Photography competition showcases the beauty of Seminary Hill

By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]

The Twin Cities are full of great parks and places to explore nature, but none can compare to the Seminary Hill Natural Area.

Right in downtown Centralia, a few blocks from Tower Avenue, the lush forest on the hill is an oasis away from the bustling and ever-growing city.

Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area (FSHNA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of perhaps the city’s most unique park. This fall, the FSHNA set out to showcase the location through a photography competition. The entries were used to create a 2022 calendar. The competition had an adult category for entrants aged 13 and over and a youth category for those 12 and under.

The association intends to repeat the competition in 2022. Its Facebook page is @SeminaryHill.

Youth Category

In the 12 and under category, the competition was won by Lena Revel, 10, a fifth grader in Rochester.

Lena is a naturalist who likes to mix her exterior side with her artistic side. Art projects are where she shines at school. At home, she paints, draws and takes pictures.

Asked what she prefers to photograph, Lena replied, “Things that are out of the ordinary for me, like when I see animals or see brightly colored mushrooms or something that stands out.”

Its award-winning entry shows just as much, as it shows orange mushrooms and bright green moss taking over a dark stump, surrounded by a backdrop of fallen tan leaves. She took the photo with an iPhone.

Lena’s family enjoys hiking and backpacking, especially at Seminary Hill and the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Photography, Lena said, allows her to combine multiple interests in one place.

For her photo, she won a $ 50 prize and was featured in the calendar.

“I was very, very excited,” she said. “It was really great to be recognized.”

In the coming year, Lena said she hopes to experiment with new techniques and subjects in photography and diversify her skills. Maybe she’ll put her $ 50 in a piggy bank for a digital camera.

“She’s so creative. It’s really cool to see her rewarded for this, ”said Lena’s mother, Staci Revel. “We do a lot of things in the outdoors, we hike and things like that. She’s natural with animals, plants and all, she’s just a little animal lover.

Adult Category

In the adult age bracket, Cameron Harper, 38, was chosen as the winner from 19 entrants.

After moving to the area in 2001 to be closer to his family, Harper worked in retail. Photography and writing are his creative passions, he said, and in the future he hopes they can become something he does more often. As a nature photographer, his favorite things to capture are birds and other wildlife. One of his favorite photos he ever took was of a squirrel, where he was close enough to catch the reflection of the forest in his eyes.

“I like to look up. Especially when it’s a closed trail there wasn’t a real viewpoint, I think a lot of people are taking photos right on the trail. So I looked up and felt really airy. This is what I wanted to convey in the photo (of the competition). I’m just trying to get different points of view, ”he said. “I like to make them as clear as possible, as much detail.”

Borst Park and Seminary Hill both became sanctuaries for him away from his busy work and served as the backdrop for most of his images.

In fact, his entry was taken before he even knew about the FSHNA photo contest.

“I was at Station Coffee House and saw the poster, and I was like, ‘Sure, why not? “Harper said, later adding,” I’ve always been interested in this. When I was young I thought it would be cool to work for National Geographic, to take pictures. I decided I was making enough money to buy myself a pretty decent camera.

For her photo, Harper received $ 100 and was on the calendar. A print will also be made of the painting which will be hung in Boccata for sale.

In the future, Harper hopes to sell some of his photos as prints and be able to capture more unique Lewis County landscape scenes from different locations.

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