If the most famous writer in the history of the English language wrote a caption for the winning image in the National Park Service‘s 2010 National Historic Landmark (NHL) Photo Contest, his brief text might read as follows:
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy.
These four lines — the beginning of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 33 — bear an eerie applicability to this year’s winning photograph, “Mount Rainier in the Morning” by Matthew Bell of Lost Delta Photography, Olympia, Washington. Under a sky of periwinkle blue and pastel pink, the bulk of Mount Rainer, with its gray face swathed in snow, slopes gently downward toward the lush meadow that occupies the middle ground of the photograph. In the foreground, a waterfall’s “pale streams,” spectral and smoke-like, course down a wall of rock.
This arresting image depicts Mount Rainier National Park. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997, the park was the first fully developed product of the National Park Service (NPS) master planning process and remains the most complete product of this process. The initiation of NPS master planning at Mount Rainier in the late 1920s marked a major step in the design and management of scenic reservations in the 20th century.
“The selection of this year’s winner took some exciting outside-the-box thinking,” said NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis. “When we look at the winning image, we see the natural world instead of one of the many historic buildings on the list of NHLs. Managed — not made — by humans, Mount Rainier National Park represents a landmark in conservation history.
“That said, the images that received honorable mentions — which feature structures, vessels, and other physical destinations that give evidence of human activity and fit our traditional idea of ‘historic’ sites — also dazzle us and keep us from forgetting our rich past. I commend the winners, judges, and administrators of the 2010 NHL Photo Contest, as well as all who participated.”
Twelve photographs, listed below, received honorable mentions in what is the 11th annual contest. Among the honorable mentions is a photograph by MotorHome’s senior managing editor, Patricia Marroquin, taken while on a travel writing assignment for MotorHome in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in October 2009.
This year’s competition broke the record for number of entries, drawing 500 images of landmarks from throughout the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. The images were submitted, per contest rules, through Flickr photo groups. View all of the winning photographs in the Flickr gallery for the 2010 contest, found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalregister/galleries/72157625155997054/. All of the images will be used in a 2011 color calendar produced by the National Park Service, as well as for educational purposes.
For more information about the contest, please visit its website at www.nps.gov/history/nhl/2010photocontest.
The Secretary of the Interior designates National Historic Landmarks because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The National Park Service manages the National Historic Landmarks Program, which works with citizens throughout the nation in nominating new landmarks and providing assistance to existing landmarks. For more information about the National Historic Landmarks Program, please visit its website at http://www.nps.gov/history/nhl/. The NHL Database, accessible via the program website, provides information about specific landmarks.