Aug 262008
Authors: Trevor Simonton

CSU student Amanda Lease may win a trip for two to Tanzania and Zanzibar, and when she imagines whom she’d want to take, her first thoughts are of her brother.

Late last month, 28-year-old amateur photographer Lease was selected as one of eight finalists in a National Geographic photography contest.

Lease climbed to the top of a rock to photograph her brother, Richard, sleeping in a hammock while on a camping trip in Maui earlier this summer. She was right in thinking the photo would be a good one to submit to the contest.

“We received thousands of entries, but Lease’s picture captures a part of our lives that we all can recognize. That’s what propelled her to the top of the category,” said Jim Richardson, a photographer for National Geographic magazine and one of the contest judges, in a press release.

Winning means not only scoring that trip, but also being published in National Geographic magazine.

The contest is sponsored by Energizer and exists essentially as an effort to “celebrate a new name for Energizer Ultimate new name for Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries,” according to a spokeswoman for the battery company.

Energizer will be placing an ad featuring the contest-winning photograph in the December issue of National Geographic.

Voting for the contest winner ends Thursday.

Lease said that all — especially fellow Rams — are welcome and encouraged to vote at National Geographic’s Web site, at

Currently a graduate student studying ecology in the biology department at CSU, Lease said she has never taken any photography classes, with the exception of a one-time, two-day workshop.

There were more than 8,000 entries in the contest, which was announced in May, and only one finalist was selected by a panel of judges from each of eight categories: adventure and exploration, travel, weather, science, people and cultures, festivals and celebrations, wildlife and nature and space.

Lease, a modestly self-described hobbyist, was selected at the top of the “people and cultures” category.

Lease loves taking pictures because “it’s fun trying to capture emotions on camera,” she said.

“(Nature) can make people more aware of the world.”

Lease has already been awarded prizes for taking the top of her category.

She got free batteries, a shoulder bag, a hi-tech film scanner and the National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Photography.

Always taking pictures, Lease said she occasionally checks online for photography contests like this one.

“My family has been very patient with me,” she said. “I take a lot of pictures of them.”

The winner will be announced September 22, and there is no talking Lease out of choosing her brother for that trip for two if she finds out it’s her.

“I kind of have to take him; I need to pay him back for the photo,” she said.

Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at

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