Best of show, landscape winners announced in The Lima News’ 26th annual Amateur Photo Competition

LIMA — The longer you look at Don Nuss’s “Death Valley Hikers” photograph, the more you see.

Perhaps it’s the vibrant colors of the rolling hills. Perhaps it’s the badwaters off in the distance. Or, if you look really closely near the center, it could be the two hikers.

“It might be land; it might be cloth,” said Sally Windle, director of Artspace/Lima and one of this year’s judges. “It fools you in the texture and in the perspective and in the object itself.”

Kirstin Lee, director of arts and magnets programs at Lima schools and another judge, added, “It definitely draws you in and takes you through the picture. It’s as if you’re a visitor in that landscape.”

Whatever it is, the judges for the 26th annual The Lima News Amateur Photo Competition couldn’t take their eyes off Nuss’s work. That made it the choice as best of show in this year’s contest and the winner in the landscape category. Nuss, of St. Marys, won the top prize of $100.

The Lima News received 288 entries this year in nine categories: abstract, action/sports, animals, candid, candid kids, flowers, landscape/scenic, portrait and still life. Photos were submitted online in August and September. Today, the best of show and landscape/scenic categories appear, while other category winners will be unveiled throughout the week. All entries in a category can be seen in photo galleries on LimaOhio.com once the winners are announced.

Nuss said he always enjoyed taking photographs. He started with his grandparents’ Polaroid and worked up from there. He used a “point and shoot” for years, until he retired 15 years ago. His son encouraged him to get a digital camera, buying a Nikon D-850 with his trusty 24-120 mm lens.

He is self-taught, although he enjoys working in camera clubs. He also studies information on the internet to improve his skills.

“I just kind of fumbled my way into it and fell down the rabbit hole,” Nuss said. “I just keep going.”

The judges said they were impressed by the quality of many of the photos, including offering unique perspectives.

“Maybe because we have cameras in our pockets at all times, we’re forced to see things in a little bit of a different way and with more of a framing or artistic view,” Lee said. “Maybe that’s what inspired some of the ones that we liked, the fact that people were more comfortable capturing moments or capturing the beauty that existed in front of them.”

The Death Valley photograph is an example of going back to look more closely at something for Nuss. He said he and his wife spend time in Arizona. They’d visited Death Valley once before but didn’t really notice anything spectacular. They gave it another shot and noticed that landscape.

“Fast forward to the day I got that photo, and there’s a whole bunch of other things that we didn’t see the first time,” Nuss said. “… We just found a lot of really neat, neat landscapes that we couldn’ t even imagine were there.”

PHOTO EXHIBIT

WHAT: The Lima News’ 26th annual Amateur Photo Competition

WHEN: October at ArtSpace/Lima downtown; after that, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center High Street Mall Gallery through end of year

ONLINE: LimaOhio.com

ANNOUNCE WINNERS

Today: Best of show and landscape

Monday: Abstract and Action/sports

Tuesday: Animals and Candid

Wednesday: Candid kids and Flowers

Thursday: Portrait and still life

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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