Photographers Shine in 2023 Photo Contest


February 7, 2024

Three Chinook photographers came away with prizes in the Triangle Communications 2023 Photo Contest. For their artistic composition and creativity in depicting "the scenic or abstract beauty of the Triangle service area," Crystal Stepper, Ashley Nordboe, and Emily Scofield all won recognition from the judges.

Capturing the Grand Prize for her picture of an old pickup with sunflowers spilling from the hood, Stepper won $200 and the opportunity to be featured on the cover of the January/February edition of Keeping You Connected, the Triangle Communications Magazine.

In sharing her response to winning, Stepper said, "I was very surprised to get first place because there were a lot of great submissions. The colors in all of the photos were beautiful, and it reminds me of how lucky we are to live where we do."

Stepper, who owns State Farm Insurance, described photography as a hobby for her, one she got interested in when her son Tyler started taking photographs.

About the subject of her winning photo, Stepper explained that a few years ago, she convinced her dad, Jess Murphy, to haul a 1946 Ford truck out of her grandfather's junk pile. "I loved all of the colors on it and the jail bar grill so much that I wanted to put it in my front yard and decorate it for the seasons. I had just put the sunflowers in it the day before the photo was taken. When I came home from work the next day after a short rainstorm and saw the rainbows pop up right behind it, I just had to snap a photo. It was just really good timing."

Five Runner-up Prizes of $50 each were also awarded, and two of those winners were Nordboe, who came in second place, and Scofield who landed fifth. In addition to their cash prizes, their photos will be featured as cover art during the coming year with March through December editions of Keeping You Connected.

Nordboe was similarly pleased to hear the news regarding her win. "Getting second place was exciting and surprising at the same time as there are so many amazing photos entered in each year."

In describing her process, Nordboe stated: "My son and I love to go on country drives in our free time, and I'm always taking pictures. This shot was easy to capture since you really can't take a bad picture of a Montana landscape. The hardest part was dodging the pesky mosquitoes; they were everywhere!"

Although Nordboe is not certain of the exact location of her winning landscape, she did disclose that it is an irrigation canal north of Chinook.

She added: "I'm by no means a photographer, but I enjoy taking pictures of the scenery. I had two entries in the contest this year. Both of them made it to the top 20, and one came in second place. Last year, I had two photos make the top 20 as well and ended up with one in third place. I really enjoy seeing all the local photos that everyone takes each year. I can't wait to see what this year brings."

Scofield, who likewise submitted two photos, expressed similar pride in her winning photograph. Both of her photos also made it to the top twenty round of voting, an achievement that produced excitement for her.

Scofield's fifth place winning photograph is a picture of Black Butte, which she titled "A Butte-tiful Butte." No filter was needed to make this photo, which Scofield defined as one of her personal favorites. "It just happened to be on one of those rare days that the wind was calm and the sun was in the perfect spot," Scofield said.

Like Stepper and Nordboe, Scofield considers photography a hobby. "I love to take nature photos just to reflect on later about all the beauty that surrounds us every day that we often take for granted. It's strictly a hobby, and this was my first photography contest," Scofield added.


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