Sunset near the Oregon Buttes. This photo won first place in the "Playing in Wyoming" category of BLM statewide employee photo contest. (photo by Sam Cox)

It’s hard to imagine a Wyoming photo contest without a picture of an erupting geyser in Yellowstone National Park or a scenic set in front of the Tetons.

This photo of Wyoming BLM biologists Dale Woolwine (right) and Josh Hemenway working with sage grouse won third place in the Working in Wyoming BLM employee photo contest. (photo by Mark Thonhoff)

But Wyoming Bureau of Land Management staff see the state from a different perspective. They know it intimately through days spent on the range and in the hills away from the national parks. It is this Wyoming you will see in the entries of the agency’s first employee photo contest.

More than 40 employees entered about 180 images, said Cynthia Wertz, a public affairs officer with the BLM. Entries came from every field office in the state, from interns up to district managers.

Wertz, who runs the BLM’s social media accounts, is always asking staff for images to share with the public and is often impressed with what her requests bring in. “We have some extremely talented people in the field,” she said.

The summer contest required only that the photo be taken in Wyoming by a BLM employee. Entries included pictures taken with professional gear and some taken on cell phones.

Images could be entered in three categories: Living in Wyoming, Playing in Wyoming and Working in Wyoming. A three-judge panel also awarded a Best in Show to Gavin Lovell’s image of a prescribed burn.

This image of a prescribed burn won Best in Show in the Wyoming BLM employee photo contest. (photo by Gavin Lovell)

Photos in Working in Wyoming captured images of employees fighting fires, studying sage grouse and monitoring rangeland improvements.

“We try to tell our story that we are multiple use, but until you see what our specialists are doing in the field, it’s hard to understand the variety of things we’re responsible for,” Wertz said. “The photos put what we do in a different perspective. These on-the-job images show a unique perspective.”

Judges announced the winners about two weeks ago, Wertz said. She plans to print the winning images on canvas and create a traveling display that will visit each field office in 2016.

“We’re really proud to live in Wyoming,” she said, “and you can tell that from the photos.”

You can see all of the entries at this Flickr page.

The winners:

Best in Show

        Gavin Lovell, Prescribed Fire

Living in Wyoming

        1st place – Aaron Thompson, Red Canyon

        2nd place – Gretchen Hurley, Wildflowers Carter Mountain

        3rd place – Charlotte Darling, Middle Fork Canyon

        Honorable Mention – Sam Cox, Kurt Triscori, Shawn James, Gavin Lovell

Playing in Wyoming

        1st place – Sam Cox, Camping Sunset at Oregon Buttes

        2nd place – Phillip Blundell, Killpecker Sand Dunes

        3rd place – Nancy Patterson, Fishing on Sweetwater

        Honorable Mention – Paul Rau, Larry Zuckerman

Working in Wyoming

        1st place – Stephanie Connolly, Practice Makes Perfect

        2nd place – Heather Bromberg, Range Improvements

        3rd place – Mark Thonhoff, Biologists and Sage Grouse

Honorable Mention – Sarah Beckwith, Larry Zuckerman, Michael Obendorf, Nancy Peterson

This scenic shot of Red Canyon near Lander won first place in the Living in Wyoming category of the BLM’s statewide employee photo contest. (photo by Aaron Thompson)

Kelsey Dayton

Kelsey Dayton is a freelancer and the editor of Outdoors Unlimited, the magazine of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. She has worked as a reporter for the Gillette News-Record, Jackson Hole News&Guide...

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