UACES Facebook Arkansas animals, nature captured by 4-H photographers in photo contest
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April 27, 2022

Arkansas animals, nature captured by 4-H photographers in photo contest

By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • 4-H members snap Arkansas scenes and subjects for photo contest
  • Arabella Edrington, 10, of Benton County wins Best in Show
  • Winning photographs available in UADA Flickr album
  • Contest named in honor of the late Jane Ross, philanthropist and photographer

(501 words)

(Newsrooms: With art at

LITTLE ROCK — At first glance, 10-year-old Arabella Edrington’s photo appears as a splash of water on a wood plank. A closer look reveals contrasting textures and tones that draw the viewer into a landscape within the water, where light and shadow showcase towering bare tree branches against the sky.

collage of winning photo entries
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS — Arkansas 4-H members submitted more than 300 photos in this year's Ross Photography Contest. (Division of Agriculture graphic.)

For her efforts, the Benton County 4-H member’s black and white photo earned Best in Show in the 2022 Ross Photography Contest, a competition that drew more than 300 photographers. Sponsored by Arkansas 4-H, the contest asked 4-H members to submit black and white or color photos of living or non-living subjects in Arkansas. Forty counties participated this year, and of the 316 photographers who entered, 156 were new participants.

Other category winners entered close-ups of pets and farm animals, and non-living subjects included flowers, fungi and vistas of wide-open spaces. (For the purpose of the contest, “living subjects” were limited to people and animals.)

One judge appreciated Edrington’s effort to capture something much more than a snapshot.

“I liked the creativity of the composition; it was something you don't see all the time,” the judge said. “It took some work and a creative eye to get that photo. It wasn't readily available, and I liked that some thought went into it."

Kerry Rodtnick, extension photographer and videographer for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, coordinates the annual competition. He said he was excited by the number of new entrants.

“We had a lot of photographers entering images for the first time this year,” Rodtnick said. “That shows growth within the photography project area. It's exciting to see these kids out creating imagery they can be proud of."

Rodtnick said the contest’s theme was intentionally broad to encourage participants’ unique perspectives.

“Our contest theme is purposefully wide open. The entries embrace many forms of inspiration,” Rodtnick said. “Their photos are across such a wide spectrum of visual interest that judging can be difficult. Each year, the talent level gets deeper as more photographers turn in great entries.  We hope that they all continue to refine their craft to push their abilities to new peaks.”

At the state level, prizes were awarded in four categories to the first-, second- and third-place winners. The Best in Show winner was selected among the category winners. Winning photographs can be viewed in the UADA Flickr album.

This year’s Ross Photography Contest winners are:

Color Living

1st – Ridge Whitley, Logan County

2nd – Braxton Strecker, Perry County

3rd – Elijah Keller, Saline County

Black and White Living

1st – Payten Hendricks, Pope County

2nd – Kacie Clark, Faulkner County

3rd – Catherine Zeunges, Washington County

Black and White Non-Living

1st – Arabella Edrington, Benton County

2nd – Kailynn Garis, Conway County

3rd – Caden Strecker, Perry County

Color Non-Living

1st – Landon McCorkle, Sebastian County

2nd – William DeSalvo, Conway County

3rd – Caden Strecker, Perry County

Best in Show

Arabella Edrington, Benton County

The Arkansas 4-H youth development program is operated by the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the Division of Agriculture.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact:

Rebekah Hall