Florence Chamber names 2019 photo contest winner

Photo by Dana Vion

“Kiteboarder at the South Jetty” by Dana Vion won the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual photo contest.

Feb. 25, 2020 — The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce announced this week that Dana Vion from Springfield is the winner of its 2019 photo contest.

“Dana’s action shot of a kiteboarder at the South Jetty of the Siuslaw River reflects the true spirit and beautiful scenery of Florence as Oregon’s Coastal Playground,” said Bettina Hannigan, the chamber’s executive director. “Her photo really captured a fun ‘playground’ moment and expresses how great Florence is for outdoor fun.”

Vion works as a professional photographer, freelances for area publications such as Eugene Magazine, and does photographic and video work for Eugene-area advertising and public relations agencies and non-profits. She entered the chamber’s contest so that she could get more of her work known locally. 

“We were with our dog out on the South Jetty on a windy day. I had my camera and tripod with me and I was exploring how to frame humans in the vastness of landscape photography,” said Vion.

She had the unusual perspective of being beyond the breakers and looking back toward the beach when she snapped the winning photo.

A panel of chamber members selected Vion’s photo from nearly 150 entries.

According to Hannigan, the contest was difficult to choose this year due to the amount of interest.

 “It was a very close decision, made all the more difficult by the fact that we received scores of outstanding amateur and professional photos,” she said. “Each shows different aspects of the best of our area’s scenery, iconic buildings and natural wonders, and with families having fun in and around Florence. You can really see why we call this place Oregon’s Coastal Playground.” 

For Vion, she said she loves telling stories through the lens of a camera: stories of the natural world, conservation issues and human and animal welfare. She has been to Africa seven times for photography and video and as a zoology graduate student, documenting human and animal struggles as well as working at a chimpanzee rescue center. Vion has also traveled to Borneo to study and photograph wildlife there, including endangered orangutans.

“I am at home where the forest meets the ocean, that is my natural habitat, and the Florence area is one of my favorite places,” she said. “I always try to have my camera and am chasing beauty wherever I go.”

Vion was awarded a $250 cash prize and her photo will be featured in the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce’s resource guide and other printed marketing pieces, at florencechamber.com and in social media.

Each year for the last three years, the Florence chamber has held a contest looking for the best amateur or professional photos to represent its slogan as Oregon’s Coastal Playground. 

“Dana’s, and dozens of other excellent scenic photos, are also available to chamber members to use in their marketing,” added Hannigan. “They’ve been watermarked with the Chamber’s ‘Oregon’s Coastal Playground’ slogan to help protect copyright infringement.”

Entrants granted the chamber and its members exclusive rights to use their photos for all manner of marketing the area for its rich recreational resources.

“Our chamber works hard for its members and the City of Florence to boost our economy by inviting visitors to vacation here, and, if they like it, to move their businesses and families here too,” Hannigan said. “Florence is such a fun destination.”

For more information about vacationing in, moving to or establishing a business in Florence — or volunteering at the Chamber’s visitor center — visit FlorenceChamber.com, call 541-997-3128 or e-mail [email protected]