4th Annual WBM Photography Contest

Every Picture Tells a Story

BY WBM Staff

First Place Amateur | People  |  Surfer Girl by Robert Dittmer
First Place Amateur | People | Surfer Girl by Robert Dittmer

Every issue, Wrightsville Beach Magazine presents the people, places and happenings that make our community special. Each March, we invite the community to participate, asking local photographers to submit images that tell the story of this coastal town and surrounding region.

This is the fourth year of our annual contest, and once again area shooters came through. There are photos from professionals and amateurs in the categories of People, Wildlife and Landscapes. This year’s gallery features some amazing images from the sea to the sky and from the beach to birds, always an amazing selection.

This is a contest, so there is a first-place winner and several honorable mentions in each category. But the real winners are those of us who get to see their submissions.

Whether the photos won or placed, it’s quite a show.

Toad on His Stool by Timothy D. Smith

Grand Prize Winner

Congratulations to Timothy D. Smith, the grand prize winner of our fourth annual photography contest, for his entry, Toad on His Stool. Smith notes: “I was wandering along a path in a patch of woods after finishing up an early morning shoot. Unexpectedly, I came across this little guy. He kept wanting to jump off his toadstool perch, but I was able to keep him up there long enough to make the exposure.”

Professional Entries | People

Peter Oehl

First Place

Let’s Go Fly a Kite by Peter Oehl

This photo was taken at the far end of Fort Fisher.  My son had received a kite as a gift and was excited to take it out. I captured this on my iPhone and transferred it to my computer for more post-processing options. I wanted to create an artistic image of a special moment with my son.

Honorable Mentions

New Friends by Michael Mosure: While shooting a portrait session at the One Tree Hill bridge downtown, I gathered a few bystanders. After I finished, I met this nice gentleman. We chatted about the bridge, and he told me he’s seen people from all over the world come to it!

Date Night on Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier by Karen Healy: I am a freelance documentary photographer interested in long-form projects.  After moving to Wilmington in 2021, I immediately was drawn to shooting on the pier. I connect with my subjects to learn something about them before photographing them.

Girl in Red by Gaby Cudicio: Deirdre Portu in a ruffled red dress taking a dip in a small body of water after a storm.

An Offering of Remembrance by Peter Oehl: This photo is from the Wilmington police department 2021 candlelight ceremony, held to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. An officer is carrying a lit candle that represents a comrade who died in the line of duty.

Amateur Entries | People 

Surfer Girl by Robert Dittmer

First Place  

Surfer Girl by Robert Dittmer

I was in the water waiting for the perfect Wrightsville Beach sunrise. The surfer paddled out and was waiting for the next wave. When the sun rose, I saw that the two were in just the right spot for an epic silhouette picture. 

Honorable Mentions

Behind the Barrel by Curran Brierley: I took this photo at Wrightsville Beach during a sunset surf session. I shot from the water, looking toward the shore, using AquaTech housing for my Nikon camera.

Rainy Day Friends by Jane Chaucer: I loved the diversity of this group of friends. I asked if I could take their picture as they walked away. Later I noticed the American flag in the distance above their heads.

One-on-One by Peter Thibodeau: University of North Carolina Wilmington forward Jalen Anderson moves on a James Madison University opponent and goalie.

Boys in Summer Haze by Victoria Paige: The settings caused the image to look washed in sun. With the faded effect and the attitude of the subjects, I could not help but see a Norman Rockwell painting. I had just walked onto the beach when I saw this little group passing by. I saw a story.

Patriotic Plunge by Robert Thurston: A military paratrooper opens the air show at Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point in late September.

Professional Entries | Wildlife

Guardian of the Nest by Michael Mosure

First Place 

Guardian of the Nest by Michael Mosure

I got very lucky last spring and stumbled upon a pair of great horned owls that had taken over an osprey nest on Wrightsville Beach.

Honorable Mentions

Summer Feast by Jeff Hall: A great crested flycatcher with his sizeable catch, a blue dasher dragonfly, found on a Porters Neck mailbox where the bird made its nest.

First in Flight by Gary Allen: A fritillary butterfly launches from a Mexican sunflower bloom on a warm October day in Wilmington.

A Sunrise Spectator by Terri Chabot: This June morning in Kure Beach was so interesting as the cloud formations looked like a colorful forest, and the low tide offered some pretty reflections. When I saw this woman stop to take her own photo of the majestic beauty, I just had to snap one of her. I loved that some seagulls also made an appearance.

