Texas Parks and Wildlife Photo Contest Finalist! / by Josh Trudell

2013 Texas State Parks and Wildlife Finalist  


It has been a madhouse of a month, in just about the best way possible. I’ve got tons of photo-related stuff that I’m going to be blogging about in the next few weeks, but I wanted to get this one out there.

I’ve been shooting steadily for the last several years, but before I bought my first digital camera, my shooting was very sporadic. Once I got a tool that could handle shooting a lot without spending thousands on developing film, I started shooting a lot more.

The next question was – what do I want to shoot? With a full-time job, it can be hard to find time and willing subjects. Setting up a formal shoot can be exhausting.

A couple of  week after getting my new camera, I took it with me on a hike in the Hill Country State Natural Area. Monarch butterflies were migrating through the area, and I started shooting. Not fussing over shutter speeds, white balance or apertures – just shooting.

Many could have benefited from some technical know-how, but I also got this photo, which is still one of my personal favorites.


After posting them on Flickr, I shyly showed a few to some of my coworkers. Their kind words helped me get out and shoot again.

So – fast-forward a few years, and a lot of experimenting and shooting in the Texas state parks, and I’ve gotten a little better and a lot more experienced.

There’s still a long way to go, but I was confident enough that when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department asked for entries for a 2013 photo contest, I didn’t hesitate to submit a few.

Last week, I found out that the top image of the two bison – shot at San Angelo State Park - was selected as one of 20 finalists out of more than 1,650 entries.

You can get up close and personal with the bison in San Angelo - they'll come up to a thin wire fence (under the watchful guide of a park ranger) and you can get close looks at them. Highly recommend it if you are interested in wildlife photos.

I’m thrilled by this honor, especially after seeing the other images in the competition. I can’t wait to enter again next year!