Umstead visitors capture images of a beloved state park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Umstead Coalition found that capturing an image of a beloved place is often an emotional experience — far beyond just arranging digital bits in a camera.

“We asked people to write little stories to accompany their photos, and sometimes it seems the stories had almost as much to do with their winning as anything,” said Jean Spooner, the organization’s chairperson, as she described its first photo contest at William B. Umstead State Park. A number of the stories were quite touching and sprang from family connections, fond memories and special moments in the outdoors.

Mike Murphy, state parks director, congratulates photo contest winners.
Mike Murphy, state parks director, congratulates photo contest winners.

The Umstead Coalition held a reception Saturday to honor the amateur photographers who contributed to the contest, and the winners in four categories: flora and fauna, activities, historic structures and images by youth.

With a calendar featuring the photos, the contest was created to raise funds as well as the profile of the organization. The state park will soon mark its 80th anniversary, and The Umstead Coalition, which is dedicated to the park’s conservation mission, will commemorate a 40th anniversary next year. Recently, its members have volunteered more than 4,000 hours renovating buildings in the park’s group camps, many of which were built as part of a 1930s CCC camp.

Mike Murphy, director of the state parks system, attended the event, congratulated the photographers and told the group, “Each park has a story to tell and part of that is how it is supported and sustained by the community.”

The winning photos are on display in the park’s visitor center, and will be posted on The Umstead Coalition Website.

Sreekar Manena, winner of the youth category, takes a keepsake photo.
Sreekar Mantena, winner of the youth category, takes a keepsake photo.

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