TRAVERSE CITY — Caitlin Scroggins was searching online for a local camera club when she happened upon an announcement for a National Geographic student photo contest.
“The deadline was in three days,” said Scroggins, 15, of the second annual “Student Expeditions” competition that asks students to submit photographs that convey what exploration or adventure means to them. “I thought, ‘No better time than the present.’”
The Elk Rapids High School sophomore entered five of her favorite photos and then forgot about the contest, whose grand prize is a photography workshop in London. That is, until she checked her email earlier this month and learned she’d placed in the top 24 with her image, “Colorful Flowers.”
“I opened the email and I’m like, ‘This isn’t right. Something must have gotten mixed up,’” recalled Scroggins, of Williamsburg, who has since gotten several requests for reprints of the photo. “I’m just honored to be chosen. I don’t care if it’s first place or 90th place.”
The image of towering zinnias against a pale blue sky was selected as a finalist from 2,500 entries nationwide. The photos were judged by top National Geographic photographers and photo editors.
Deb Harris, director of National Geographic Student Travel, called this year’s contest a “wonderful success.”
“The students were so thoughtful and creative with their images and captions,” Harris said in a National Geographic press release. “Our judges had a tough job, but the winning and finalist images tell a rich story of exploration in the lives of high school students across the country.”
The top 24 photos were shot all over the world, from the U.S., Iceland, New Zealand, Thailand and Tanzania, to Ecuador, Belize, Costa Rica and Peru. Scroggins’ image was taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 in her grandmother’s Williamsburg garden.