Glen Canyon photo wins national parks 2015 contest; 2016 photo contest is on

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Photo by Yang Lu, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A dramatic sunrise in a remote location at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is the grand prize winner of the 2015 “Share the Experience” photo contest hosted by the National Park Foundation and others. The winning picture shown above was captured by Yang Lu of El Segundo, California, and will be featured on the annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, grand prize winner of the Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Photo by Yang Lu, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, grand prize winner of the Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Photo by Yang Lu, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News

“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas,” Lu said, as quoted on the National Park Foundation’s blog. After his tedious research on water levels and navigating to the ideal location, Lu said, he and his wife set out on a two-day backpacking trip in Glen Canyon.

“My wife and I took three gallons of water. We did not see anybody for two days. There is no trail; we depended on my research,” Lu said. “I wanted to go in the winter when the temperature and water levels were low. The curves and those formations, I have never seen anywhere.”

The grand prize for the winning image is $10,000, followed by $5,000 and $3,000 for second and third place, in addition to outdoor gear provided by Celestron, hotel packages courtesy of Historic Hotels of America and an annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

This annual contest encourages amateur photographers to share their experiences by submitting their favorite views, moments and adventures from America’s national parks and public lands. It is supported by Active Network and Celestron as well as the National Park Foundation.

Joshua Tree National Park, Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Photo by Koustubh Kulkarni, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News
Joshua Tree National Park, second place winner of the the Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Photo by Koustubh Kulkarni, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News

Over 15,000 photos were submitted with more than 650,000 photo views over the course of the contest, according to the National Park Foundation news release. The contest ran from May 1-December 31, 2015.

Second place went to Koustubh Kulkarni of Johnson City, Tennessee, for his photo along the 49 Palms Trail at Joshua Tree National Park in California. The shot catches five Big Horn sheep, looking almost posed, against a vibrant orange, yellow, pink and blue sunset.

Third place went to Sarah Gustafson of San Francisco, California, for her self-portrait on the salt flats of Death Valley National Park in California.

You can view all 11 photos and read the photographers’ comments on the National Park Foundation’s blog today.

2016 Share the Experience photo contest

The 2016 Share the Experience photo contest opened yesterday and will accept entries through Dec. 31.  There is no cost to participate and contestants may enter up to two photographs per week.

Death Valley National Park, third place winner of the Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Self-portrait photo by Sarah Gustafson, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News
Death Valley National Park, third place winner of the Share the Experience 2015 photo contest | Self-portrait photo by Sarah Gustafson, courtesy of National Park Foundation; St. George News

See the rules here: Share the Experience 2016 Rules 04-25-16 | Register to enter the contest here.

The contest is sponsored by the National Park Foundation and Active Network in partnership with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and Recreation.gov.

Share the Experience is the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal recreational lands, showcasing the more than 500 million acres of federal lands and drawing entries from all across the United States.

The ShareTheExperience website allows you to submit photos, vote for photos and shows weekly winners. Weekly winners receive an Annual Federal Lands Recreation Pass.

Share the Experience is a great example of the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark. Launched in March 2015, Find Your Park is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate and support America’s national parks and community-based programs.

Celebrating the National Park Service centennial and setting the stage for the service’s next 100 years, #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history.

As part of its commitment to the National Park Service Centennial and strengthening our national treasures for the next 100 years, the National Park Foundation offers many ways to support America’s national parks: national park-inspired gearcommemorative coins$350 million Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks.

About the National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service with a mission to protect, connect and inspire.

Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and inspire the next generation of park stewards.

In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the foundation launched the Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at the National Park Foundation website.

This report derives in part from a National Park Foundation news release via PR Newswire.

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