Pamplin Media Group – 2021 Friends of the Columbia Gorge Photo Contest Winners

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Portland photographer Dan Hawk won two of the top spots this year, along with six other photographers.


Portland photographer Dan Hawk works as a commercial, lifestyle and product photographer. He specializes in professional portraits, headshots and product photography. Its clients are real estate, architecture and lifestyle brands.

But Hawk’s real passion for photography comes on weekends, when he is found far from the city in the Columbia River Gorge.

Hawk recently won two categories in the annual Friends of Columbia Gorge photo contest, themed “Picturer Perfection”.

“There might not be any other place on the planet where you can live in a metropolitan area and drive 20 to 25 minutes and stand in front of a waterfall over 100 feet high,” said Hawk, president of section of the American Society of Media Photographers.

It was his photo of a waterfall, Dry Creek Falls, that won the grand prize in the contest. He hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail outside of Cascade Locks to reach the falls in mid-July of last year.

{obj: 54317: View all of the 2021 Friends of the Gorge of Columbia Photo Contest winners here.}

“It sits in a pretty deep canyon, keeping it green and lush all year round,” he said. “(The canyon) also protected it from fire damage. It’s a beautiful reminder of the power and resilience of nature.”

“I am totally delighted with this photo,” said contest judge Beth Nakamura, a Portland-based photojournalist and Emmy winner. “It’s really beautifully done, the way the light hits and how the composition helps direct our gaze, but not with a heavy hand.”

A photo of the Bridge of the Gods, with a Native American fishing platform, also won the Hawk category in the Human Works category.

COURTESY PHOTO: FRIENDS OF THE THROAT OF COLUMBIA - This is a sight familiar to photographer Laura Payne, whose parents live in Mosier.  She is the winner of the Friends of Columbia Gorge photo competition.Photographer Laura Payne, who lives in Mosier as well as Washougal, Wash., Won the panoramic category of the contest for the Eastern Gorge with a photo of a quiet Columbia River in winter, near Mosier.

“It’s certainly never boring to see this sight,” she said.

The spot where Payne took the photo was within walking distance of where Payne’s parents live in Mosier, she said. This is one of the many places in town where she enjoys taking photos.

“There is also the Mosier Plateau Trail, a great place to take photos,” she said. “Rowena’s point of view is a great place. Whether it’s out in the wilderness or in certain towns, The Dalles or Hood River, there is always something interesting or a little moment to film.”

Other winners:

Gorge Community Life category, Jan Sonnenmair, Portland; Scenic Western Gorge category, Karen Reeves, Portland; Category Wild flowers and other flora, Pratyush Jaiswal, Portland; Wildlife Category, Bill Kirkland, Portland; Youth photographer, Aidan Sweet, Portland.

Want to take your own photos in the gorges? A new bus service called the Sasquatch Shuttle offers stops at eight recreation sites in the Columbia Gorge. The bus departs from the Bridal Veil exit of Interstate 84 and stops at Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Angel’s Rest, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, Vista House, and Portland Women’s Forum.

The service operates daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available online.


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