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Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine Announces Photo Competition Winners

  • 28 January 2015
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Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine Announces Photo Competition Winners
Great Egret in Lake Mattamuskeet Canal -WINC grand prize winner 2014 by Neil Jernigan.

RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 28, 2015) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has announced the winners of its 10th annual Wildlife in North Carolina magazine photo competition.

Neil Jernigan, of Snow Hill, won the grand prize for his image of a great egret wading in a canal at Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge on the coastal plain. A past winner in the Youth 13-17 category in 2008, Jernigan is both an active outdoorsman and photographer. The 23-year-old graduate of Lenoir Community College received $200 and a high quality color printout of his image, which was featured on the cover of the January-February issue of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.

Jernigan captured the image of the egret while scouting locations on Lake Mattamuskeet for a photography workshop.

“When we pulled up, I saw the egret about 100 yards away and I saw the reflection,” Jernigan said. “I switched from evaluative to spot metering and metered off the white feathers. He was standing in the only sunlight in the canal.”

Marsha Tillett, art director for Wildlife in North Carolina, lauded Jernigan’s photo for its use of lighting and negative space.

“The image we chose to be the grand prize winner stood out because it was such a peaceful image and so beautifully lit,” Tillett said. “The composition of the egret and the mirrored silhouette came together to create a beautiful image, and the negative space accentuated the lovely angles of the bird.”

This was the third year the photo competition was open only to subscribers (for adults). Photographers submitted more than 1,200 entries in the following categories: Birds, 222; Mammals, 135; Reptiles and Amphibians, 113; Invertebrates, 157; Wild Plants, 117; Outdoor Recreation, 97; Wild Landscapes, 181; Animal Behavior, 136; Youth 13–17, 49; and, Youth 12 and Under, 12.

First-place winners by category:

  • Birds: Charles English, Wilmington, white egret
  • Mammals: Charles English, Wilmington, red fox
  • Reptiles and Amphibians: Patti White, Bear Creek, bullfrog
  • Invertebrates: Frank Ellison, Clemmons, assassin fly
  • Wild Plants: Daniel Beauvais, Kitty Hawk, tuft of grass
  • Outdoor Recreation: Ashley Morrison, Little River, S.C., kayakers
  • Wild Landscapes: Paul Malcolm, Garner, fog in trees
  • Animal Behavior: Alan Clark, Raleigh, towhee
  • Youth Photographer, 13-17: Jacob Thomas, Waxhaw, honeybee
  • Youth Photographer, 12 and younger: Austin Ellison, Clemmons, shrimp

In addition to Tillett, other judges for this year’s contest were staff graphic designers Amy Friend and Bryant Cole and staff photographer Melissa McGaw. Mike Dunn, retired senior manager of outreach at the N.C. Museum of Natural History, was also a judge. Winning photographs may be seen on exhibit through March at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh and on the Wildlife Commission’s website,

Wildlife in North Carolina is published bimonthly by the Wildlife Commission. Subscribers to the magazine enjoy exceptional color photography and great articles on hunting, fishing, natural areas, wildlife research and the state’s environment in every issue, with one-year and three-year subscriptions available online. Subscribers also receive a spring and a fall outdoor guide special editions, with the latest hunting, fishing and sportsman information.

Details and rules for the 2015 photo competition will be posted online at in May, with entries from subscribers and youth accepted beginning June 1.

Download a high-resolution version of the image above. Please credit Neil Jernigan.;
Media Contact:
Russell Wong


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