A picture is worth a thousand words, able to inspire, inform, and awe in mere seconds. It’s why we place such importance on the images we use in the pages of Terrain — and it’s why we host our annual photo contest.

This year, amateur shutterbugs from around the region submitted almost 400 entries for consideration in the categories of Nature, Sports, People, Wildlife, and Anything Goes. We want to thank all the contest entrants and congratulate our winners.

On the following pages are the images that most engaged and amazed our six judges, plus a few honorable mentions that were too good not to share.

Grand Prize (pictured, top) – Carrie Zukoski

A great example of visual storytelling, this drama-filled photo was taken during a rain shower at the Gateway Cup professional bike races in St. Louis this summer. 

“Up until the point of the photo, the rain hadn’t been too terrible,” said Zukoski, who had wisely brought a poncho and camera sleeve for weather protection. “I happened to be near the start/finish line when the skies let loose in a strong downpour.

“I didn’t actually see the rider wiping his face or the pit crew waving the tire until after I reviewed the photos. It was hard to see much detail while photographing in the rain,” she continued, “but those details are what I like about this photo and that these Cat 3/4 racers were still going strong in the deluge.”

The message behind the image? “I think it’s preparedness and perseverance. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward. Not only for the photographer but for the cyclists as well,” Zukoski said. “No matter how many times you question what you’re doing, if it’s your passion, keep going. You’ll get there, eventually.”


First Place

FIRST PLACE - John Niebling - Lightning

For his perfectly timed image of midsummer lightning over a cornfield near Columbia, Illinois, John Niebling wins a pair of Tifosi sunglasses and an annual subscription to Terrain

Second Place 

SECOND PLACE - Eugene Morrison - Fungus 2020

Eugene Morrison snapped this shot of stark beauty at Panther Den Wilderness in southern Illinois. He gets a gift certificate to Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop and a magazine subscription. 

Third Place

THIRD PLACE - Steve Schnaar

A foggy sunrise brightens the Missouri River near New Haven. “The wooden pilings are the original structures used by the Corps of Engineers to channelize the river,” said photographer Steve Schnarr.


First Place

FIRST PLACE - Debby Seigel - Yoga

This picture of a stretched out stand-up paddleboard yogi on Creve Coeur Lake earns Debby Siegel a pair of Tifosi sunglasses and a one-year subscription. 

Second Place 

SECOND PLACE - John Niebling - Fog Paddle

John Niebling caught two paddlers during a chilly start on the Current River near Missouri’s Montauk State Park and won a gift certificate to Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop.

Third Place

THIRD PLACE - Cheri Becker - MWA Races 2022 - happy

This shot of a happy kayaker at the Missouri Whitewater Championships on the St. Francis River near Fredericktown nets Cheri Becker a pair of Terrain socks and a magazine subscription.   


First Place

FIRST PLACE - Terri Kelly - Fox 2

Terri Kelly takes home a pair of Tifosi sunglasses and a subscription to Terrain for her well-timed photo of a red fox kit not holding its tongue in Humeston, Iowa.

Second Place 

SECOND PLACE - Michael Boudinet - Turtle

While on a bike ride, Michael Boudinet found this seemingly smiling snapping turtle in Washington, Missouri, and won a gift certificate to Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop.

Third Place

THIRD PLACE - Richard Drew - Eagles-1

Richard Drew nabbed this image of eagles feeding near Horseshoe Lake in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. It gets him a pair of Terrain socks and a subscription. 

Anything Goes

First Place

FIRST PLACE - Marc Pauly - Balancing Act

Our judges wondered how photographer Marc Pauly got his 1986 Specialized Hardrock to stand still for this image, which earned him a pair of Tifosi sunglasses and a subscription. 

Second Place 

SECOND PLACE - john taylor-ShawSwirlingGrass-_DSF6427

John Taylor wins a gift certificate to Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop for his atmospheric photo of a grass swirl in the last days of winter at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, Missouri.

Third Place

THIRD PLACE - Debby Seigel - Canoes

Two-time winner Debby Seigel picks up a pair of Terrain socks and an annual subscription for her colorful capture of kayaks at Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri. 


First Place

FIRST PLACE - Melissa Wharton - Wheel

Of her winning photo, Melissa Wharton says: “The 25-foot, steel overshot wheel is all that remains of Turner Mill. [It] sits in the branch of Turner Spring that flows into the Eleven Point River in Oregon County, Missouri.”

Second Place 

SECOND PLACE - Glenn Zimmerman - What Lies Beneath

Glenn Zimmerman earned a gift certificate to Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop for this subterranean shot of the Devil’s Icebox at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Missouri.

Third Place

THIRD PLACE - Betsy Marziani - Elephant Rocks

Just a hop, click, and jump get Betsy Marziani a pair of Terrain socks and a subscription for her submission taken at Elephant Rocks State Park in Belleview, Missouri. 

About Our Prizes

The grand-prize winner in the 2022 Terrain Photo Contest will receive a pair of Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8×25 Waterproof Binoculars. Inspired by life at the beach, Nocs Provisions is an ode to the original seafarers and coastal pioneers. Nocs is a collective of people who are stoked to seek the unseen, to travel curiously, and to discover the best spots along the way. The design is inspired by the seemingly symmetric yet completely unique lines of the sea and the coastal dunes where they meet. The logo is inspired by the sunset. And the packaging is plastic-free. nocsprovisions.com

First-place winners will receive a pair or performance sunglasses from Tifosi Optics. Born in 2003, Tifosi has grown to become one of the most recognized, relevant, and trusted brands in cycling, running, outdoor, and golf optics. Its mission is to provide technically advanced eyewear to enthusiasts of all sports and outdoor activities. It designs, tests, and tortures its products to enhance your sport, whether you’re running a 5k, riding your first century, or playing 18 holes on Sunday. tifosioptics.com

Second-place winners will receive a $25 gift certificate to the new Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop located in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. The shop carries an inventory heavily focused on water activities, as well as apparel and camping gear, with featured brands including Northwest River Supply (NRS), Klean Kanteen, BioLite, Clipper Canoes, Ozark River Walkers, Frost River Trading Co., NEMO, Primus, Mountainsmith, and more. 2muddy.com/shop

Third-place winners will receive a pair of custom Terrain socks from DeFeet. DeFeet socks and accessories are manufactured with the highest quality sustainable fibers and are guaranteed to withstand normal conditions of cycling, hiking, and daily wear. Its proprietary fabric blend combines 50-percent recycled yarns and 50-percent Merino wool. By moving some of its production to these fibers, DeFeet is able to dramatically reduce its environmental footprint. defeet.com

All prize winners also receive a one-year subscription to Terrain Magazine. terrain-mag.com.