You are here: home   40years   Essay and Photography Contests   The Natural West

Share your thoughts and images of the West!

Check out upcoming contest topics, and submit your essay(s) or photo(s) for others to enjoy. Viewers can vote on their favorite essays and images, and entries with the most votes will be featured on the Web site, and earn consideration from our editorial and production staff for appearing in the magazine!

The West is not just about the varied terrain in which we live, but the collection of perspectives and realities of the people who occupy this inspiring land. Add your voice to High Country News – or enjoy those of other readers – and embrace your community of fellow people who care about the West.

finishedThis contest has ended.

The Natural West

Entries: (182)
Began: Feb 01, 2010
Ended: Mar 15, 2010

Check out these fantastic landscapes of the American West! Thanks to all participants who submitted and voted on these images.
(Read more ...)

Winning Entry

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

by Aaron Merritt — Photo I took of the Grand Prismatic Spring while visiting Yellowstone National Park.

by campphoto 10

Canyonlands Sunset

View of Salt Creek area and Island in the Sky Mesa photo © Sam Camp 2002

by rlernst 9

Tallgrass Prairie

Sunset on the prairie.

by LisaLouLou 9

Travel at Own Risk

Sign on a rugged desert road leading to Seminoe Reservoir in Wyoming.

by lauriewhite 9
by ekinneywy 9

Big Thompson Canyon Big Horn Sheep

A group of ewes traveling up Big Thompson Canyon, CO. Taken October 2006.

by djschipper 9

Snow on Cedar Breaks

Cedar Breaks National Monument

by reneede 9

After Dust Roll

Mustang shaking off after rolling in dust....near Steens Mountain, Oregon

by lauriewhite 8

Grand Mesa

Grand Mesa Colorado

by jaycanode 8

Patagonia, AZ

Stock tank reflecting the big sky of southern Arizona.

by DRenwald 8


A hand lettered sign among lupines along an Oregon back road.

by jdyste 8

The Alvord Desert

The Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon after a particularly wet winter. Steens Mountain, the future location of a new wind farm this fall, in the background.

by O'Neill 8
by SMPhoto 7

Sunrise on the Salt Flats

Late winter sunrise on a flooded Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

by radoak 7

Wheeler Peak

Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park

by LeeRad 7

Stormy Teton Range

Weather sneaks up on you when you live in the shadow of the Grand Teton. From clear skies to the pitch black heart of the storm and the beautifully backlit Teton Range in between, this panorama shows you the full range of nature's power.

by Andree 7
by ZakSilverman 7

Lost Coast, Gitchell Camp

Taken at a remote camp on California's pristine Lost Coast.

by donwtaylor 7

Isabel Lake - Indian Peaks Wilderness

A beautiful destination for a summer day hike close to Boulder.

by cameraqueen 7

Columbine (Colorado state flower)

An unusual magenta colored columbine in Monument, Colorado.

by eemass 7

Mammoth Hot Springs

One of the different views at Yellowstone

by DTB 7

Evening at Cedar Breaks

Late fall evening Cedar Breaks NM, Utah

by JR 7

Dawn is Breaking

Sunrise on Lake Powell

by jdr 7

Nevada Roundup

A fall roundup on a gray day near "the loneliest highway in America."

by TMarasco 7

"I saw god" Mt Moriah Winderness, Nevada THE TABLE

I was standing in a cluster of 3-4000 year old bristlecones when I saw the herd in the distance. In a rush to change lenses, I dropped one (fortunately) and they turned to look at me! The bristlecones in the distance are abt 2-3000 years old.

by vibramman 6

The Buckskin

A hike through Buckskin Gulch in Utah

by schnitzerphoto 6

Autumn: Deschutes

A steelhead angler taking in the late-day sun on Oregon's Deschutes River canyon.

by schnitzerphoto 6

Autumn: Bighorn

Fall colors and a Wind River Range bighorn sheep

by cleary6717 6

Oregon Coast, Fall 2009

A shot of fog-shrouded cliffs along the Oregon Coast south of Cannon Beach

by dannerphotos 6

Hey U Guys

No matter where one looks, someone else may be on the outside.

