Jane Johns of Carson City said she got into photography as a form of self-defense. Before she discovered the joy of being behind the lens, she helped her husband set up and take pictures.
"Before I got into it, it was, 'Hold the camera, get me the tripod, I need another role of film.' Then I went, 'Wait a minute, show me how to work your camera,'" Johns said. "He hasn't gotten it back since."
That was more than 30 years ago, and Johns' life since has been viewed through a lens. She has won several awards for her photography, and recently added another for an image captured almost by accident.
"We were out photographing the eagles, and I saw this hawk sitting on a bunch of wreckage. I figured I could enlarge the photo to be just the hawk," she said.
Then her husband, Stephen, noticed a contest put on by Scenic Nevada, a nonprofit environmental organization, looking for photos typifying beauty and blight.
"Our goal is to bring awareness to the scenic value of the state," Scenic Nevada President Lori Wray said. "To photograph something statewide that the photographer finds beautiful or blighted."
The 2006 Beauty or Blight Contest was open to adults and students. From the 355 entries, the grand-prize winner for the beauty category was Terry Cynar of Reno. Katherine Grabor, a senior at McQueen High School in Reno, was the grand-prize winner in the blight category.
Looking through her photos, Johns came across the hawk perched on twisted metal, and it seemed to fit. So she entered the shot and took second place.
"I'm surprised and glad that it did so well," she said.
Wray said she hopes the photos will inspire people to help preserve the beauty of the state and prevent the spread of trash and waste.
"If you look through a camera lens at something blighted, it makes you think about how much of that you will take," Wray said.
William Bauer of Carson City received an honorable mention in the Beauty category.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
On the Net
See the winning photos from the 2006 Beauty or Blight Contest sponsored by Scenic Nevada: