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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Winter 2016/17 > SHOOT TO THRILL


We asked for your best shots. You delivered. From more than 4,000 entries, the winners of our 27th annual photo contest

2016 Photo Contest

“The average person is a much better photographer than they used to be,” says professional photographer Paul Orenstein, one of the judges of this year’s contest. Maybe that’s one reason that the entries—and all the winners—wowed us so much. These top shots have great composition, light, colour, and detail; they tell a story and evoke emotion; they’re creative and original; and they show us aspects of lake, cottage, and cabin life that we’ve never seen before. So, enjoy. (Because we sure did.)


Why did it win?

This photo was absolutely the most visually striking of the contest. We had an immediate reaction: Whoa. That’s astounding. The sky can do that. The image has depth, atmosphere, gorgeous colour, and a leading S-curve to draw in the eye. And it has details that tell us we’re at the cottage. If it didn’t, it would just be another picture of the northern lights.

The story

Gillene Gauthier takes a lot of nightsky shots at her family’s cabin on Norman Lake, B.C., and she’s even captured the aurora borealis “four or five times.” But nothing like this scene, shot on Mother’s Day, at 1:30 a.m. “It was amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like it before,” she says. Gillene used a tripod for the photo and spent hours taking shots. “I didn’t get much sleep that night, but it was worth it.”

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About Cottage Life

Get outside! 50+ ways to embrace the magic of winter. Snowmobile buyer's guide. Wolves in crisis. The coolest hot tubs. 25 cottage gifts. Best cottage photos of 2016.