Wilmington man wins wildlife photo competition

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A Wilmington man's aerial shot of salt marsh in New Hanover County was the grand prize winner in the Wildlife in North Carolina photo contest.

Kevin Nestvogel, 25, who bested approximately 1,800 entries to win, took the picture with a drone.

"The photo was taken right behind Wrightsville," said Nestvogel. "It's so well-preserved. It's like some remote place."

"I have been droning for about two and a half years. I've never won a photo contest before. I briefly skimmed the [congratulatory] email. My heart started racing and I read it again. I was at the office and I felt like I needed to scream."

Nestvogel is a video producer in the marketing department for Live Oak Bank in Wilmington. He also operates Nested Photography.

"Every year we have many amazing images submitted to the competition," said Wildlife in North Carolina Art Director Marsha Tillett. "The winning photograph for this year grabbed the attention of all the judges. Maybe it was the unique perspective, a look at the world in a different way, or the well-utilized light. But we were all drawn to it. This photograph is dynamic. There is a lot of visual interest in this image but the elements are not competing. It is balanced and well-composed."

According to Nestvogel, he almost didn't even enter the winning picture.

"When I was looking through all of my images, I actually almost didn't chose the aerial drone shot because I didn't know if people were going to figure out what the actual image was," Nestvogel said.

"It's kind of too abstract in a good way, but at the last second, I decided to include it in the entry and I was obviously glad that I did because I think it made the judges look twice and it worked out in my favor," he said.

All of the winning entries will be on display at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh starting Saturday, Feb. 24.

Nestvogel's picture is also featured on the cover of the North Carolina Wildlife Magazine.

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