People, Places & Things

Posted on July 31, 2023 by Grace Olson

Our 17th Annual Photo Contest

Panel of Judges

Pam Seidl, Executive Director, Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kevin Rau, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass
Luke Schiller, Executive Director, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
TJ Minnehan, President, Bank of Kaukauna
Kimberly Finnell, Owner, Osorio’s Latin Fusion
Moderator: Sarah Elliott, Owner, Sarah Celine Photography LLC


A sincere thank you to the area businesses that have generously provided our winners with the following prizes:

Grand Prize: One night stay at CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel, downtown Appleton
First Prizes: $75 toward a stay or dinner at Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah
Second Prizes: $50 gift certificate for Foxley’s Gallery LTD in Appleton
Third Prizes: $25 gift certificate for Wildbird & Backyard in Appleton

Overall Winner: “Christmas Flight Among the Lights” by Donald Krueger

Donald Krueger of Kaukauna snapped the Overall Winner photo in December of 2022 while working security at the EAA Wright Brothers event at the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh.

“(I) always enjoy photographing objects from different angles,” he says. “Standing in the lobby, looking up at the planes and Christmas lights and I thought it would make a nice photo.”

Our judging panel agreed, loving its colorful nature and unique vantage point, making it a unanimous decision to put it in the top spot.


1st Place: “Christmas with the Mad Hatter” by Vicki Strean

While attending Future Neenah’s “A Very Neenah Christmas,” Vicki Strean of Menasha stopped when she spotted an Alice in Wonderland theme at The Natural Boutique.

“I loved the whimsical feeling of this colorful window display,” she says. “The Mad Hatter ‘mannequin’ had originally been standing and then suddenly brought his character down and looked the child right in the eyes at his level… it was a perfect picture to me and I snapped it!”

“For me, I see bravery in the child,” Judge Pam Seidl adds. “The child doesn’t appear scared and stares back. It’s really interesting.”

2nd Place: “Jenner John Park” by Connie Quimby


Raegen Hintz loves everything about the playground, but especially the swings. Grandmother Connie Quimby snapped this photo at Jennerjohn Park in Greenville at just the right time to capture that love.

“She always wants to go back to the swings and swing ‘really, really high,’” Quimby says.

“This picture is just pure joy to me!” Judge Kimberly Finnel says.

“It also really resonates with the month (of the magazine issue): August,” Luke Schiller adds. “It’s being happy in summertime. It’s perfect.”

3rd Place: “Infinity View” by Joe Lukasik

Of “Infinity View,” the judging panel appreciated the focus on snow and winter, an outlier in this year’s photo contest.
“It’s really emblematic of the area, being on the frozen lakes. That’s not something you have everywhere,” Judge TJ Minnehan notes.

Joe Lukasik’s daughter, Julia, was standing on the ice off the shoreline of Fresh Air Park in Neenah staring into the stillness of a snowstorm that dumped over a foot of snow in the area.

“Our family had moved to the Fox Cities earlier that year from Georgia,” Lukasik explains. “It was the first time my daughter had experienced a whiteout. It was so quiet around us, you could hear the snow accumulating and barely see the opposite shoreline.”


1st Place: “Adrift” by Joe Lukasik

“I was fishing with my son on Green Bay when the sailboat and dinghy caught my eye,” Joe Lukasik of Neenah says. “I thought the unusual cloud pattern and ripples in the water provided an interesting backdrop for a photograph!”
Moderator Sarah Elliot agrees.

There’s a liveliness to it… we don’t get a sky like that every day,” she says.

2nd Place: “Fox River Fall” by Catherine McKenzie

While on an autumn walk with her husband last year, Catherine McKenzie of Appleton took this photo along the Fox River trail.

“The fall color and the river did not disappoint!” she explains. “The leaves and the sky and the reflections were all delightful… the river was stunning and always worth a visit at any time of year.”

“It’s like a hidden gem,” Judge Kimberly Finnell mentions. “Like you stumbled upon a secret place.”

3rd Place: “Doty Island Tranquility” by Cindy Fitzgibbon


Cindy Fitzgibbon was out for an early morning run through Doty Park when she saw the sun on the water.

“I stopped to take in the beauty and took the picture,” she remembers. “This was taken last year in early summer. I have lived on Doty Island for 38 years and it is truly a wonderful place to live!”

“There are some really neat shapes here,” Judge Kevin Rau says. “It’s just like a cutout right in the middle. I love the composition.”


1st Place: Paine Exhibit by Austin Emunson

Austin Emunson of Appleton thought the “glow of the light in the cold air was a show stopper” at the “The Nature of Light: An Exploration After Dark” exhibit at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh.

“The beauty of the luminaries at the beginning of the winter season and the cold air with friends made the evening very special,” he says. “We are new to the area and have truly enjoyed the welcome friendship Appleton and Wisconsin has offered us. The Paine Art Center and Gardens has been one of our favorite places to visit each season.”

2nd Place: “Wriston Art Center” by Dolores Howse

“It’s so simple but it just really makes me happy,” Judge Kim Finnel says of this photo taken at Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center.

“I noticed (as I have many times before) the wonderful shadows that the railings make,” Dolores Howse explains. “I’m sure whoever designed the railing had this in mind as its shadow seems to extend the railing giving it a bit of an abstract look.”

3rd Place: “Shepherdess Watching over the Rose Garden” by Anthony Spoerl

Anthony Spoerl of Appleton took this winning photo at the Festival of Spring at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh.

“I was trying to capture the dynamics that I was seeing in that field of view in the photo; those elements that are hard to capture on a camera versus what you see in person,” he says. “Before I took this photo, I noticed how the sun was coming through the clouds and made everything look illuminated in a glowing way, especially on the white blossoms of the tree.”

“I love the drama in this photo,” Judge Kevin Rau notes. “It has a moodiness to it.”

Honorable Mention: “Pear Gimlet at RYE” by Vicki Anderson


“I love taking pictures of food and drink when the composition is captivating and dynamic,” Vicki Anderson of De Pere says. “I take advantage of it from my perspective and try to capture it and convey what I am seeing for others. The star anise was the real focus here and how it went so well with the hue of the cocktail.”


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