Congratulations to our Excellence-in-Craft Photography Winners!

VOWA is pleased to present the winners of our 2019-2020 Excellence-In-Craft photography contest. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we did not get to celebrate with these winners at our Annual Meeting. VOWA offers sincere congratulations to each winner and celebrates their outstanding work in this showcase.

Outstanding Published Photos

“Chincoteague Ponies”

1st PlaceAlvin Finchum
“Chincoteague Ponies”

Alvin Finchum’s lovely photograph of Chincoteague’s wild ponies appears in the article, “See Wild Ponies Swim from This Undiscovered National Seashore,” written by Kae Penner-Howell  and published in The Discoverer Blog.

Beautiful image Alvin, Congratulations!







“Eastern Tiger Swallowtail”

2nd Place: Sarah Blanchard
“Eastern Tiger Swallowtail” 

Sarah Blanchard is an elementary school physical and health education teacher and coach by day, a nature and portrait photographer by night. Sarah lives and teaches in Louisa County, VA., is married, and has 3 mini dachshunds and 1 beagle. “In my spare time I enjoy photography, spending time outdoors and traveling. Some of my work has been published in the Virginia Wildlife Magazine and various local and national calendars.”

Sarah’s winning image of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is part of “Prints etc.,” for sale at  Nourish in Louisa.” You can find Sarah online at  Congratulations Sarah!





“Hunter Along River in the Mist”

3rd Place:   King Montgomery
“Hunter along River in the Mist”

King Montgomery is a long time member of VOWA. We are delighted to have him continue to be part of our organization and enter our  2019-20 contest  from his home in Kennebunkport, Maine where he and his wife, Elizabeth Grant, a retired federal administrative judge are enjoying their retirement. King is an outdoors & travel writer and photographer, a retired US Army officer, and has a B.S. degree in fisheries biology. “An avid angler, wing-shooter, and waterfowler, he is a Contributing Editor and Mid-Atlantic Regional editor for Fly Fish America magazine.” You can read more about King, his distinguished Army career and award-winning photo-journalistic adventures on his website.

Stunning image King! 




Outstanding Unpublished Photos

This is a new category in our 2019-2010 Excellence-in-Craft competition. It was very popular with the highest number of entries of all categories…quality entries, stiff competition! We are very proud to honor these photographers. 


“Back Off!”

1st Place: Alex Newhart
 “Back Off”

Alex Newhart is a scientist, naturalist and nature photographer residing in White Post, Virginia.  He has had a lifelong passion for nature, with a particular interest in using photography to share with others the wonder and beauty he finds there.   He spends much of his time as an active volunteer for the Virginia Master Naturalist organization (he is the past president of the Shenandoah Chapter).  Alex is also on the Board of Directors for FOSA (Friends of the State Arboretum at Blandy).

Alex’s stunning action capture, “Back Off,” featuring an aggressive Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) was photographed at his home in White Post. It took multiple rapid fire series of images to produce this one image. You can read the full story of this image here. Congratulations Alex, outstanding work!
Image of Alex with his camera and tripod is by Joy Brunk. 




“Nacho and the Fishermen”

2nd Place:  Amanda Creasey
“Nacho and the Fisherman”

Amanda Sue Creasey is a high school English teacher and freelance writer based out of Chester, Virginia. She is married and has two dogs, Nacho and Soda—who, weighing in at 15 pounds combined, she affectionately calls “the Littles.”

In addition to walking and hiking with the Littles, Amanda loves to write and read. She is a board member of Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA), as well as an active member of James River Writers and the Poetry Society of Virginia. You can find her online at, where she maintains Mind the Dog Writing Blog, or visit her on Instagram.  Beautiful image Amanda!
The photo of Amanda with her husband and “the Littles” is by Radiant Snapshots


“Hunter in Duck Blind”

3rd PlaceKing Montgomery
“Hunter in Duck Blind”

King Montgomery’s bio is above with his published photo win. I (Marie Majarov, VOWA Webmaster) have so may fond memories of King in our VOWA organization,  and am very grateful for all the help and advice he gave me when I was just beginning in the field. King, an exquisitely talented writer, wisely told me about the importance of combining photography with writing. He explained that there were different kinds of journalists, that he was “a writer with a camera”  and that I  (a photographer by training) “needed to be a photographer with a pen.” Indeed we have both worked on our secondary skills…King has become an outstanding photographer and I won the Fly Fishers of Virginia award this year for conservation writing! Thank you King!






Special thanks to our Excellence-in-Craft sponsors: the Fly Fishers of VirginiaAppalachian Mountain Advocates and Mossy Creek Fly Fishing.  We also send our gratitude to the many fine judges involved in this competition for their generous donation of time, patience, and expertise in judging our contest.
VOWA thanks Robert Thomas for all his efforts in Chairing and organizing this successful Excellence-in-craft competition.