Photo Contest Highlights Ada County Parks

Jan 11, 2015

It was a photo contest by the people and for the people of Ada County. The goal was to highlight the parks and waterways managed by Ada County, and to encourage people to get out and enjoy that landscape.

"We were blown away" by what people sent in, says Scott Koberg, Director of Ada County Parks and Waterways.

The idea for a photo contest "just sort of hatched," Koberg says. The genesis was their magazine Current, which often features photos of places to play in Ada County.

He says they wanted to show off some of those spots, “I don’t think it’s that interesting to the public who manages what, but we want folks to know what Ada County does from a parks standpoint.”

Elizabeth Lamas picked up First Place in Wildlife with this shot in the Boise River Riparian Area.
Credit Elizabeth Lamas / Ada County Parks and Waterways

There was also another reason. "We really wanted to engage the public for the Ada County Sesquicentennial," says Koberg, "because we know people are out there visiting, using, and recreating on our properties."

This "selfie" from David Swindler won First Place for action. He's riding the Corrals Trail (Ridge to Rivers).
Credit David Swindler / Ada County Parks and Waterways

Anyone could enter and one of those who submitted a photo was Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney. "I've been a budding photographer for 32 years," Raney says laughing. He got his first camera as a high school graduation present.

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney won First Place in the Landscape/Scenic category with this shot from Fivemile/Victory wetlands.
Credit Gary Raney / Ada County Parks and Waterways

"I always dabbled with it," says Raney, "and it had spikes and lulls, like any long-term hobby." He says when he was a deputy, he had to take good pictures when he took photos at crime scenes.

His wife helps out. Raney says she helped him find the spot where he took the winning photo. "I wanted to go somewhere where nobody knew anything about," says Raney, "I didn't even know that wetland was there." He clicked the photo at the Fivemile/Victory wetlands.

Raney says it's the hobby he most enjoys, "it's anything you want it to be."

Koberg says there were hundreds of photos submitted. Though at first, it was just a trickle, “we were holding our breath,” waiting for entries at the beginning, but ultimately, “it turned out fantastic, with plenty that came in to judge.” Koberg says “it was a fun exercise to see what people were seeing out there, some of it was jaw dropping; it was awesome.”

Paul Dawson walked home with First Place in Abstract/Close-up with this shot of a sagebrush Mariposa tulip on Barclay Bay at Lucky Peak Lake.
Credit Paul Dawson / Ada County Parks and Waterways

Koberg's staff were the judges. Each photo was printed out and put on a wall, “the conference room was covered," he says. Each photo was ranked by the judges. "If we all selected a photo, and it was hands down the favorite, it became pretty clear what stood out.”

Keith Hyde won First Place in the Human Interest category with this shot from Lucky Peak Lake.
Credit Keith Hyde / Ada County Parks and Waterways

Koberg says it was great, “having folks out there, being the eyes for us," he says. "It’s our friends and neighbors and public playing and recreating and taking pictures with their iPhones, and it encourages others to go out and do the same."

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