Amateur photographer Lori Kupsch’s photo is one of 10 images in the travel category of the 17th annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest. (Photo contributed by Lori Kupsch)

Red Deer photographer a Smithsonian contest finalist

Public can vote in Readers Choice Awards

A Red Deer amateur photographer who captured a colourful train whizzing through the winter beauty of the Rocky Mountains is one of 10 finalists in the travel category of the 17th annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest.

Lori Kupsch, a contract accountant, is the only Canadian finalist in a category that attracted more than 48,000 entries.

She was able to snap her photo in about 20 minutes at the popular Morant’s Curve, on the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise, in Banff National Park.

“Some photographers will wait hours for a train to go through in Morant’s Curve,” said Kupsch, who took the photo in December 2018.

She said a longer shutter speed was used to blur the train.

“I think it was the red car that just kind of pops in the photo that makes it a little more different, and a little more eye-catching.”

The Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest has six categories — natural world, people, travel, the American experience, altered images and mobile.

The Smithsonian will choose a grand prize winner and category winners. The public can vote in the Readers Choice Awards at, which includes Kupsch’s photo.

“There’s some amazing photos entered in all categories. To even be considered, is an honour.”

Winners will be announced in the spring.


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Kupsch won the 2019 London Drugs Amateur Photographer of the Year contest with the same photo. That Canadian contest received about 26,000 entries.

“I’ve always been the picture taker, but about 10 years ago, I got my first digital DSLR camera. Once I got it, I wanted to learn how to use it out of auto mode, so I started taking courses and workshops. It’s been a process of about 10 years to get where I am today.”

She said once people get to know the settings on their camera, photography isn’t as hard as they may think.

Wildlife is another favourite subject for Kupsch, particularly owls. Just last week, she was out in the Beiseker area looking for snowy owls that will soon migrate. She also loves bears, which she photographs with “a long lens” from her vehicle.

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