Well folks, after over 260 votes in just four days, we have crowned our first EVER Ori Photo Contest winner. Meera Rajagopalan, a Seattle-based adventurer and photographer took top prize this week with her mountain image in the Mt. Baker Wilderness of Washington. Rounding out the podium were New York photographer Guy Olson and Pacific Northwest photo sniper Annah Kim.

We were blown away by the quality of images submitted, and are so excited to be featuring Meera's work in print this fall. Here's a little backstory about our photographer and the shot that will appear in Issue 1 of Ori. Don't have your subscription yet? Make sure to sign up for our limited edition magazine today! Once this first one is gone, it's gone forever.

The Photographer

"I have been shooting for about five years now, more seriously only in the last three after settling into my life in Seattle. It’s funny that I put this photo up for Ori because it’s just about the only time I’ve felt attached to a landscape photo I’ve taken.

Primarily, I like to shoot concerts and portraits because I feel like I can capture a person's energy really well. With mountains, I’ve never been sure that that can be encapsulated. Regardless, it’s been my favorite hobby-turned-side-hustle, combining my two favorite art forms (photography and live music) into something I can do by myself." -- Meera Rajagopalan

The Shot

"Fall has always been my favorite season, and I don’t think any city I’ve lived in has paralleled to Seattle’s colorful mountains this time of year. So, when a sunny September weekend came around, my friend Perri and I scream-sang our way to Mount Baker (Kulshan), my favorite of the stratovolcanoes in Washington, to backpack Ptarmigan Ridge. 

It was our first time spending extended quality time with just each other. Naturally, we spilled our life stories, cackling our way through the red and gold brush. We made friends with other solo backpackers, and she humored all of my ”wait stop, let me take a picture!” musings. It had been a later start than we had originally planned, but we were still rewarded with the most beautiful golden glow as dusk approached. The mountain was looming right in front of us, so close it felt like you could touch it. I remembered how big of a summit bid it had been for me a few years ago and told Perri about the golden sunset we experienced up on Easton Glacier the day before we reached the top. It was the kind of memory that stays seared into your brain, so seeing the mountain up close again brought back all the feels." -- Meera Rajagopalan

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