So far this year, 4.9 million people have walked through the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. While this massive number has viewed flora and fauna from all over the world, starting in September, the crowds will see Los Alamos represented on the museum’s walls.
Phillip Noll during a photo shoot. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Photographer Phillip Noll of Raven Images earned honorable mention in the Wilderness50 photography contest. As a result, his photograph will be displayed along with 63 other pieces in the museum’s “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places.” The exhibit, which opens Sept. 3 and will run through the next six months, marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Noll’s photograph is of Mt. Sneffels located in the San Juan mountain range in Colorado.
More than 5,000 entries were submitted to the contest and Noll’s placed in the top 100. Noll said he was very pleased to receive the opportunity to have his work displayed at the Smithsonian.
“I’m super excited. How many people go through the Smithsonian every day? It’s really quite an honor,” he said.
Unfortunately, Noll said he will not be able to attend the opening due to other commitments. He said he became aware of the contest through contacts and the Nature’s Best Photography magazine. Noll said he just thought, “What the heck,” and decided to give the contest a shot.
Noll explained he selected the photograph of Mt. Sneffels for his entry to the contest because “the area itself is just incredibly beautiful.”
It had been raining while he was hiking up the mountain and when the rain stopped, the sun began to shine and a rainbow appeared. “[There’s] so much in one photo, I just thought I had to enter this one,” he said.
This is not the first recognition Noll has received for his work. In 2013, his work earned “highly honored” in the Windland Smith Rice Competition, which Nature’s Best Photography holds annually. This year, one of his photographs was selected as a semi-finalist in the same contest.
Nature and photography have been life-long interests for Noll.
“I just always wanted to be out in the woods. It’s just something that appeals to me. Being out in the middle of nowhere is comforting. You feel a part of something much larger than yourself,” he said.
Noll took up photography at an early age, but became serious about the art in 2000, he said. When he was growing up, his family would always take vacations to national parks. Noll said he always loved to watch the rangers’ slideshow presentations. They inspired him to take his own photographs.
Locally, Noll said he likes to shoot up around the East Fork River as well as Bandelier National Monument, around the rim of White Rock Canyon and Anderson Overlook.
“The views are just incredible,” he said.