Winners of 2023 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest announced

Matthew Dees took first place in the Cold-Blooded Critters Category this year with his image of an American alligator near the Mobile Bay Causeway in south Alabama. (ADCNR)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The winners of the 2023 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest are listed below. As usual, the judges had a very difficult time selecting the winning photos from among the thousands entered. The 2024 contest will be announced later this year. 

“The abundant diversity in Alabama’s landscape and native wildlife make it a photographer’s paradise,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “From the north Alabama mountains to the state’s Gulf Coast, the winning images in this year’s Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest highlight the natural beauty of our state. Congrats to all of the winners!” 

Sponsors of the 2023 photo contest include Alabama State Parks, the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, and the Alabama Tourism Department. Each winner will receive a prize pack and be featured in a traveling exhibit throughout 2023. When the traveling exhibit schedule is finalized, it will be posted at  

See all the winning photos at 

Categories and winners 

Alabama State Parks 
1st Place – Evan Lanier, Pulpit Rock at Cheaha State Park 
2nd Place – Brad Lackey, DeSoto Falls at DeSoto State Park 
3rd Place – John Denney III, Dawn fishing at Wind Creek State Park 
Honorable Mention – Katie Gwinn, Hiking at Oak Mountain State Park 

1st Place – Christopher Baker, Sandhill cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge 
2nd Place – Jim Flynn, Blue jay in Albertville 
3rd Place – Amber Hart, Blue grosbeak at the Mallard Fox Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lawrence County 
Honorable Mention – Stacey Reid, Great horned owl in Lauderdale County 

1st Place – Amanda Chapman, Raccoon in Tuscumbia 
2nd Place – Lindsey Green, Fox kits in Union Grove 
3rd Place – Christopher Jessee, Black bear in Saraland 
Honorable Mention – John Denney III, Fox squirrel 

Cold-blooded Critters 
1st Place – Matthew Dees, American alligator near the Mobile Bay Causeway 
2nd Place – Amber Hart, Spotted salamander in Guntersville 
3rd Place – Matthew Dees, Land crab near the Mobile Bay Causeway 
Honorable Mention – Gene Tilley, Tree frog in Ethelsville 

Bugs and Butterflies 
1st Place – Amber Hart, Marbled orbweaver in Guntersville 
2nd Place – Brent Eanes, Painted lady on Dauphin Island 
3rd Place – Jim Flynn, Red ant in Albertville 
Honorable Mention – Christopher Baker, Bee on Joe-Pye Weed 

Sweet Home Alabama 
1st Place – Benjamin Rollings, Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley 
2nd Place – Jeff Hampton, Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville 
3rd Place – Tamara Petty-Neal, Downtown Mobile 
Honorable Mention – Joe Miller, Etowah Memorial Bridge in Gadsden 

Nature-Based Recreation 
1st Place – Laurie Schaerer, Net casting in Bayou la Batre 
2nd Place – Amata Hinkle, Caving in Jackson County 
3rd Place – Chris Funk, Angler with a spotted bass on the Coosa River near Wetumpka 
Honorable Mention – Jesse Adams, Hikers in the Talladega National Forest 

Shoots and Roots 
1st Place – Jim Bale, Deer moss at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge 
2nd Place – Peter Marting, Frost’s bolete mushroom in the Talladega National Forest 
3rd Place – Audra Spears, Wild azalea at Lake Martin 
Honorable Mention – Gene Tilley, Yellow-fringed orchid in Millport 

1st Place – Richard Jenkins, Oak Street in Magnolia Springs 
2nd Place – Keith Bozeman, Flint Creek cascade in Vinemont 
3rd Place – Michael Vaughn Jr., Sunset at Fairhope pier on Mobile Bay 
Honorable Mention – Jamie Williams, Covered bridge on the Madison County Nature Trail 

Young Photographers 
1st Place – Drake Allen (age 16), Damselfly 
2nd Place – Blakely Stafford (age 17), Speckled trout caught on Dauphin Island 
3rd Place – Levi Lynn (age 16), Butterfly 
Honorable Mention – Levi Odom (age 10), Brother fishing in Vernon 

For more information about the Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest, visit

ADCNR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Learn more at