Celebrating the Centennial With a #NationalParksContest

This year the U.S. National Parks Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial. To celebrate the NPS’s 100th birthday and to showcase the beautiful lands that the park service protects, the U.S. Embassy London held a photo competition this summer. From June 1 through August 25 (the date of the centennial), members of the public were invited to share their photos of U.S. or a UK national park using the hashtag #NationalParksContest. A total of 643 entries were received, and a judging panel selected nine finalists. One lucky winner received a pair of round trip tickets to the United States. Read on to see which photos became our finalists (and our winner!).


FINALIST: Miss Beate Dithmer

PHOTO TITLE: “Storm Brewing near the Grand Canyon”

LOCATION: Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Miss Dithmer took this photograph in April 2016at the Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon while stopped on a bus tour of several National Parks. The Desert View Watchtower was designed by American architect Mary Colter and was completed in 1932.


FINALIST: Henry Gibbons

PHOTO TITLE: Muir’s Mist’

LOCATION: Yosemite National Park, looking into the curry village cabins

Mr.Gibbons took this photo while on a road trip with friends along the west coast of the United States. He snapped this shot of melting snow on the trees in early spring near the curry village cabins in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite and Yellowstone were the first national parks founded in the United States in 1890 and 1872.



FINALIST: Giles Jones

PHOTO TITLE: Pen yr Ole Wen

LOCATION: Pen yr Ole Wen mountain looking over the Nant Ffrancon Pass, Snowdonia, North Wales

Mr. Jones took this photograph of Pen yr Ole Wen which translates into English as ‘Head of the White Slope’. It is the most southerly of the Carneddau range and the seventh highest mountain in theSnowdonia National Park. The picture overlooks the Nant Ffrancon Pass, the stretch of the A5 road in Snowdonia. Pen yr Ole Wen is the seventh highest mountain in Whales with an elevation of 3,209 feet (978m).


FINALIST: Sarah George

PHOTO TITLE: Thermophile Life

LOCATION: Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Ms.George took this photograph of the Grand Prismatic Spring on her first visit to Yellowstone in July 2016. She and her husband went to Yellowstone as part of their month-long honeymoon, which they spent road tripping in a campervan through the western part of the United States. The vivid colors of Grand Prismatic Spring are the result of heat loving bacteria


FINALIST: James Gutteridge


LOCATION: Jacob’s Ladder, Edale, Peak District


Mr.Guttridge took this photograph while hiking with his girlfriend. This hike was different as he had just had his appendix removed the week before. Though quite a challenge, getting to the top was worth it. The uphill struggle inspired him to name the photo, “Peaked”. Peak District National Park was the first national park in the United Kingdom established in 1951.


FINALIST: Malcolm John Smalley


LOCATION: River Dee, Braemar. Cairngorms National Park

Mr.Smalley, took this photo at Cairngorms National Park in Scotlandafter a 7 hour car journey. When asked the story behind the photo, he said “I saw this view, particularly the light, and just had to pull over to capture it.” Though his family was not keen to stop after such a long journey, he insisted and now counts this shot as one of the best he’s ever taken.  Cairngorms National Park is one of the youngest parks in our competition, only set up in 2003.


FINALIST: Emma Green

PHOTO TITLE: Stars and Sands

LOCATION: White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Ms.Green took this photo while exploring the White Sands National Monument. The photo was taken while she and her boyfriend were on a three week road trip travelling across the United States in 2015. Founded in 1936, White Sands National Monument holds the world’s largest gypsum sand dunefield.



FINALIST: Wendy Anstead

PHOTO TITLE: Photogenic Sheep

LOCATION: Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Ms.Anstead took this photo in Dartmoor National Park in Devon while on a family trip to Cornwall. Though she didn’t know at the time her then-boyfriend used this trip as an opportunity to tell his parents he planned to propose. They got engaged a month after this trip and married later that year. Now married they often return to Dartmoor and get swept away in its beauty and the happy memories it evokes.  The sheep in this photo is just one of over 200,000 estimated to live in Dartmoor.





PHOTO TITLE: Camping at Deer Creek

LOCATION: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Mr.Deamer took first place in our competition with his stunning photograph taken while hiking through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Due to the low levels of light pollution, visitors are able to capture incredible views of the Milky Way.Dan is an amateur photographer based just outside of London with a keen interest in photographing the American Southwest, in particular California, Arizona, Utah & Nevada. He tries to visit the United States as often as he can and enjoys the almost endless possibilities for hiking and exploring to be found in deserts and mountains of this region. Two long-term photographic goals for Dan are to document the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, something he hopes to realize in the not too distant future – perhaps with the help of his photo competition prize!




Authors: Chrystal Denys & Stephen Cain