ND photo contest awards announced

The Amazing Grace of the Bald Eagle - Best In Show
The Amazing Grace of the Bald Eagle” by Lisa Buchweitz, Langdon, N.D., earned Best in Show in the 17th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest. Submitted photo

Gov. Doug Burgum along with North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Council on the Arts Executive Director Kim Konikow and AAA of North Dakota Director Gene LaDoucer presented the winning submissions from the 17th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest by live virtual event due to coronavirus social distancing protocols.

“Today we recognize talented photographers who captured the essence of what makes North Dakota a great place to visit, live, work and raise a family,” Burgum said. “They showcase our wide-open spaces, outdoor adventure and willingness to work together for the health and well-being of our neighbors and communities.”

Prints of the winning images will be on display at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Photographers submitted photos to one or more of the following categories: Road Trips, #InThisTogetherND, Wildlife, Badlands Scenery, Beyond Badlands Scenery and Main Street ND. Winning submissions and honorable mentions will be displayed at the North Dakota Heritage Center and the photographs will be published in North Dakota Tourism’s promotional materials and on its website, .

Otte Coleman said 2,074 photos from 157 photographers were entered, bringing the total submissions over the lifetime of the contest to more than 16,500. This year’s total was the most entries ever received and nearly double last year’s submissions.


Find descriptions of all winners and honorable mentions at

The Governor’s Photo Contest encourages North Dakota amateur photographers to submit photos that capture the unique things to see and do in North Dakota. Seven of the following photographers to be recognized have never been recognized in this contest previously.

Go to for a gallery of this year’s winning photos.

2020 Governor’s Photo Contest for Travel and Tourism:


Category Winner: “A Break Among the Clouds” by Sierrah Fischer, Watford City; showcasing very green Little Missouri National Grassland of the McKenzie County Badlands.

Honorable Mention: “Badlands Under Starlight” by Marshall Lipp, Mandan; night shot showcases dynamic rock formations under starry sky.

Honorable Mention: “Crocus” Rachel Dewhirst, Grassy Butte; crocus photo taken at Lone Butte Ranch near Grassy Butte.



Category Winner: “Along for the Ride” by Marshall Lipp, Mandan; wide-open prairie near New Salem as an evening summer storm passes by.

Honorable Mention: “Summer Sun Halo” by Casey Helling (Lights Out Images), Golden Valley; unripe wheat field sits in the foreground of an unusual summer sunrise surrounded by a halo similar to winter sundogs.

Honorable Mention: “Kayaking at Government Bay” by Nicole Morrison, Bismarck; kayaker meandering through the rock formations at Government Bay on Lake Sakakawea.


Category Winner: “The Painter” by Meredith Jo Ehli, Bismarck; showcases a man recreating the summer scenery of McDowell Dam Recreation Area.

Honorable Mention: “Fishing Buddies” by Laura Gardner, Washburn; showcases a man and his dog enjoying an early spring day fishing along the Knife River.

Honorable Mention: “Reflections of Lives Nurtured” by Connie Krapp, Jamestown; a family enjoys some time together on a dock as the sun sets on the Jamestown Reservoir on a summer evening.



Category winner: “Down By The River” by Katherine Plessner, Verona;bSteamboat Park in Bismarck, showing fall colors along the riverside mixed-use trail.


Category Winner: “King of the Mountain” by Laura Gardner, Washburn; overlooking the Badlands on the Custer Auto Trail Tour near Medora.

Honorable Mention: “Taking the Backroads” by Suanne Kallis, Carrington; a restored 1958 pickup on a rural gravel road between fields on a backroad near Carrington.

Honorable Mention: ”East Meets West” by Lisa Gruebele, Bismarck; a bike rider wearing a NDSU Bison jersey pausing along the road in Theodore Roosevelt National Park as a bison starts to cross the road in the distance.


Category Winner: “The Amazing Grace of the Bald Eagle” by Lisa Buchweitz, Langdon; a bald eagle comes in for a landing on the high branches of a tree in early spring in Walsh County.


Honorable Mention: “Mink on the Move” by Steve Silseth, Minot; in early winter, a mink jumps across the thin ice on the Souris River near Burlington.

Honorable Mention: "Here's looking at you kid" by Lisa Buchweitz, Langdon; a thoroughly saturated beaver in Pembina County looks over its shoulder toward the photographer.

Honorable Mention: “Snow Geese” by Steve Silseth, Minot; snow geese fill the sky in a late fall migration near Garrison.


“The Amazing Grace of the Bald Eagle” by Lisa Buchweitz, Langdon

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