SUSQUEHANNA SCENICS: Area residents score first-place finishes in statewide photo contest

Area residents score first-place finishes in statewide photo contest

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE SUSQUEHANNA GREENWAY PARTNERSHIP This is the People’s Choice winner in the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership’s sixth annual photo contest. Paula Myers, of Williamsport, took the photo along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in DuBoistown. Images from this and all of the previous contests are available to view online at The winning images chosen in the sixth annual contest will be complied into a 2018 photo calendar, which will be sold this fall through the partnership’s website. Call 570-522-7211 for more information.

LEWISBURG — Images depicting the beauty of towns and landscapes along the Susquehanna River, as seen through the lens of local photographers, will be on display throughout the region as part of the traveling gallery of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership.

The newest group of photos added to the partnership gallery represent the winners of the sixth annual photo contest sponsored by the group.

Winning photographs in the four categories — landscapes, river town, Susquehanna adventures and youth — also will be featured in the partnership’s 2018 calendar.

The winners were chosen among 270 entries from across the state as well as some from outside the state, according to Corey BeVier, outreach and volunteer coordinator for the partnership, and included both professional and amateur photographers.

BeVier said the photos give a visual representation of the partnership’s goals, one of which is to increase the connection between people and the Susquehanna River.

A favorite of people viewing the photos was one taken by Paula Myers, of Williamsport. It features a pair of eagles perched on a branch along the Susquehanna River.

Myers said she often leaves early for work and spends time walking along

the river. On the day she captured the image of the eagles, she was on a river lot near the Susquehanna Boat Club in DuBoistown. One eagle had landed on a branch and started to squawk, and then another came and joined its mate.

Walking along the river with her husband is a favorite activity for Myers and she always has her camera with her. On her walks, she has managed to capture unique images of eagles. In fact, one shows an eagle with its head on its mate’s shoulder.

“I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time,” Myers said. “I absolutely love taking photos.”

Although Mark Nance, the first-place winner in the River Towns category, has worked for about 25 years as a photojournalist, this was the first time he entered any photos in the contest.

His aerial photo was taken as part of an assignment covering a local balloon festival for the Sun-Gazette.

Nance, of Trout Run, said he had the privilege to fly with one of the stunt team pilots at the festival. The photo shows one of the stunt planes set against the backdrop of the Susquehanna River.

“I’ve taken aerial photos before, but what I wanted to do was to get the plane against some kind of landmark, a city or something that people could recognize other than just planes or scenery,” he said.

Nance said he and his wife enjoy spending time canoeing in the area, including taking trips on the river.

“It’s a beautiful river for boating, canoeing, kayaking, just whatever. It’s a great place to see wildlife, very scenic,” he said.

John Beatty, of Holtwood, Lancaster County, spent two hours to achieve the shot of the night sky over the Susquehanna River, which won him first place in the Landscape category.

Beatty, who works as a professional photographer, said he downloaded the Star Walk app on his phone to track the location of the North Star in order to get a full circular rotation of the sky.

“On a cold and clear April night, my tolerant wife sat with me through three hours of watching the sky,” he said.

To achieve the desired effect, Beatty took 200 combined 30-second exposures over a period of two hours at Pinnacle Overlook in Lancaster County.

As the Pennsylvania director of the Mason-Dixon Trail, which connects the Appalachian and the Brandywine trails, Beatty has photographed many areas along the river.

“I have spent many years and different seasons taking wildlife photos and photos along the river and hiking trails,” he said.

He added that he always wanted to get a shot of the river and the planets spinning.

Another first-place winner, Rita Kurtz, of Selinsgrove, entered 11 photos this year and also has won in past years. Kurtz won first place in the Adventures category and third place in River Towns this year.

She related the story behind her first-place photo, which depicts shoe soles hanging on a wall along the Susquehanna.

“The guy who owns the wall of lost soles used to be a river guide on the river, Jim Charles,” she said. “He and his wife, Judy, rented kayaks and he was also a river guide where he would take people out in the boat and tell them all about the river. He said that when he was out in the boat one time he saw these soles lying up on the shore of one of islands. Just a couple of soles from the inside of someone’s shoes. He said, ‘I think I’m going to take them home and hang them up, just as a joke.’

“He hung them up on the wall and when he would rent the kayaks he would tell people to ‘go and find treasures when you’re out in the kayaks.’ So, the people got to the point where they were searching for these soles and they would bring them back to him to hang on his wall. He had people who would even get out of the kayak and go into the water just to get the sole out of the water. People just kept bringing them back to him and he kept hanging them on the wall. He said, ‘We’re still saving soles, one sole at a time.’ “

Kurtz, who lived for many years on a farm before moving to Selinsgrove, said she now enjoys kayaking on the river.

“I wish we had discovered the river sooner,” she said.

A complete list of winners follows:

• Landscape category: Beatty, first place; Brinkley Sprunt, Winfield, second place; Dana Rockwell, Susquehanna County, third place.

• River Towns category: Nance, Williamsport, first place; Terry Wild, Harrisburg, second place; Kurtz, third place.

• Susquehanna Adventures category: Kurtz, first place; Debbie Kintner, Meshoppen, second place; Pattie Hinkle, Wrightsville, third place.

• Youth category: Tess Becket, Lancaster, first place; Devin DePamphilis, Harrisburg, second and third places.

• People’s choice: Myers, Williamsport.

Want to see the winning entries? They will be on display at the following locations through next summer:

• In September and October: At the Wyoming County Cultural Center at Dietrick Theatre, 60 E. Tioga St. Unit 3, Tunkhannock.

• In November: At UPMC Susquehanna, Williamsport Regional Medical Center, 700 High St., Williamsport.

• In December: Susquehanna River Basin Commission Building, 4423 N. Front St., Harrisburg.

• January 2018: O’Donnell Winery, 25 Hayes Road, Berwick.

• February 2018: Susquehanna Life Magazine, 217 Market St., Lewisburg.

• March 2018: To be determined.

• April and May 2018: Susquehanna University Blough-Weis Library, 1858 Weber Way, Selinsgrove.

• June 2018: Community Theater League, hosted by Converge Gallery, 220 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.

• July 2018: State Capitol Building, East Wing Rotunda, North Third and State streets, Harrisburg.