Winners of 2021 Boundary Waters Photo Contest

Art & Science

If you’re a wilderness or wildlife photographer, you can’t do much better than the Boundary Waters. It’s a place to experience wilderness, water, wildlife, wonderment, and capture some great photos.

And with skill (and sometimes a little luck!) photographers can capture those memories and share that experience with the rest of us.

We received hundreds of photo entries to this year’s photography contest. And we had a lot of fun seeing the Boundary Waters through your lenses! It wasn’t easy, but certain shots stood out. With some tough decisions, our panel of judges have named eight winners.

Winner: On the Water

Forest Fires in the BWCA
Winning photograph by Graham Miller

For those lucky enough to make it to the Boundary Waters this summer, your trip may very well have featured the smell of smoke, a red sun, firefighting choppers and planes, and perhaps a ranger visit asking you to leave. Graham Miller shared this remarkable shot taken as their group evacuated the BWCA, summing up the summer of 2021.

Winner: Wildlife

Lynx in Minnesota through the trees.
Winning photograph by: Timothy Petricek

Look closely, because it’s looking at YOU. Timothy Petricek sent this arresting picture of a lynx, locking him in its gaze through the brush.

Winner: Humor

Surprised paddler sees a bear in a Boundary Waters campsite
Winning photograph by: Hayley Moessner

Hayley Moessner perfectly captures the surprise and exhilaration of a bear visit to a campsite — and the joy that you’re not in it!

Winner: Landscape

Fishermen in a canoe, in front of foggy hillsides in the Boundary Waters
Winning photograph by Cameron Bauer

Cameron Bauer shows off the height and breadth of a big lake, and a foggy morning fishing expedition in this barebones landscape shot.

Winner: Kids

Young hiker at an overlook
Winning photograph by Ben Kucera

Joy, excitement and beauty come through in this winner from Ben Kucera. This young hiker seems very happy to have made it to the overlook, dressed to match the fall colors.

Winner: Friends and Family

Campsite through the trees in the Boundary Waters
Winning photograph by Signe Hushagen

This shot of a campsite through the trees by Signe Hushagen makes us long for an unhurried day in camp, sipping on a mug of hot chocolate with friends and family.

Winner: Dogs

Dog looking at loon on a lake in the Boundary Waters
Winning photograph by Josh Boudreaux

Cute canines in canoes are all winners! But this shot by Josh Boudreaux made us wag our tails for this single moment of simultaneous calm and tension at the waters edge.

Winner: Winter

Frosted trees
Winning photograph by Dominic Ricci

A sight that is becoming more familiar now at season’s end, Dominic Ricci found an icy stillness in this frosted forest scene.

A big congratulations to this year’s winners, and thank you to all of our photo contest entrants! We hope these shots have inspired you to get outside and add to your own BWCA photo collection. For those looking for more inspiration and ideas, check out our 2020 winners. Want to up your photo game? Check out these tips, and a presentation on better canoe and kayak photos from professional photographer Bryan Hansel.

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