Photo Contest 2016

Grand Prize

Andrew Lincoln
Napa County

The vineyard before first light “makes for a very surreal environment and very dramatic moments,” said Andrew Lincoln of this view of the chardonnay winegrape harvest. “What really matters is the collective process behind the (wine) product—everything from the farmers who manage the crop to the stories of the laborers and to the wildlife who call it their home.”

First Place

Hannah Gbeh
San Diego County

Hannah Gbeh captured her husband, Mannah Gbeh, carefully tending peanuts on their 8-acre farm. She said he’s a disabled U.S. Navy veteran originally from Liberia who loves working the land. “I’m trying to tell Mannah’s story,” she said. “In West Africa, a civil war broke out when he was 10, so he lived in a refugee camp when he was 17, and he knows what it is to not have food.”

Second Place

Becky Hanson
San Joaquin County

Driving through Clements, the beauty of a golden walnut orchard stopped Becky Hanson in her tracks. “It was one of those afternoons where you just want to roll the windows down and be outside,” Hanson said. Photography has become a passion for Hanson, who became slightly disabled from a spinal tumor a few years ago. “My new philosophy is: There will never be another today.”

Third Place

Mary Heffernan
Siskiyou County

Mary Heffernan, a former restaurateur, and her lawyer husband made a major change when they moved 2 1/2 years ago from Silicon Valley to a Northern California ranch with their four daughters. “The wide open spaces and having the kids out, barefoot, playing with animals and growing our own food and raising our own animals really epitomizes what agriculture is for our family,” Heffernan said.

Honorable Mention

Julie Thornton
Mendocino County

Julie Thornton, who lives on a family ranch in Potter Valley, was perched on a hill overlooking a winery as part of a photography workshop when she discovered this landscape. “It’s gorgeous with the green oak trees, brown hills and the golden color of harvest time,” she said. “It was quite cloudy that day, but it was just a perfect reflection. It’s a beautiful spot.”

Honorable Mention

Becky Hanson
San Joaquin County

When Becky Hanson suggested a fun outdoor photo shoot featuring California vegetables, her friend, an aspiring photographer, was a little hesitant, but quickly became enthusiastic. "They looked so pretty. It's just vegetables and people love them," Hanson said of the colorful produce. "I turned the photos into notecards. It felt so 'California' to me."

Honorable Mention

Vanessa Alexandre
Del Norte County

Atop her four-wheeler, Vanessa Alexandre took a spin through her lush organic dairy farm just a mile from the Pacific Ocean and discovered an hours-old calf with its mother. “She was very pretty in the grass,” Alexandre said. “It’s easy to capture something spectacular” when living in an area that is so beautiful, she said.

Honorable Mention

Jenny Manuelli
Stanislaus County

Originally from Los Angeles, Jenny Manuelli said she now feels most in her element “where it’s all farmland, horse and cattle country.” She snapped this photo while admiring a herd of longhorn cattle in Copperopolis. “It was a calm and quiet moment, with me and the cattle, and there was just stillness,” she said. “They are just really majestic, gorgeous creatures, but they will let me scratch their faces and in between their ears.”

Honorable Mention

Becky Reisdorf
Monterey County

Becky Reisdorf often goes along with her husband and teenage son, a beekeeper, to check on the honeybees. Bees dancing outside of the hive, she said, is a typical occurrence. “It’s just so mesmerizing to hear them buzzing and gives you a sense of calmness,” she said. “Beekeeping takes a ton of focus to make sure that you aren’t damaging any bees.”

Honorable Mention

Susana Velasco
Tulare County

To capture the colorful sunset in a newly planted cotton field, Susana Velasco hit the ground to achieve the right vantage point. Velasco said she is passionate about the beauty of clouds, especially those taking on brilliant hues at sunset: “It’s like having the most delicious cake to me, with your eyes.”

Budding Artist, First Place

Chelsea Davis, 13 years old
Fresno County

While spending a morning feeding calves, Chelsea Davis captured brother Colin, age 2, sitting on a hay bale and playing with his toys, miniature versions of the family’s tractor and baler visible in the background. “I really like photography because it expresses how you are looking at things from your point of view,” Davis said. “I want to do something that no one has seen before.”

Budding Artist, Second Place

Bella Locke, 13 years old
Tulare County

One afternoon when Bella Locke got home from school, she headed straight for the barn to work with her 4-H heifer, Famke (Dutch for “girl”). “I tried to get her to pose and took a selfie with her. It probably took me like five tries,” Locke said. “Cows always clean off their mouths and put their tongue in their noses. I was trying to be funny.”