Tourism Saskatchewan released the results of their 2023 ExploreSask Photo Contest, and Moose Jaw’s Michael St. Laurent’s photo won in the People & Places category. 

The competition was open for submissions from June through September 15th, and Tourism Saskatchewan received over 4,200 entries for a total of six categories.  

St. Laurent says he’s been an avid lover of nature photography for many years. “Probably about 15 years back or so I decided to pick up a decent camera and found out what I was able to accomplish and just kind of took off from there.” 

The prize-winning photo features horses and a rider at the Roughstock Rodeo School that’s held annually in May at the Moose Jaw Exhibition grounds. 

“I was along the fence line. To start with I was just using my telephoto lens and just kind of getting them as they were coming out of the chute, but then I noticed as the rider would fall off, and the pickup men would try to corral the horse, they’d always run around the outside of the fence right across in front of me. I just got the idea to grab my wide-angle lens and lie down on the ground and just kind of poke through at the bottom of the fence as they ran by.” 

He said that despite appearances based on the angle of the photo, he was not actually underneath the horses. “I was safe from the fence, so they couldn’t hit me - but I was getting pelted by dirt every time they’d go by.” 

St. Laurent was surprised when his photo was chosen as the People & Places category winner, which came with a $500 prize. “Very humbled. Never thought that I’d win, but I definitely appreciate the honour, that’s for sure.” 

He says that he plans on taking plenty of wildlife and storm-chasing photos in the future. 

St. Laurent calls his hobby ‘Flatlanders Photography’. He’s currently selling 2024 calendars that feature his photography for $35 and says you can find more information and more samples of his work by searching him on Facebook.  

You can find a full list of winners and photos on the Tourism Saskatchewan Website

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