Photo Contest Winners 2023

By: Chris Murray

Volume 18, Issue 12, December 2023

Another year, another outstanding collection of images for Lyne and me to enjoy
viewing. Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for TI Life’s 12th Annual Photo Contest. It is always a pleasure revisiting the River through your beautiful imagery. This year’s submission was particularly strong as evidenced by the number of honorable mentions. A Gold, Silver, and Bronze winner was selected from the 79 images that were submitted, along with seven honorable mentions.
And the winners are...


Some photos “have it all,” and this image of a mother common merganser and her ducklings is a perfect example. A combination of engaging subject matter and flawless composition earned this the Gold medal honor.

Lighting is often cited as the most important element in a photograph, but I would argue that composition is every bit as critical. This image is a case in point. The lighting is completely even, nothing dramatic. It’s the perfect lighting for this scene. However, it’s the composition that makes this a great photograph. Composition is a function of framing, perspective, and balance. Here the photographer shot from a low vantage point, allowing the viewer to feel as if they are part of the scene. The angle is perfect as well, capturing the ducks in profile. The focal length is just right, close enough to see the ducks in detail, but not so close as to eliminate context. We can see the ducks in their natural environment. One gets the feeling that they are getting ready to hop off the rock into the water. Photos of wildlife can often be cliche. This one is not.

"Mama Merganser and her Brood" by Erin McCarthy Greene, Gold Award Winner ©2023
Erin McCarthy Greene lives year-round in Thousand Island Park on Wellesley Island with her husband, Dick Greene. She is an editor for the Thousand Islands Sun newspaper in Alexandria Bay. She started her photographic journey several years ago by completing various photography courses and contributing images to the T.I. Sun, capturing wildlife, riverscapes and landscapes, and natural still life scenes for the newspaper's audience. She has expanded her work to documentary portraiture and natural light interiors, and she was recently accepted as an affiliate member of The Tilly Project, an end-of-life pet photography network. Her work can be viewed at


Speaking of lighting, this year’s silver medal honoree is an excellent example of the power of good lighting. In this quintessential Thousand Islands scene, the photographer adroitly used the lighting to effectively isolate the pitch pine and man in the skiff from the shadowed background. It’s a perfect example of emphasizing the element(s) of interest in the scene. There is no doubt in the viewer’s mind about what they are supposed to see and feel. It is an excellent composition and technically very well done.

"Morning Row" by Larry Asam, Silver Award Winner ©2023
Larry Amas spent winters in Stowe Vermont and several years in Snowbird, Utah in his first career as a ski instructor. Then, in 1990s he started taking photographs at weddings. Soon couples from around New England discovered his ability to catch the excitement and beauty of their wedding in photographs. By 1997, wedding photography became his full-time occupation and this continued for almost fifteen years. One look at his website and you will see how he is able to capture memories that last a lifetime. Larry and his family are long time Grenell Island residents.


This beautiful sunset image looking toward Clayton from Wellesley Island, is this year’s bronze award winner. What makes this image truly special are the two Canada geese which “happened into the frame” according to the photographer, elevating the photo beyond just a pretty winter sunset. Ah, the role that serendipity plays in photography!

They are the “hero” of the image. The sunlight glistening on the water contrasts beautifully with the dark gray sky. We also love the 16:9 aspect ratio that gives the image a more “cinematic” feel. It’s a color photo that appears almost monochromatic, a consequence of the season and lighting.

"Two Geese Happen" by Erin McCarthy Greene, Bronze Award Winner ©2023

Seven Honorable Mentions

[In Alphabetical Order]

Honorable Mention: Larry Asam

"Sublime Security"©2023 by Larry Asam, Honorable Mention Award

Honorable Mentions: Jack Davies

"Lucky" ©2023 by Jack Davies, Honorable Mention Award
"Local" ©2023 by Jack Davies, Honorable Mention Award

Honorable Mention: Erin McCarthy Greene

"Wellesley Hotel" ©2023 by Erin McCarthy Greene, Honorable Mention Award

Honorable Mention: Lindy Martin  

"4th of July" ©2023 by Lindy Martin, Honorable Mention Award

Honorable Mention: Karen Millspaugh

"Aurora over the Islands (Cape Vincent)" by Karen Millspaugh ©2023

Honorable Mention: Tom Roberts

"Fishermen" ©2023 by Tom Roberts, Honorable Mention 

By Chris Murray

Judges: Chris Murray and Lyne Roberge

Chris Murray is a photographic artist, instructor, and writer working primarily in the landscape of his home, the woods, lakes, mountains, and streams of New York State. His work has appeared in several magazines including Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Adirondack Life, Life in the Finger Lakes, New York State Conservationist, and On Landscape, among others. His landscape stock imagery is represented by Aurora Photos and Danita Delimont Stock Photography. He is a staff instructor with the Adirondack Photography Institute. He has also written more than a dozen TI Life photography articles titled Depth of Field. You can see all of Chris' TI Life here and for more of Chris’ work visit
Lyne Roberge studied marketing and advertising in Montreal, QC, and has worked for advertising and communication firms in Montreal and Toronto. She was also the owner of Henderson Printing in Brockville, ON for 20 years.  She began managing the business side of in 2014 and is now running the company which provides Ian Coristine’s stunning 1000 Islands imagery, prints and publications. Lyne was married to Ian Coristine until his death in 2020. It was Ian who created the TI Life Photo contest in 2012. At that time, Ian wrote, " A note to those who may be disappointed that they didn't win. Don't be. Even with my plane having given me a pretty unique perspective of this place and ultimately accumulating almost 40,000 images that I felt were worth keeping, only 42 ever made it to my highest rating . . . We are encouraging everyone to raise their personal bar, whatever it is that they do. This is huge and can only benefit the region which is enjoying its biggest renaissance since Ulysses S. Grant began the first one in 1872. Let's do all we can to encourage and feed that process."
TI Life's Photo Contest Medals are designed by Sarah Ditterline.  This is the 12th year that Sarah has provided these medal illustrations and certificates for us.

Editor's Note to all entrants: Merry Christmas  and thank you for your wonderful gifts. I kept thinking how lucky I was that I did not have to make the choices. Ian Coristine started this contest, and he did so as he wanted to share the very best that the River could offer. We thank him and I thank you all. And I will be bold and ask if I may share some of your marvelous photos with our readers throughout 2024. Stay warm and safe this holiday season!

Posted in: Volume 18, Issue 12, December 2023, Photographs, Photos

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