See the ‘backyards’ of the West

The winners of the reader photo contest, plus other favorites.

  • Editors’ Choice | Tundra Monarch: On a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, the photographer waited for the sunset, and an elk happened to walk into his frame.

    Ken Henke
  • Readers' Choice | Double Rainbow, All The Way: This bright double rainbow lasted more than 30 minutes in the photographer’s backyard in Carbondale, Colorado.

    Dave Mayer
  • Runner Up | Waking the Sleeping Ute: The photographer watched thunderstorms roll in from the Four Corners and light up the Sleeping Ute in Dolores, Colorado.

    Michael Schmidt
  • Runner Up | Fox Fight: The photographer witnessed a foxing match in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone’s Northern Range. It only lasted about 10 seconds, and the defeated fox stayed for half an hour after the fight was over, licking his wounds.

    Hunter Graham
  • Peekaboo: A pacific tree frog, no bigger than a thumbnail, among the shrubs at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, in Nisqually, Washington.

    Joan Miller
  • Stormy Monday: San Francisco Bay taken during the photographer's job working on tug boats, maneuvering ships to and from their docks.

    David Smith
  • Whirling Walls: An image of the intricate patterns in the slot canyons of Upper Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona.

    Ken Henke
  • Safer Up Here: A yearling brown bear cub finds refuge in a tree after fishing with its mom at Brooks Falls, in Katmai National Park, Alaska.

    Douglas Croft
  • Behold: Mount Sneffels makes a fleeting appearance at sunrise after an autumn snowfall in Colorado.

    John Mumaw
  • Owl: A beautiful owl landed on a tree and posed for the photographer in Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado.

    Debra Norman
  • Lightning Over the Monument: After a rainy day in the Grand Valley, the photographer witnessed a lightning show over Colorado National Monument.

    J.T. Dudrow
  • Rattlesnake: A southern pacific rattlesnake in Ventura County, California.

    Jeremiah Psiropoulos
  • Morning Light: Light streams over rocks in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Arizona.

    Jim Dublinski
  • Our secret lake: The photographer's dog takes a dip in a lake in the high Cascades.

    Todd Mcmeen


This year’s reader photo contest was dedicated to the “backyards” of our region. Readers submitted more than 300 photos showing the wonders of the West, farm to field, cityscape to wilderness. Here are the winners in addition to some other striking submissions to the contest.

See all the submissions on the contest page and thanks to MindShift Gear for sponsoring the contest.