A Picture Perfect Night, photograph by Steven Bunt, third-place winner.

We are pleased to present the winners of the 20th Annual New Mexico Magazine Photography Contest in the Enchanted Adventures category. The winning images reflect the wonder and beauty in the land, people, and experiences all around us.

With some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, New Mexico almost implores you to get outdoors. Among those spots that call out to us? Our 34 state parks and their rivers, cliffs, wildflowers, starry skies, hiking trails, majestic lakes, and historic places. Every year, New Mexico Magazine partners with New Mexico State Parks to spotlight these family-friendly treasures in this category. One of our shared goals is to motivate readers to explore all they have to offer. And as you’re planning that next adventure, don’t forget to pack a camera.

Marina Lights on Elephant Butte, Photograph by David Turning, New Mexico Magazine

1st Place:

Marina Lights on Elephant Butte, David Turning 

Las Cruces photographer David Turning captures a moment of calm in his winning image of Elephant Butte Lake State Park. "Originally, I had gone there to take pictures of the Neowise comet, but as night wore on, the skies began to fill with clouds making that shot impossible," says Turning. "However, I did notice that the marina lights were lighting everything up around me including the butte, so I composed this shot and captured it before the skies completely clouded over."          

Ancient Pools, Santa Rosa Lake State Park, Photograph by Timothy Baca, New Mexico Magazine

2nd Place:

Ancient Pools, Timothy BacaSanta Rosa Lake State Park

Photographer Timothy Baca of Santa Rosa photographed these pools just before sunset. "A place I travel to often, if you consider a 7-mile-drive traveling! This particular composition has drawn me to it many times," says Baca. "On this day, my father and I made the quick trip out. Luckily the stars aligned and this amazing sunset unfolded before our eyes." 

A Picture Perfect Night, City of Rocks State Park, Photograph by Steven Bunt, New Mexico Magazine

3rd Place:

A Picture Perfect Night, Steven Bunt, City of Rocks State Park 

Alamagordo photographer Steven Bunt captures the magic of a shooting star flying over the City of Rocks State Park while campers look on. "I was sitting in my truck with my cousin about to leave the park when the quaint campers and their campfire across the way caught my eye," says Bunt. "I dug my camera and tripod out again after having just packed it away. It was a crystal clear, cold winter evening and right as my shutter opened for the 13 second exposure, a shooting star streaked through the sky. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to capture it."   

Fuzzy Wuzzy, Living Desert State Park, Photograph by Gerald Guss, New Mexico Magazine

Honorable Mention:

Fuzzy Wuzzy, Gerald Guss, Living Desert State Park 

Photographer Gerald Guss of Las Cruces contemplates what makes Living Desert State Park so special. "Why submit a bear in the State Parks category instead of Animals? You might have never traveled to the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad," says Guss. "This lovely park complements Carlsbad Caverns like a PBJ and is a must do whenever visiting Carlsbad. This fluffy adorable bear definitely captured a piece of my heart!" 

Unhidden Point, Santa Rosa Lake State Park, Photograph by Timothy Baca, New Mexico Magazine

Honorable Mention:

Unhidden Point, Timothy BacaSanta Rosa Lake State Park 

Santa Rosa photographer Timothy Baca captured another enchanting image of Santa Rosa Lake State Park—Unhidden Point. This eastern New Mexico reservoir offers fishing, boating, camping, hiking, bird watching, and excellent opportunities for capturing the magic of the park through photography.  

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PRIZES

  • 1st place: Annual day-use passes for four people

  • 2nd place: Annual day-use passes for three people

  • 3rd place: Annual day-use passes for two people

  • Honorable Mention: One annual day-use pass

Read More: Presenting the winners of the 19th annual New Mexico Magazine Photography Contest, for the New Mexico enchanted adventures category.

Read More: Safeguarding hidden treasures—both inanimate and living—in Rockhound State Park.