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State parks in search of best images

This photo of a monarch butterfly at Charles Towne Landing was a monthly winner in a
State Park Service photo contest. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAM CORWIN
This photo of a monarch butterfly at Charles Towne Landing was a monthly winner in a State Park Service photo contest. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAM CORWIN

PAM CORWIN and Laura Kirk enjoy taking pictures, but they don’t consider themselves “photographers” in the grand sense of the word.

“I never really thought my photography was that good,” said Corwin, a fisheries biologist from Charleston.

Kirk took a photography class in middle school, but it was an oldschool, black-and-white film class. Modern digital photography makes it so much easier to keep shooting away until you get the right shot.

Of course, it helps to have an eye for color, contrast and framing. And Corwin and Kirk seem to have that.

The judges in the S.C. State Parks 75th anniversary photo contest think Corwin and Kirk aren’t simply good photographers; they’re award-winning.

Each has earned a first-place award during the first four months of the yearlong competition.

The contest is open to anyone, with divisions for professionals, amateurs, juveniles and state park employees. The only requirement is that the photo be taken in a state park.

Monthly winners in each division get a $50 prize package.

The best in each division for the full year win cameras, and the grand prize shot for the year earns a Folbot Edisto kayak.

Even if you don’t take photos, you can go online to enjoy the work of others at www.comeoutandplay.net. Click on “winners” to find Corwin’s shot of a monarch butterfly among wildflowers at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site and Kirk’s image of a webworm moth on a verbena bloom.

Corwin started taking pictures in high school with a camera borrowed from her grandfather.

“I love how you can capture a moment in time,” she said. During a family visit to Charles Town Landing, she noticed the butterflies and started shooting.

“I just happened to get that picture,” Corwin said modestly. (She also recently won an S.C. Wildlife Federation photo contest.)

Being in the right place at the right time is the key. Of course, you need to have a camera with you, too.

“We have a park camera, and whenever I go out, I keep it around my neck,” said Kirk, a ranger at Lee State Natural Area.

She hit the jackpot with her award-winning shot. Not only should it inspire amateur photographers, but it also was taken in the butterfly garden planted by kids in an after-school program at the park.

She can show the photo to them and say, “This is why we planted that garden.”

Kirk encourages park visitors to enter the photo contest.

She hopes students on field trips this fall will bring their cameras and snap award-winning entries for the juvenile contest.

Reach Holleman at (803) 771-8366.

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