Weather Forecast


Nature behind the lens: Tamarac Photo Contest winners capture beauty of the seasons

A Sunset Catch by Alan Turcotte was captured by the lens of his wife Diane this summer; "Sunset Fishing" took the grand prize in the Tamarac Photo Contest for 2010.

The votes are in, and the grand prize winner of the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge's 9th Annual Photo Contest has been announced.

Rural Detroit Lakes resident Diane Turcotte took home the top prize for her photograph, "Sunset Fishing," which depicts her husband Alan bringing in a late-day catch last summer.

"My husband and I were out fishing in the boat and were coming in late, right at sunset," Turcotte said.

"I made the comment that I wanted to get a picture of the sunset... he happened to jerk the fish out of the water just as I was taking the picture, and it became an action shot.

"I got both the sunset and the fish in the picture, so I didn't have to take any more photos that day," she joked.

A resident of the lakes area since 1960, Turcotte said her father worked for the DNR at the Hubble Pond Dam from 1961-67.

"I live by the Ottertail River, about four houses down from where the Cotton Lake Store and the Rochert post office were located," Turcotte said. (both the store and post office are now closed).

Though she said her photography is "more of a hobby than anything," Turcotte is a regular participant in the photo competition at the annual Becker County Fair, and has also entered the Tamarac photo contest several times.

"I've won once," she said of her efforts in the Tamarac contest.

Turcotte took first place in the Recreational Photo category, for which she earned $20, and was also named as the Grand Prize winner, which earned her another $75. She said she used her winnings to purchase jackets from the gift store at the Tamarac Visitor Center.

"I also bought a sweatshirt," she added.

Judges for this year's photo contest were Detroit Lakes Newspapers' photographer, Brian Basham; professional nature photographer Roland Jordahl, who is also the field editor for Birds & Blooms magazine; and Norbert Caulfield, a retired professional photographer.

A total of 157 entries were submitted by 50 participants in five categories, including plant life, scenic, nature's abstract, recreation and wildlife. There were also two youth categories.

Besides Turcotte's grand prize, other winners were as follows:

• Manager's Choice: "Mallard and Wood Duck," by Dale Rehder;

• Refuge Friend's Choice: "Froggy," by Allysa Olson;

• People's Choice: "Evening Splendor," by Keith Brekken.

• Wildlife: "Red Eye Special," Rod Anton, first; "Going Home," Kathleen Curphy, second; "Mallard and Wood Duck," Dale Rehder, third.

• Plant life: "Nature's Nectar," Claudine Grove, first; "Western Blue Flag Iris," Greg Stetz, second; "Chorus Line," Anton, third.

• Scenic: "From Field to Prairie," Jessica Bolland, first; "Hoarfrost Splendor," Carolyn Wenger, second; "Sunrise over Blackbird Lake," Stetz, third.

• Nature's abstract: "Snake Tail," Jose Bellanger, first; "Crushed," Deb Erickson, second; "Spores Galore," Gloria Schattschneider, third.

• Recreation: "Sunset Fishing," Turcotte, first; "Make a Wish," Stacey Heitkamp, second; "Snapshot," Dannon Yliniemi, third.

• Youth 12 and younger: "Frog on Plant," Ashley Johnson, first; "Flower," Alyssa Olson, second; "I Can't Eat Another Bite," Connor Kosynick, third.

• Youth age 13-17: "Black-eyed Susan," Matthew Fairbanks, first; "Lost in Thought," Bailey Yliniemi, second; "Feather," Miya Rojas, third.

Visitors to the refuge may view all photo contest entries at the visitor center, located nine miles north of Highway 34 at the Junction of county roads 26 and 29 in Becker County. Visitor Center hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Photos may also be viewed at the Friends of Tamarac website,

Photographs submitted to each year's contest may be used in public presentations at the refuge, for presentations to community organizations, or in brochures, exhibits and newspaper articles, to promote the refuge and its mission.

For more information, contact Janice Bengtson at 218-847-2641.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454