The 2022 Photo Contest is open now. Submit your entries here.
We asked for your best shots. You delivered. From more than 4,000 entries, the winners of our 27th annual photo contest.
“The average person is a much better photographer than they used to be,” says professional photographer Paul Orenstein, one of the judges of this year’s contest. Maybe that’s one reason that the entries—and all the winners—wowed us so much. These top shots have great composition, light, colour, and detail; they tell a story and evoke emotion; they’re creative and original; and they show us aspects of lake, cottage, and cabin life that we’ve never seen before. So, enjoy. (Because we sure did.)
The story: Gillene Gauthier takes a lot of night-sky shots at her family’s cabin on Norman Lake, B.C., and she’s even captured the aurora borealis “four or five times.” But nothing like this scene, shot on Mother’s Day, at 1:30 a.m. “It was amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like it before,” she says. Gillene used a tripod for the photo and spent hours taking shots. “I didn’t get much sleep that night, but it was worth it.”
The story: Karen Pratt and her family were at a wild and windy Canada Day celebration in Port Elgin, Ont., when she photographed her kids, Cameron, 11, and Ava, 8, playing on the beach. Karen loves the sense of movement and action that she was able to capture...right before that giant wave hit. “We were all absolutely soaked,” she says. “My son was like, ‘That was awesome!’ And I said, ‘We need to go change, you guys.’ ”
The story: Matt Perkins likes testing out different forms of light in his photos; here, he had a friend illuminate the trees on Vancouver Island’s Mystic Beach with a 1,000-lumen flashlight. It was an experiment. “That’s all I do. Kind of mess around with it and see what happens,” he says. His favourite aspect of the shot? “It has a sense of excitement. I have that feeling for the West Coast. You never know what you’re going to see here.”
The story: Hélène Savard was visiting Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba to shoot the fireworks on Canada Day. Instead, Ma Nature put on her own awesome display. “The sunset just became amazing,” says Hélène, who used a wide-angle lens. Then the boat showed up. “I’ve taken this same photo before, but without the boat,” she says. “It was boring.”
The story In August, Renee Lytle and Sophie Chambers were entertaining guests, including Sophie’s 12-year-old niece, Esme, at their Adams Lake, B.C., cabin. Renee used a GoPro camera for the photo. “Esme loves mermaids,” she says. “So we were trying to get a mermaid shot.” Success!
The story: Michael Tighe spent a good portion of his week-long family cottage vacation on Menominee Lake, Ont., taking photos using the drone he’d bought that summer (an impulse buy, it was “too cool to resist”). Whenever a family member went out in a boat, “there was my drone,” he says. Here, his parents were coming back from a pedal boat ride. “I like that it has a relaxing feel, but there’s still some action going on.”
The story: Kelly Corey was having coffee on the dock at the Lake Temagami, Ont., cottage he’d rented with his family when he noticed the moth. “It was one of those really still days. I don’t want to say the lake was like glass, because that’s a cliché, but...” For this photo, Kelly used a mirrorless camera. (Unlike a DSLR, it doesn’t have an optical viewfinder or mirror.) “I definitely got lucky,” he says. The moth, not so much. “I think right after I took the photo, a fish came up and got it.”
The story: Dickey Lake, Ont., cottager Eric Bancroft used a long lens to shoot the heron while he was out in his boat with his son. Eric’s been taking wildlife photos at the cottage for years and sees herons every time he’s there. This time, the bird really stood out. “It was dusk, so we had that nice light,” he says. “The light is why I like this photo so much.”
This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.