"I had planned to go out and get some sunflower photos, but the stunning sunset took me by surprise," said Jodi Baker of Neepawa. "Winning this contest is a great honor – there were so many amazing photos!"

Baker's photo, 'Sunflower Sunset' was one of approximately 250 entries for this year's Sunrise Credit Union's 2023 Our Manitoba Photo Contest.

A panel of Sunrise staff selected 30 finalists to be shared via the ourmanitoba.org website with the public, holding the week-long public vote for which photo would win top shot, and which photographer would win the Grand Prize of a $500 One-Year Term Deposit from Sunrise Credit Union. 

(Please note the website featuring the final 30 did not have the photographer's name included so voters did not know just who was looking through the viewfinder when they snapped the shot!)

To bring the selection down to the final 30 photos for a public vote gets more difficult every year, says Sunrise Credit Union VP of Wealth and Marketing, Tayona Johnas. "Oh, my goodness, it gets harder every year because the submissions; there are more in number, but not just more in number but the quality of the pictures, and the content of what they put into the pictures is incredibly interesting.  The experience is fantastic and it's something that we look forward to every year!"

Each of the 13 finalists will have their photo featured on one of the pages of next year's Sunrise Credit Union calendar. All finalists will have their pictures featured on Sunrise's branch TVs and social media channels. They also each receive a canvas print of Baker's prize pic.

"Congratulations to Jodi Baker," shares Johnas. "She submitted an amazing photo of a beautiful sunset over a field of sunflowers!  It just depicts Manitoba and the rural country that is around us that makes this part of our province, and our nation, such a cool place to live!" 

Baker captured the winning photo south of Neepawa in mid-August, this being the first time participating in the Our Manitoba Photo Contest. To take your own stunnning photo, Baker says to ensure you have interesting subject matter. "Use landscape mode [on your camera] and have the highest resolution possible."

2023 marked the 11th edition of the Our Manitoba Photo Contest, growing in popularity each year.  Johnas attributes this growing success to the ease with which the public can take astounding pictures with, yes, their more professional cameras, but also their mobile phones.

"It's easy, because you can take pictures with your phone and the pictures are such high quality now that you can take the picture wherever you see it, which is really cool!  We have such an imaginative and perceptive group of citizens, and remember this contest is open to everybody, not just our members," notes Johnas. 

"So, everyone has the opportunity to participate, and I think just having the thrill of having your picture, even in the final 30 is so cool, and then to be one of the winners is something to look forward to each year, and if you don't make it this year, you get to try again next year!"

The unveiling of the grand prize winner, 'Sunflower Sunset' on Friday (May 12) coincided with Manitoba Day.