Baby Tree Frog by Gary Allen: A baby green tree frog, less than one-half inch long, rests inside a pitcher plant at Halyburton Park. Frogs will sometimes hang out in pitcher plants to catch insects that are attracted to the plants’ nectar.

Amateur Entries | Wildlife

Ebony and Ivory by John Sutton

First Place 

Ebony and Ivory by John Sutton

The Fort Fisher boat ramp is one of my favorite places to find herons and egrets together. They hang out there despite all the human presence and some small boat traffic. The rocks and quiet water gave the photo a sense of peace.

Honorable Mentions  

Guarding Her Nest by Jackie King: This female cardinal was keeping watch over her babies in a holly tree.

Sunlit Great Egret Preening by Leesa Beckmann: I was walking around the pond at Airlie Gardens when I noticed this great egret preening his feathers. Being backlit by the sun made him look so majestic.

Pelican Moon by Robert Dittmer: Pelicans often roost at the remnants of an old pier at Carolina Beach. I waited for the moon to rise over the Atlantic and positioned myself in just the right spot to capture the image.

Hiding by Stan Washlesky: I couldn’t help but laugh when this young pileated woodpecker thought it was hiding from me on the other side of my fence late one afternoon.

Professional Entries | Landscape 

Beach Glass by Jim White

First Place  

Beach Glass by Jim White

This image is part of my series “Envision” where, out in the elements, images help me mindfully envision my present.

Honorable Mentions  

Good Evening Moon! by Jeff Hall: Moonrise over Figure Eight Island, shot from the Porters Neck picnic area across the Intracoastal Waterway.

Morning Run by Phil Barbalace: I captured this sunrise from my family room as a boat cruised by on the Intracoastal Waterway, likely on its way to a fishing spot. The sunrises are often spectacular, so I keep the camera on a tripod ready to go in case any boats, birds, dolphins or other “moving objects” are going by.

Cotton Candy Hydrangea by Paige Batson: The sun’s warm caress of each petal shows the veins and general intricacies of the flower. You feel almost as if you could lean forward and push through the petals and leaves to burst into a different world altogether.

Amateur Entries | Landscape: 

Gulls and Boats by Dan Dolak

First Place 

Gulls and Boats by Dan Dolak

I took this composite one early morning on the Cape Fear River. I used a 10-stop filter to capture the calmness of the river. As I was shooting, a shrimp boat came into view. I removed the filter and took the second photo. I then overlayed the shrimp boat on to the 10-stop shot.

Honorable Mentions 

Dark N Stormy by Andrew Jones: It was a cool winter morning at Wrightsville Beach with no surf and squalls offshore. I was presented with this wonderfully dramatic scene as the storm rolled in. The combination of antiquated lens coatings on my Minolta Autocord and cross-processed expired film perfectly captured the feeling.

Lonesome Shoe by Vincent Thompson: After a walk along the south end of Wrightsville Beach, I noticed someone had placed a child’s shoe on one of the dune fences for the rightful owner to retrieve. It was a late afternoon with a nice sunset, so I snapped several shots with my iPhone.

Gazing at Figure Eight by Alex Mavrogordato: This image was taken at low tide on a morning walk to Mason Inlet. The young woman was sitting in a shallow pool, just calmly gazing towards Figure Eight. Photographed in infrared and converted to black and white.

Foggy Sunrise on Wrightsville Beach by James Reber: The north end of Wrightsville Beach was foggy. Shortly after sunrise at 8 a.m., the sky looking away from the ocean and the sunrise glowed with pink and blue colors that bathed the dry grasses in the sand.

The Ocean (ICM) by John Shockey: (Intentional Camera Movement) photography is an abstract style that has no rules — it all comes down to moving your camera over a long exposure. It can add such peace and tranquility to a photo.

After the Storm by Tom Hanna: This is an evening of rainbows at Johnnie Mercers Pier after a summer storm.

The Pergola in Bloom by Robert Thurston: Enjoying the April splendor at Airlie.


  1. Jeff Hall on March 1, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    I love this issue of WBMagazine! Both from a photographer’s point of view, but also from a spectator’s point of view. There are so many great photographers involved in this issue that I’m overjoyed to receive an honorable mention. I’m so psyched about the beauty of our new home, Wilmington, that I started a facebook group called Wilmington NC Pix for everyone to post photos, and to enjoy viewing them year round.

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