PHOTO CONTEST 2023 Student Winners, Finalists and Semifinalists




It Never Ceases
First Place   |  It Never Ceases
Hillsborough River State Park  |  Waterscapes
Hope Bartlin  |  Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

"Hillsborough River State Park is one of my most loved parks in Florida, and I've spent just as many days there in the rain as I have in the sunshine. This particular day was relatively overcast and not the best time of day for wildlife, but the river was almost the clearest I've ever seen it. I wanted to try and capture the flow of the water, and being that it was darker out it was the perfect occasion to just sit with a slow shutter and let my lens drink it all in." - Hope Bartlin



Milky Way Over the Florida Keys
Second Place   |  Milky Way over the Florida Keys
Bahia Honda State Park  |  Night Skies
Wencong Cui  |  Texas A&M University

"This photo captures the stunning grandeur of the Milky Way as it stretches above the tranquil Bahia Honda State Park, illuminating the night sky with a billion stars. Inspired by the park's renowned dark skies (the state park with the lowest light pollution in Florida!), which offer a rare respite from light pollution, the aim was to encapsulate the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos as it contrasts with the serene, earthly charm of the park below. It's a tribute to the timeless dance between earth and sky, a moment of cosmic wonder frozen in time." - Wencong Cui



Barred Owl
3rd Place   |  Barred Owl
Myakka River State Park  |  Birds
Dillon Ogle  |  University of Colorado at Boulder College

This was an owl who I had found a few years ago within the park. I've spent the last 3 nesting seasons with who I believe to be her and her owlets. This shot with the mouth open has always been a dream shot of mine, especially while being in full daylight. I had taken my mom out to see the owl for the first time that day and it was a super memorable experience. - Dillon Ogle



Standing Out
Honorable Mention   |  Standing Out
Sebastian Inlet State Park  |  Wildlife
Jacob Askin  |  Florida Atlantic University

"The photo “Standing Out” took place at Sebastian inlet state park when a group of friends and I spotted a flock of Black Skimmers. Amongst the flock was one skimmer that particularly stood out. As I watched it energetically bob its head up and down, I waited for the perfect moment to capture its uniqueness." - Jacob Askin



Lighthouse Blues
Finalist  |  Lighthouse Blues
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park  |  Landscape
Elizabeth Hernandez  |  Florida International University



Sun Kissed
Finalist  |  Sun Kissed
Honeymoon Island State Park  |  Park Adventure
Kevin Hernandez  |  University of Florida

"I am always captivated by the magic of a Florida sunset. The tranquility of the calm waters, the man lost in the joy of fishing, the canvas of light in the background, I couldn’t resist taking a picture! It perfectly encapsulates life in the Sunshine State.." - Kevin Hernandez



Thrill Riding
Finalist  |  Thrill Riding
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park  |  Trails
Kevin Hernandez  |  University of Florida

"I love to see the many ways people get out into nature and enjoy the vast beauty of Florida's wild places. The scene of a parent and child joy-riding through a sunset-lit forest perfectly encapsulates the sense of adventure and bonding in nature that make time in these parks even more magical than they already are. These types of experiences are what keep pulling me back out to capture more pictures and continue exploring." - Kevin Hernandez



Arthropod's Awakening
Finalist  |  Arthropod's Awakening
Big Talbot Island State Park  |  Waterscapes
Jaxton Oakey  |  University of Florida

"I took this photo at Big Talbot Island State Park in early May, right at sunrise. I was drawn to capture this particular scene as the rising sun gently started to illuminate the delicate barnacles. I was inspired by their sheer size in comparison to the ocean before me and started to reflect upon the universality of the experience and how it seamlessly coexisted with such a simple moment." - Jaxton Oakey



We Hear You
Finalist  |  We Hear You
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park  |  Wildlife
Logan Richie  |  West Port High School

"Every year my family camps at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and almost every evening, we ride our bikes down the trail to the coastal dune lake looking for wildlife. We have seen everything from snakes, birds, rabbits, deer, and were even lucky enough to see the black bears one time. On this trip, we spotted these two deer that seemed to be as curious about us as we were of them. If they hadn't heard us, then we might not have seen them." - Logan Richie



The Swamp
Finalist  |  The Swamp
Highlands Hammock State Park  |  Landscape
Alexander Schaller  |  University of Florida

"This photo was captured as I explored Highland Hammocks State Park with some friends. I love going to see and photograph the state parks at different times of the year because with the Florida weather they are constantly changing. Highland Hammocks is a great example of this change, during the dryer months the area around the cypress swamp catwalk is relatively dry with the exception of the river area, but once the rainy season begins the entire area fills with water and the landscape completely changes. Seeing how the plants and animals adjust to the change is always so interesting and one of my favorite things about exploring the Florida State parks." Alexander Schaller








Great Blue Shadows
Semifinalist  |  Great Blue Shadows
Hillsborough River State Park  |  Birds
Hope Bartlin  |  Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine






Peaceful Trail
Semifinalist  |  Peaceful Trai
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park | Trails
Logan Richie | West Port High School



Ready for Takeoff
Semifinalist  |  Ready for Takeoff
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park | Details and Small Things
Logan Richie | West Port High School



Born in the USA
Semifinalist  |  Born in the USA
Long Key State Park | Birds
Taylor Zascavage | Nova Southeastern University



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