by dhold2 6

Chimney Rock, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Taken at sunset on a stormy day, F11 @ 1/250th sec. Canon 5D MkII, Sigma 50mm macro lens.

by calwolf 6
by Zudiere 6

Rock of ages

Two ravens atop the rocks coming out of Sugarloaf Canyon near Boulder, Colorado.

by vibramman 6

The Keyhole

Side canyon along the Paria river

by SMPhoto 6


Black Necked Stilts feeding at Bear River NWR, Utah

by knute 6

tranquillity base

50 miles from the highway. Blackrock Desert, Nevada

by cameraqueen 6

Colorful Colorado Fall

October brings abundant fall color in the Colorado Rockies. Taken near Squaw Peak Pass, about 50 miles west of Denver.

by ZakSilverman 6

Falls, Jasper N.P., B.C.

Taken at the falls between the First and Second Geraldine Lakes, Jasper N.P, British Columbia

by Michael Hodges 5

Morning at Gates Pass

Gates Pass, Tucson Mountain Park, Tucson, Arizona

by cleary6717 5

Sunset, Moab

Sunset in Arches National Park, Moab

by bobwhitson 5

An Adorable Dirty Face

We call them Javelina. Other names are musk hog, Mexican hog and Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu)

by jdyste 5

Malheur's Tree

An interesting tree located in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge between Mud and Malheur Lake.

by Stubby27 5

Glacier Sunset

Elizabeth Lake in Glacier National Park as the sun slipped away.

by Mtnphoto 5

Waves of Trees

Photo taken near Kebler Pass, Colorado

by Catherine Etherton 5

Artist's Point - Death Valley National Park

A beautiful spring sunrise in Death Valley.

by sanchez8773 5

Capitol Reef

Stunning rock formation in Capitol Reef, Utah.

by mroedel 5

Young Montana Pronghorns

This shot was taken with a long lens using slide film at the National Bison Range, at Moiese, Montana, about an hour north of Missoula. The area is not hunted, so the animals aren't very skittish. The steep and rugged loop road has always been worth the time.

by cleary6717 4

Hovenweep Ruin

Two ravens atop a ruin wall at Hovenweep National Monument.

by yrag 4

Proud Eagle

This Bald Eagle posed for me on highway 89 in Southern Utah just North of Kanab, Utah.

by chilewoman 4

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing owls were living in burrows in a pasture no longer cultivated. As I walked along the irrigation ditch, this one would perch on the pipe fence and shout at me. Very impressive display of defense.

by Andree 4
by myersphoto 4

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Photo of Delicate Arch, taken from the north side of the neighboring canyon, showing the many visitors.

by eemass 4

East River Valley above Gothic

A beautiful view with clouds in the sky and running water

by myersphoto 4

Hiking Fins, Moab, UT

Late afternoon hike among the fins, outside of Moab, Utah

by knute 4

wind power

Cattle barn and windmill, Angles Camp, California

by jaycanode 4

Chevy Seco

Chevy Detail-Arroyo Seco , NM

by jaycanode 4

Looking West

Sunset on the Navajo reservation near Blue Canyon.

by graywolf28 4

coral pink sand dunes, utah

Wyethia in summer flower

by Sam Camp of 4

Escalante Country

View of Henry Mountains from Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

by hollymac 4

Hummingbird Moth

Hummingbird moth in garden, Santa Fe, NM.

The topic: Do you have an image that reflects a quintessential example of the West's intrinsic natural beauty? Submit it here!

About submitting images: Entrants may submit up to three (3) photos for each photo contest, in JPEG, PNG and GIF file formats only; each image submitted may be no larger than 2 megabytes in size.

About voting on images: Instead of making you choose only one entry to vote for, we decided to allow viewers to vote positively for any entry they want to -- one vote per viewer, per image. But be careful - you can't undo your vote once you've clicked the "vote" button, so CHOOSE CAREFULLY!