grand prize “The Rain” Digitally Altered “Capturing the beauty of Watkins Glen without including any visitors was not as easy a task as it may sound. In fact, I had to wake up at 5 a.m. to travel to the park, yet I was not the first in line. I hope this photo can help explain why this magical place is one of the my most favorite places on earth.” Edgar Trung Le • Macedon

The 20th Annual Life in the Finger Lakes Photo Contest

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Life in the Finger Lakes photo contest. For the first time ever, readers were allowed to vote for their favorite photo – online. We love it when readers become a part of the creative process. Then, the magazine really starts to reflect your interests and contributions.

When we started the photo contest in 2002, we wanted to showcase the incredibly talented people who love the Finger Lakes Region. Over the years, we have received thousands of photo submissions for the contest. And it’s always a difficult decision on filtering down to the ones that will be judged because there are so many great photos to choose from.

We’d like to thank each person who ever submitted a photo to the contest. There are more than a few that never won a prize or received recognition, but we have curated all your photos, and we know that you sent them out of a love for this incredible area and its people and culture.

Here’s to another 20 years of photo contests!

– Mark Stash, editor



The grand prize photograph was presented in partnership with The Rockwell Museum in Corning. It’ was on display at the museum through December 2021.



Color Category

First Place
“Twin Reflections”
This photograph was taken at the beaver wetland in the Sterling Nature Preserve in Sterling.
Marie Costanza

Second Place
“Wood Pile Red Fox”
Photograph was taken in Geneseo.
Tom Kosmicki

Third Place
“Awaiting the Storm”
Taken on an iPhone, across the road from Treleaven Wines in King Ferry.
Lisa Skrubis


Black and White Category

First Place
“Soft Snow, Hard Ice”
Location: Taughannock Falls State Park
Joy Underhill

Second Place
“Grimes Glen Park, Naples, New York”
Annette C. Averitt

Third Place
“Puddle hopper”
Stony Brook State Park
Melissa Batz


Digitally Altered

First Place
“Proposal Sunrise”    Letchworth State Park
Charles Cappellino
Seneca Falls

Second Place
“Snow Train”
Finger Lakes Railroad near Oaks Corners, New York
Diane W. Dersch

Third Place
“Otisco Lake Rainbow”
Sandy Molodetz
West Hartford, Connecticut


Honorable Mention

“Surrounded by beauty – Canandaigua Lady at south end of Canandaigua Lake”
Black and White
Cindy Noël Alves

“Seneca Lake” 
Black and White
S. Ani Mukherji

“The Gas Line” 
Custom auto repair shop and museum, Route 318, Seneca Falls
Digitally Altered
Dawn P. Knox

“The Dance – Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Digitally Altered
Mary Lou Shapinas
Johnson City, New York

“Winter Sunset Ganargua Creek/Erie Canal”
Susan Lynch

“Floating Among the Clouds – Green Lakes State Park”
Gina Kreutter


John Adamski Award

“ Whitetail doe – Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge”
Chris Achtschin

John Adamski is best known as the founder of the Finger Lakes Museum, along with being a contributor to many publications such as Life in the Finger Lakes magazine. John’s authentic passion for nature was captured through his award-winning wildlife photography and writings. This award is given to a photographer who has captured a spectacular photo of wildlife in its natural, outdoor setting here in the Finger Lakes. In order to continue John’s legacy for showcasing and celebrating the region, support in the form of your time, talent, and treasure is always welcome at the Finger Lakes Museum –

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