Camas woman wins photography contest

Lois Settlemeyer earns 'Photo of the Year' honors

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A photo taken by a Camas woman that shows sunlight illuminating a canyon wall at Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona recently won the top prize in a Portland-based photography contest.

Lois Settlemeyer won the “Photo of the Year” competition, which is a benefit for the Multnomah Education Service District Outdoor School environmental education program of Portland. Another of Settlemeyer’s photos was an overall finalist, and a third photo placed as the top picture in the weather category.

The contest draws thousands of entries from around the world.

“It was overwhelming because they showed pictures on the screen of all who entered,” said Settlemeyer, describing the recent awards gala event at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland where the winner was announced. “You just keep thinking, ‘wow, that’s good.’ It’s humbling.”

Lois grew up in Indiana, and eventually moved to Michigan where she worked for the Dow Chemical Company for 31 years. Her work for the company brought her to the Pacific Northwest, and Settlemeyer knew it was where she wanted to spend her retirement years.

In 2003, Settlemeyer made the move to Camas, and took up photography as a hobby in 2005 when she was given a second-hand point-and-shoot camera by a family member.

“Photography is a medium that allows me to capture some of the beauty in which I live,” Settlemeyer said in an artist’s statement. “My photography seeks to show the detail of that which surrounds us and which we so often overlook whether that be the detail of a flower, the timing of an eclipse, or a ladybug on a single blade of grass.”

Ironically, several other photos shot by local residents were singled out as being among the top entries in the contest.

Runner-up was a photograph of a church in Eastern Washington taken by Mark Forbes of Washougal. In addition, a photo taken by Lan Forbes of Washougal at the Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach was a top 10 finalist.

Approximately 4,000 photos were submitted by 350 photographers from around the world. Six judges chose the top 100 photos, plus the top 10 photos in each of four categories — professional, youth, faces and weather.

The general public had one week to vote on the top 10 from the top 100, and then one in each of the four categories. Those were then printed, matted and framed and are now on display at the Oregon Historical Society building.

The 14 photos were auctioned during the gala, with the proceeds benefitting the Outdoor School of Portland.

To view Settlemeyer’s Photo of the Year, and submissions by other winners, visit