By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
One ring. Five fingers. Seven birds. A blue sky. A touch of cloud. A fantastic photo.
The judges have spoken, and it's time to announce the winners of our yearlong photo contest for Houston-area high school students. Entries came in from all over this sprawling burg and featured fruit, veggies, sneakers, waves, scooters, softballs, turtles, holes, mountains, lockers and — wouldn't you know it — people.
Every month or two we announced the previous round's winners and offered up a new category for the kids, be it sports, food, water or animals. We then handed over the finalists to an outside panel of judges — Jennifer Ward and Vinod Hopson, of FotoFest, and Joel Draut, a veteran award-winning photojournalist who now keeps track of the City of Houston's historical photos — who decided on our big winners.
Without further ado...
Stephanie Schmitt, of Taylor High School, takes home first place and a $1,000 college scholarship. Congrats, Stephanie. The judges loved your "well-composed, active composition" and ultimately found it "very romantic."
Willie Xu, also of Taylor High, takes home second place and a $250 scholarship for his shot of rain-drenched Paris. The judges said the "decidedly urban and intriguingly ambiguous" image was "a great combination of composition, color and waiting for the right moment."
Third place and a $150 scholarship go to Danielle Riley, of the Westchester Academy for International Studies, for her action shot of a softball game. According to one judge, "This photo is proof of the saying, 'Luck favors the prepared.'"
We'd also like to take the opportunity to recognize Mariah McWhorter (Kingwood), Yasmeen Smalley (Bellaire) and Whitney Pavlas (Cy Creek), who were each finalists several times over and whom we're pleased to reward with more bookstore gift certificates for their dedication.
All 33 finalists were featured at a reception at FotoFest this past Sunday. Next year's contest starts in September. For updates, visit this link.