Knop, Ranney sweep photo competition

Photo of defecating bird wins first place in ‘2020’ category

“Ice Surfing,” which netted Wendy Ranney first prize in the “Cordova” category of the 2021 Iceworm Festival photo show. Photo courtesy of Wendy Ranney/@orcaadventress

Self-described novice photographer Wendy Ranney swept this year’s Iceworm Festival photo competition, winning first place in four out of six categories. Though Ranney always enters every category in the annual competition, her success this year came as a surprise, she said.

“I was completely blown away!” Ranney remarked. “That was unprecedented for me.”

Vivian Knop, Cordova Community Medical Center materials manager and recently named Cordova Citizen of the Year, took best in show with a photo of sunbeams bursting through a glacial ice formation. Ranney’s winning entries included a photo of music teacher Chelsea Corrao conducting a concert at the Mt. Eyak ski hill, a photo of Ranney’s stepson Kris “surfing” a wave of ice at Sheridan glacier, and a photo of a cormorant bird defecating toward the camera. The latter photo, straightforwardly titled “Cormorant Crap” took first place in the “2020” category.

“I thought, if we’re going to have a ‘2020’ category, the best bet for me would be to go with humor,” Ranney said. “As people would come out of the museum after looking at the photo show, especially people that know me very well… people would stop and say, ‘That bird crapping photo has got to be yours!’”

Ranney said she hoped more photographers would enter the Iceworm Festival photo competition in coming years. Most entries in the competition come from a small group of photographers, she said.

“Whether you’re taking a photo with a cell phone… or you’re taking it with a regular camera, you just have to put it out there,” Ranney said. “Don’t be afraid to put it out there!”

Ranney is also owner of the Orca Adventure Lodge. She can be found on Instagram at @orcaadventress.