RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2018) — The votes have been tallied and the winner of this year’s Wildlife in North Carolina Photo Competition is Kevin Nestvogel, a 25-year-old Wilmington resident. Wildlife in North Carolina is the long-running magazine produced by the N.C. Wildife Resources Commission. Nestvogel's grand prize-winning photo, the first ever taken using a drone, featured an aerial view of the salt marsh in New Hanover County.
“The photo was taken right behind Wrightsville,” said Nestvogel. “It’s so well-preserved. It’s like some remote place.”
Nestvogel works as a video producer in the marketing department for Live Oak Bank in Wilmington. He also operates Nested Photography, a photo service that focuses on landscape and print photography.
“I have been droning for about two and a half years,” said Nestvogel, who bested around 1,800 entries to win the competition. “I’ve never won a photo contest before. I briefly skimmed the [congratulatory] email. My heart started racing and I read it again. I was at the office and I felt like I needed to scream.”
“Every year we have many amazing images submitted to the competition,” said Wildlife in North Carolina Art Director Marsha Tillett. “The winning photograph for this year grabbed the attention of all the judges. Maybe it was the unique perspective, a look at the world in a different way, or the well-utilized light. But we were all drawn to it. This photograph is dynamic. There is a lot of visual interest in this image but the elements are not competing. It is balanced and well-composed.”
The other judges for this year’s competition included staff graphic designers Amy Friend and Bryant Cole and staff photographer Melissa McGaw. Also serving as judge was Mike Dunn, a retired senior manager of outreach at the N.C. Museum of Natural History and a veteran nature photographer.
All winning photographs, including Nestvogel’s, will be on exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh starting on Feb. 24 and on the Commission’s website.