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Portland photographer Dan Hawk claimed two top spots this year, along with six other shutterbugs.

COURTESY PHOTO: DAN HAWK - Dan Hawk's photo of Dry Creek Falls won the Friends of Columbia Gorge photo contest's grand prize.Portland photographer Dan Hawk works as a commercial, lifestyle and product photographer by trade. He specializes in professional portraits, head shots and product photography. His clients are in real estate, architecture and lifestyle brands.

But Hawk's real passion in photography comes on the weekends, when he can be found away from the city in the Columbia River Gorge.

Hawk recently won two categories in the annual Friends of Columbia Gorge photo contest, with the theme "Picturing Perfection."

"There's maybe no other place on the planet where you can live in a metropolitan area and drive 20 to 25 minutes and stand in front of a waterfall over 100 feet tall," said Hawk, who's chapter president of American Society of Media Photographers.

It's his photo of a waterfall, Dry Creek Falls, that won the contest's grand prize. He hiked up part of the Pacific Crest Trail outside of Cascade Locks to reach the falls in mid-July last year.

{obj:54317:View all of the 2021 Friends of the Columbia Gorge Photo Contest winners here.}

"It lies in a fairly deep canyon, keeping it green and lush all year round," he said. "(The canyon) also protected it from fire damage. It's a beautiful reminder of nature's power and resiliency."

"I'm totally enchanted by this picture," said contest judge Beth Nakamura, a Portland-based, Emmy-winning photojournalist. "It's really beautifully done, the way the light hits and how the composition helps direct our gaze, but not with a heavy hand."

A photo of the Bridge of the Gods, with a Native American fishing platform, won Hawk the Human Works category, as well.

COURTESY PHOTO: FRIENDS OF COLUMBIA GORGE - This is a view that is familiar to photographer Laura Payne, whose parents live in Mosier. She's a winner in the Friends of Columbia Gorge photo contest.Photographer Laura Payne, who lives in Mosier as well as Washougal, Washington, won the contest's scenic category for the eastern gorge with a photo of a tranquil Columbia River in the winter, near Mosier.

"It's definitely never boring seeing that view," she said.

The spot where Payne shot the photo was within walking distance of where Payne's parents live in Mosier, she said. It's one of several spots around town she likes to take photographs.

"There's also the Mosier Plateau Trail, a great place to shoot photos," she said. "The Rowena viewpoint is a great place. Whether it's in nature or some of the towns, The Dalles or Hood River, there always something interesting or a small moment to shoot."

Other winners:

Gorge Community Life category, Jan Sonnenmair, Portland; Scenic Western Gorge category, Karen Reeves, Portland; Wildflowers & Other Flora category, Pratyush Jaiswal, Portland; Wildlife category, Bill Kirkland, Portland; Youth Photographer, Aidan Sweet, Portland.

Want to go shoot your own photos in the gorge? A new bus service called the Sasquatch Shuttle offers stops at eight recreation sites in the Columbia Gorge. The bus starts at the Bridal Veil exit of Interstate 84 and stops at Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Angel's Rest, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, Vista House and Portland Women's Forum.

The service operates daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available online.


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