MILTON — Main Street Milton is taking part in the Florida Main Street Photo Contest. Images selected at the state level will be displayed at the July 30 Florida Main Street Annual Conference and on Florida Main Street’s social media sites.

Main Street has completed its photo contest and the winners have been announced.  Out of 11 photographers who submitted 103 images, the top three selected were Jamie Amos, Kevin Yetman, and Hillary Clarke.

What inspired you to take the pictures?
Yetman: I did it during the arts festival. Before this I come down here probably ten times trying to get [a picture of] that bridge open. I got plenty of pictures of it closed but I wanted to get one of it open. It just happened to be open on that day during the arts festival, so I got my drone up to get a picture of the [river] and the bridge opened up, it look like a cool shot.

Clarke: I thought that the river should be included in at least several of the pictures because I feel like it is such a main part of downtown Milton. So I actually went across the river to the other side of Milton and used a wide angle  to capture as much of it as I can with the blue skies and cloud coverage.

Amos: I love fog. So when it’s foggy out nothing is better to me because it has more of an impact to the historical area. It gives it a mood. So when I saw that it was foggy out, I headed to downtown.

Is photography a hobby or a career of yours?
Yetman: It was a hobby. It’s now a career. I’m an aerospace engineer, so I got into drones with my aerospace degree and then I decided to see what I could get into with drones in real estate photography.  

Clarke: It’s a hobby. I do mostly landscape.  

Amos: It’s a career. I have my own business.

How did you react when you were informed that you had won the competition?
Yetman: Honestly, the first thing I thought was that I should have edited that more. Then I thought, "Oh yeah, that is really cool—really excited."

Clarke: It makes you feel good that something you worked hard at, that try to capture something that people look at that see quality pictures will appreciate. It just makes you feel good.

Amos: (There was) lots of screaming and dancing, maybe some fist pumps. I had a list of goals and and that was at the top of my list—to win a competition where I would feel like I’m finally getting somewhere with my photography, and I achieved that goal halfway through the year.   

What advice could you give to any young photographers who might want to take this on as a hobby or career?
Yetman: I use a drone. You have to be licensed, of course; there is a lot of liability there.  If you crash it, you have to be insured. You have to be licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration. There’s a test you have to take. It’s a pretty difficult test. I found it a little more difficult and I’m in the industry. You have to fly in certain areas.  

Clarke: I would say take as many pictures as you can, especially with landscape photography. Like with [my] picture in my opinion the clouds do everything in that picture. I took a picture that was a lot like that picture but it was kind of stormy looking. So even if you take 500 pictures, you may have four that turn out.
Amos: Learn how to use your camera. You don’t have to have the most expensive camera to take the best pictures. You need to learn how to use any camera you have to take the best pictures with what you have.

The Main Street photo competition began in June when the call went out for votes. Community voting took place July 3 through the 6 through Main Street Facebook page.

Main Street’s executive director Ed Spears said the three winning photographs have been submitted to the Florida Main Street Photo Contest.

The top three photos, one per community, will be on display for the duration of the conference. Winners will also be featured on Florida Main Street Website, brochure, Facebook, and Instagram.

“We are looking to make the [Milton] photo contest an annual event,” Spiers said. “We had a very positive response to it this time.”

The other photographers who submitted photos were Jim Berry, Hillary Clarke, Morgan Givens, T. J. Hodgens, Leslie Lacoy, Richard Rotton, Andrea Sutrick, Cameron Swafford, and Kelsey White.