Have you ever wanted to win handsome prizes for photographing idyllic scenery and landscapes, or capturing images of wildlife while cruising around the world?
Nikon and Princess Cruises, is again providing that opportunity for photographers with the PlacesToSeaSM photo contest. The contest, in its second year, is based on recognizing photos that inspire and amaze while sticking to a different conceptual theme each quarter.
For instance, the Quarter One theme this year is ‘Wildlife & Nature’; Quarter Two theme is ‘Seascapes and Landscapes’; Quarter Three theme is ‘Travel & Culture’; and Quarter Four theme is the ‘Come Back New Moment.’
The grand-prize winner of each quarter earns a free cruise for two courtesy of Princess Cruises and three runner-ups win prizes courtesy of Nikon.
For the Quarter Two theme of ‘Seascapes and Landscapes’, the Grand Prize winner is Dr. Donald Crumb; and second-place honors go to James Chien—both of whom used a Nikon D750 camera with an AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens to capture their inspiring images in Denali National Park in Alaska.
Sometimes, it pays to be in the wrong place at the right time.
A dentist by trade and a casual photographer for some 40 years, Dr. Donald Crumb never expected to win anything when he entered the #PlacestoSea contest—let alone the grand prize.
In fact, according to Crumb—a self-taught photographer who started with film and now works with digital imaging—his winning image of the Polychrome Pass area of the Alaska Range not only tested his photography skill, but came about with a touch of serendipity as well.
Using a Nikon D750 camera with the AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens at a focal length of 78mm, 1/640 sec exposure at f/6.3, ISO 100, Crumb originally expected to capture his dream shot, Denali—North America’s tallest peak—while on an Alaskan vacation with his wife. However that was not to be as cloud cover prohibited even being able to see the mountain at all.What happened just prior to that disappointment made Crumb a grand-prize winner instead.
He explains: “My wife and I were on a trip to Alaska that included four days in the Denali area and a seven-day Princess cruise. My photo was taken in Denali National Park while on the Tundra Wilderness Tour from a moving park bus. I was riding on the ‘wrong’ side of the bus when I saw this spectacular mountain scene out the windows on the other side of the bus. Fortunately, a young man sitting in the seat across the aisle from me allowed me to access his window. I couldn’t hesitate or the moment would be lost, and I knew the light was perfect at that moment.”
He continues: “As I was awkwardly leaning over him, I recall his wife saying, ‘You will probably see the same thing on the return trip on your side of the bus.’ And he did. However it was nowhere near the same. “As we passed the ‘same’ mountain scene on the return trip, I didn’t even take another image because the light was different and the scene was less inspiring. So I’m glad I captured the moment when I did,” he says.
While describing himself as a casual photographer, Crumb was able to rely on past photography experiences to capture this shot. Notably, in recent years he has visited the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Denali National Parks and taken mountain landscapes in these areas, as well as in Colorado and the Adirondack Mountains.
Describing this composition, he says: “I was able to capture the polychromatic nature of this area of the Alaska Range. The rays of light shining through the heavy overcast of darkened clouds naturally highlight and contrast the copper colors of the volcanic rocks in the mountains with the green tones of the foreground and the glaciers in the background.“ He also notes that the stream in the foreground draws the viewer’s attention to this majestic mountain scene.
For his effort, Crumb won a seven-day cruise for two in a balcony cabin on any Princess cruise, saying he and his wife will be taking a Western Caribbean cruise in March of 2019, compliments of Nikon and Princess Cruises.
He concludes: “One thing this photo experience reminded me of is to never wait for the perfect moment to take a photo because sometimes that will never happen. If I had waited to take that photo on ‘my side of the bus’ on the return trip, I would not be enjoying that photo today!”
A long-time photography enthusiast with over 40 years of experience shooting Nikon film and digital SLRs, James Chien turned his affinity for nature and scenery photography into a second-place prize in the Princess Cruises’ PlacesToSeaSM photo contest. “My photo interests have changed to nature and scenery photography [from studio portraiture] and the Princess Alaska land and cruise tour offered me [the opportunity] to visit so many unique sceneries at different stops of the tour,” Chien says.
“We started the land tour from Fairbanks then to Denali, to Mckinley/Talkeetna and then to Whittier where we boarded the Star Princess. The winning photo was taken at Denali, where I attended the Princess Denali Photography Workshop,” he says. Specifically, he notes that his tour guide led his group to the most scenic locations of the Denali— a new experience in subject matter for him.
Originally interested in studio photography using Nikon FE, FA, and F3 film SLRs, among others, Chien now shoots with the Nikon D750 DSLR— which is what he used to capture this image.
“I used the Nikon D750 with AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 28mm focal length,” he says. The settings were 1/13 sec shutter speed, f/8 aperture, ISO 100 and the camera was on a tripod.
“Since the sun set at midnight that day, the color of the area gave a warm glow.” he describes. The photo was taken at a lake with a nice foreground of grass on water, some snow on the mountains in the background and the gorgeous Alaska clouds in the sky. “I like the composition because I included the tree on the right to make the photo much more interesting, and the [reflection of the] water and grass in the foreground leads to the mountain in the background. Of course, I also like the Alaska sunset in the evening, which makes the scene so glorious!”
Clearly impressed by the surroundings—and his results—Chien looks forward to returning. “I would love to go back to Denali in the winter to take the Aurora over the Denali Mountain,” he says.
As the second-place winner, he earned a Nikon camera.
He concludes: “I like this photo because the scene was so peaceful and it was taken at America’s last frontier.”