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Davis Journal

Annual photo contest celebrates local talent

Oct 09, 2023 02:30PM ● By Kerry Angelbuer

Abel Lish’s landscape took 1st place in the North Salt Lake Photo Contest.

North Salt Lake City’s annual photography contest culminated in a night of cash awards and education at City Hall on Sept. 20. Attendees could browse the current and past pictures submitted to the contest, along with some of the portfolios of the photographer featured in the program, Derek Israelson. The evening began with a slide show of all the pictures submitted to the contest taken by North Salt Lake residents of places and people in the city. Among them stunning pictures highlighting the mountains, trails, and neighborhoods in the area. The winners were:


1st place: Abel Lish with a view of wildflowers in the foreground looking over a vista of the lake.

2nd place: Nathan McCoy with a startling firework

3rd place: Dianne Mark with a detailed closeup of a sunflower.


1st place: Ashton Pearson with a sunset reflected on a wet pavement in a neighborhood.

2nd place: Rainbow Gracie with a layered sunset.

3rd place: Nate Rasch with a colorful view of the landscape framed by a play structure.

Information on current and future photography contests can be found on the North Salt Lake website. The winner’s pictures were displayed as canvasses stretched over frames and will be on display for the coming year at the City Offices. 

The Israelson, showed attendees highlights of photos taken over his decades-long career as a professional photographer. He first became interested in photography on his church mission to Austria. He ate cheap food for a month so he could purchase his companion’s Minolta camera with a long zoom lens. Afterwards, he began taking photography classes at Utah State for fun. After an internship, he began to glimpse how he could make his interest into a career. He showed several portraits taken with a high-contrast Polaroid camera that made up his first professional portfolio. He worked for Sundance Catalog doing a lot of product shoots, before starting his own freelance photography business. Travel was often part of his work as a photographer taking pictures of destroyed dams in Idaho to fashion shoots on a beach in the Bahamas. Moody shots of the salt and potash fields just west of Ogden were explored in his extensive slide show. He showed aerial shots of many of his subjects obtained with drones, helicopters or small planes. Some of his work for a potato company explored the round potato fields and dwindling water in Colorado: struggle expressed in circles of color and waste. Some of his most poignant work was of Aloe Vera workers working on a huge plantation in the center of the Dominican Republic, wearing heavy clothing in the heat to protect them from the sword-like plants. 

Israelson takes pictures naturally and then adds light adjustments, contrast and filters later, allowing for greater detail initially. He suggests looking for interest in the foreground, middle ground, and distance to balance photos. He tries not to hurrying through travels, but instead takes time to capture the interesting clouds, the perfect light and the unusual subject. At the end of his numerous slides, four of his matted photos of pioneer era landscapes taken through old-fashioned glass were given to raffle winners.