Photographers showcase skills in MWR contest

APG family member Colin Kelly won first place in the Nature and Landscapes category of the 2016 Army Digital Photography Contest hosted by the U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation , with this photo titled “Manhattan Skyline at Blue Hour.”

A contractor, a civilian and a family member recently won awards in the 2016 Army Digital Photography Contest, hosted by the U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

The annual contest featured seven categories of photographs in two divisions: active-duty personnel and other MWR patrons. Contestants were allowed to enter and win in more than one category.

Byron Reasin, MWR sports program and facility manager, at the installation level, there were no entries from active duty military and 125 entries from other MWR patrons. Thirty-five entries were advanced to the Department of the Army level.

Photographer and videographer Christina Graber, with the U.S. Army Public Health Center, who served as a judge at the installation level, said she was impressed with the number of submissions.

“Many contestants used fundamentally strong photography techniques with leading lines, rule of thirds and great depth of field,” she said. “Some of the action shots were quite impressive for novice photographers.”

Colin Kelly

Colin Kelly, the son of Barbara Kelly, of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, won first place in the Nature and Landscapes category for his photo “Manhattan Skyline at Blue Hour.” He also won second place in the Still Life category for his photo “The Fall Leaf.”

Colin Kelly, 20, is a sophomore at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also known as Virginia Tech, majoring in computational and systems neuroscience. He started taking photos as a hobby after receiving a camera for Christmas in 2015.

“The Fall Leaf” was taken by APG family member Colin Kelly at Cascade Falls near Blacksburg, Virginia. Kelly received second place in the Still Life category of the 2016 Army Digital Photography Contest.

“It actually kind of stemmed from Instagram, I followed a lot of photographers and as I kept following more and more, I wanted to be the one taking the pictures,” he said.

Colin Kelly’s love of photography also derives from his desire to travel and to share his experiences with other people. Since receiving his camera, he has visited the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah and Yosemite National Park in California.

“It helps me to remember where I have been and what I have done,” he said.

During a break from school, he visited New York City with his sister to take photographs. One stop during his visit was the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where he took his award-winning photo the “Manhattan Skyline at Blue Hour,” shortly after sunset.

According to Colin Kelly, he wanted to experiment with a new piece of equipment, a neutral-density filter that can create a motion blur effect with slow shutter speeds.

“It does bring out some more saturation and color,” he said.

To take “The Fall Leaf ” photo, he visited Cascade Falls near Blacksburg, Virginia, and took several fall-themed photos while hiking with friends.

Improving skills

“I was actually really surprised and as you can imagine, excited, ” he said about winning two awards.

To advance his photography skills, he researches techniques on YouTube and is a member of a photography club at his school.

“The internet has helped me out a ton,” he said. “And try to network with other people.”

Barbara Kelly said she is “very proud and happy” for her son.

“Colin is very determined once he makes up his mind to do something,” she said. “When he got the camera, he started planning trips so he could get the shots he wanted and he knows exactly what he wants to capture.”

Sharon Broomall

Sharon Broomall, a contractor with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, won an honorable mention in the Digital Darkroom category for her photo “Midnight Ride.” Broomall, a technical writer, adopted photography as a hobby about six years ago.

Sharon Broomall, a contractor with CERDEC, earned an honorable mention in the Digital Darkroom category of the 2016 Army Digital Photography Contest for her photo “Midnight Ride,” which features a 1929 Ford Model A.

“I love the universality of photography,” she said. “Powerful images can speak their own language, a beautiful, intriguing, or moving photograph can be understood by anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world. Photography truly does bring people together.”

Last March, Broomall photographed her friend’s 1929 Ford Model A at a local orchard. Although she took the photo in the morning, she used the “solar” effect in Adobe Photoshop Elements to make it appear like it was taken at night. She also used the photo editing software to add headlights.

Seeing art in everyday life

Broomall, who is self-taught, enjoys seeing the art in everyday life.

“Photography is something you learn by trial and error,” she said. “Just by going out and using the camera constantly and editing.”

Broomall added that she tries to evoke emotions through her photography.

“To me the mood of the photo is much more important than the technical aspects of it,” she said. “The subject of the photo, isn’t as important to me as the emotion that’s evoked by the photo and the way that you really can evoke the most emotion is by editing it, it turns it more into art.”

Broomall said she was honored to win an award in an Army-wide contest.

“I have won awards [for my photography] before, but not on this level,” she said.

Broomall’s photography can be viewed on Her work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun and in galleries and businesses in the Baltimore region.

William Pully, a civilian with RDECOM, also won first place in the Animals category. Read his story in the April 6 edition of the APG News, or visit sharing-passion-photography/.

View the winning photos and the complete list of winners at /programs-and-services/arts-and-crafts/ digital-photo-contest/2016-winners/.


Story by Rachel Ponder, APG News