seanor, Somerset County Fair, Somerset, third place.
Top images will be included in the bureau’s 2020 Destination Guide, on www.laurelhighlands.org and displayed in special exhibits at high-profile locations in the Laurel Highlands.
First place in each of the four categories will receive $500; second place, $200; and third place, $100. Winning photos may also be featured on the bureau’s social media and billboards.
Established in 1958, the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.