John Curran | Feb 17, 2021

In an effort to connect its membership during the colder months and help give everyone something to think about other than COVID, the Buck Lake Association recently held its first ever Say Cheese End-of-Year Photo Contest.

With honours and a Tim Hortons gift card up for grabs in 25 categories the interest was high among residents and cottagers, alike. All told, more than 30 photographers submitted 181 images for judging.

“We were thrilled with the response from the membership to this first-time event,” said Cathy Ottenhof, co-lead of the BLA Community Outreach & Social Committee, which co-ordinated the fun-for-all-ages event. “Especially this year with COVID-19, any chance you get to focus your mind on fun things, like Buck Lake, is a welcome distraction.”

While some categories were certainly more competitive than others, over all the response from the membership was tremendous. In the Fauna category, for example, a total of 48 photos were entered.

When all the judging wrapped up, however, Dorene Hookey’s shot of her family’s wheaten terrier, Piper, was tapped as the Photo of the Year for 2020. The Association has featured the shot on the cover of its February newsletter, which you can see along with all of the other individual category champs, by visiting

“It was hard picking winners in some of the divisions,” said Ria Berry, the other committee co-lead. “Like any artform, photographs can be very subjective, and what appeals to one person, may not strike the same chord with another. Fortunately, we work very well as a committee, so we were able to employ a consensus-based judging system that seemed to work quite well.”

The response from the members online has been very appreciative for the Association’s efforts both with the contest and the new look of its newsletter.

“Just took a look – what beautiful pictures!” wrote Peggy Blair. “Well done, everyone.”

Liz Whelpdale agreed and added she enjoyed the diversity resulting from having so many categories.

“Terrific photos with so many aspects of Buck Lake portrayed,” she said in the Association’s Facebook group. “Love them all!”

The full list of categories and winners included: A Dog’s Life, Dorene Hookey; Be a Sport, Jugjit More-Curran; Buck Lake Rocks, Ric Mattingley; Campfires, Doreen Hookey; Cruisin’, Susan Curran; Cute as a Bug, Dorene Hookey; Decked Out, Natasha Miklaucic; Fauna, Dan Wainman; Fishing, David Smith; Flora, Dan Wainman; Fun on a Rope, Barb Gillis; Green Thumbs, Bruce McDonald; God Bless America, Dawn Gagnon; Gun Powder & Gasoline, Jugjit More-Curran; Hiking, Andrea MacLean; If I had a Hammer, Doreen Hookey; My Paddle's Clean & Bright, Jenn Campbell; Swimming, Ian MacMillan; The Sky, Doug Roughton; Underwater, Jugjit More-Curran; Water, Cyndy MacIntyre; Winter Wonderland, Kim Turner; Youth 12 & over, Liam Hookey; Youth 9-11, Claire Youngman; and, Youth 8 & under, Emily Youngman.

“Wow... lovely photos. So many talented people on the lake,” commented Anna Fummerton. “Thanks for sharing!”

For those who didn’t get their entries in this time around, not to worry, it sounds as though the contest will run again at the end of 2021.

“Overall, I think everyone was extremely pleased with the way things went and we’ll likely look to do this event again in the future,” added Berry. “We may juggle the categories around a little, but it’s clear we have some extremely talented photographers here on Buck Lake and we’re just happy to help give them a venue to share and showcase their work.”

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