Photo Highlights

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION:

703-324-8700
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Judith Pedersen,
Public Information Officer

Winners Named in 2022 First Hike Fairfax Photo Contest

On January 1-2, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority joined park systems across the country to encourage everyone to start 2022 with a hike. First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. Despite wet weather, thousands of people came out to explore the Fairfax County Park Authority’s trail system and take steps toward improved health and fitness in the new year. More than 170 photos were submitted as part of the First Hike Fairfax 2022 Photo Contest presented by the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The Park Authority Executive Director, a panel of Park Authority judges and a public vote have determined the following winners:  

James Stone, Hidden Pond Nature Center

James Stone, Hidden Pond Nature Center 

People’s Choice: $100 Park Authority Gift Card OR a 25-Visit FCPA Rec Center Pass 

More than 900 people voted on the People’s Choice Winner. With 122 votes, this photo of a bridge on the trails at Hidden Pond Nature Center received 13 percent of the vote, making it the most popular of the 24 finalists selected by the judges.  

Sarah Baldwin, Waverly Park

Sarah Baldwin, Waverly Park  

Judges’ Choice: $100 Park Authority Gift Card OR a 25-Visit FCPA Rec Center Pass 

A panel of judges thought this photo offered a unique perspective of our parks. Since fungi grow best under wet conditions, the photo highlights the beauty that emerges in the parks on rainy days. The sharp detail of the hymenium gills of a mushroom are beautifully framed by the towering trees. 

Erin Nicole Graf, Burke Lake Park

Erin Nicole Graf, Burke Lake Park

Director’s Choice: $100 Park Authority Gift Card

Park Authority Executive Director Jai Cole chose this photo of two children running through the trails at Burke Lake Park. “We had some fantastic photographs submitted and I loved them all, but this photo really spoke to me. As a mom of two kids, this photo captures the pure joy of the moment these children were set free to run and just have fun. Thank you, Erin, for sharing this moment with all of us.”

Billy Swistak, Burke Lake Park

Billy Swistak, Burke Lake Park

Best in Show (Landscape/Scenery): $50 Park Authority Gift Card

Judges really enjoyed the warm tones and framing of this photo. The lakeside scene – complete with geese peacefully floating on the water - conveyed a sense of tranquility that so many people seek in our parks.   

Ashley DeAntonio, Lake Fairfax Park

Ashley DeAntonio, Lake Fairfax Park

Best in Show (People): $50 Park Authority Gift Card

Judges thought this photo perfectly captured the spirit of First Hike Fairfax – different generations ringing in the new year on the Park Authority’s trail system. With a butterfly on his cap, the young nature lover is enjoying his perch on his dad’s shoulders.  

Elaine Starr, Huntley Meadows Park

Elaine Starr, Huntley Meadows Park

Best in Show (Wildlife): $50 Park Authority Gift Card 

Judges were amused by this photo of a blue heron landing on a row of turtles. They were also impressed with the photographer’s ability to capture this quick interaction with such detail. They appreciated how stunning the blue feathers were against the darker background.

Mary Robinson, Lake Accotink Park

Mary Robinson, Lake Accotink Park

Best in Show (Pets): $50 Park Authority Gift Card

The Pets category was added this year following feedback from past participants. Judges were drawn to this pup’s cocked head and big brown eyes. In addition to the dog, they liked the photographer’s choice to include the train bridge, misty waters and tree reflection in the background.

First Hike Fairfax kicks off a new year of Healthy Strides activities for the whole family. For more fresh ideas, visit the Healthy Strides web page and sign up for the e-newsletter with monthly tips to get you and your family energized.

Find out more about how easy it is to support local parks by visiting the Park Foundation.

For more information on First Hike Fairfax, visit the First Hike Fairfax web page

Media Note: Click the photo to download

See all First Hike Fairfax 2022 photos.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant