By Jodie B. Owen, ncwildlife.org
A stunning close-up of a partially submerged alligator in a Brunswick County pond took top honors in the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s 12th Annual Wildlife in North Carolina magazine photo competition, with winners announced January 5, 2017.
Frank Ellison, of Clemmons, won the grand prize for his portrait of “One Eye,” an American alligator so named because it has only one eye, an injury that Ellison speculates it sustained while defending its territory.
“One Eye” marks the second year in a row Ellison has won the competition after taking top honors in 2015 for his detailed photograph of an assassin fly. “One Eye,” which graces the cover of the January/February issue of Wildlife in North Carolina, was one of more than 1,500 photos entered in this year’s contest, making the selection of 40 winning photos no easy task, according to Commission Art Director Marsha Tillett.
“The power and beauty in this image are exceptional,” Tillett said of the winning photograph. “It’s photographs like this one, and the others featured in this issue, that give voice to the natural wonders of North Carolina.”
Although Ellison is the contest’s only two-time grand prize winner, Randolph County photographer Eric Abernethy won two first prizes this year — in the Reptiles and Amphibians category with a photo of a pregnant timber rattlesnake and in the Wild Plants category with his photograph of raindrops on lily pads.
Other first place winners, by category:
- Birds: Jim Parnell, Wilmington, Eastern wild turkey in wheat
- Mammals: Bobby Nicks, Cary, elk eating grass
- Invertebrates: Alan Clark, Raleigh, spider spinning a web in Durham County
- Wild Landscapes: Carey Plemmons, South Mills, Frisco Pier during a winter storm
- Outdoor Recreation: Daniel Pullen, Buxton, a surfer at sunset
- Animal Behavior: Frank Clemmensen, Durham, two grasshoppers mating
- Youth Photographer 13-17: Josh Hunter, Salisbury, a silver-spotted skipper on a plant
- Youth Photographer 12 and under: Tyler Jernigan, Snow Hill, an Eastern hognose snake
Wildlife in North Carolina is published six times a year by the Wildlife Commission. Subscribers to the magazine enjoy exceptional color photography and great articles on hunting, fishing, natural areas, wildlife research and the state’s environment in every issue, with one-year and three-year subscriptions available online. Subscribers also receive a spring and a fall outdoor guide special editions, with the latest hunting, fishing and sportsman information.
Details and rules for the 2017 photo competition will be posted online at www.ncwildlife.org in May, with entries from subscribers and youth accepted beginning June 1, 2017, through September 1, 2017.