Retiree, Teen Capture Top Honors in Rockwall County Open Space Alliance Photo Contest

Winning photos speak volumes

The Journey Lies Ahead by Kyla McClintock, second place winner in the Youth Division.

(ROCKWALL, TX – August 8, 2019) A man devoting his retirement years to photography and a high school student using her cell phone camera captured the top three awards in their respective category in the first nature photo contest sponsored by the Rockwall County Open Space Alliance.

Fifteen-year-old Kyla McClintock, a resident of Heath, was awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for her artistic photos that included the 2nd Place winner, “The Journey Lies Ahead.”

“I knew the picture would be a good photo to submit because the image struck me as something unique that told a special story. I wanted to share it with others,” she explained.

To capture the amazing photo, Kyla said she had to squat down and hold her cell phone on the ground.

It was sometimes challenging to capture certain shots with her camera, she said, because it isn’t as precise as other hand-held cameras, “but I enjoy using it because it is accessible to me all the time. I am able to capture those special images that I would not be able to otherwise.”

Her other two winning photos also were unique, made more interesting by Kyla’s interpretation of the stories they told. The artistic, multi-talented teen is also a prolific writer, according to her mom, Alma McClintock.

Raymond Testa’s first place winner, The Crested Caracara Falcon.

Raymond Testa, an extremely enthusiastic photographer who lives in High Point Ranch, said he was attracted to the contest mainly due to his belief in the objectives of the Alliance and then by his love of photography. He brings to photography his great love of nature.

“I was extremely pleased and humbled to be on the recipient end of the top three awards for the Adult division of the contest,” he said, adding that it was also an enjoyable experience to meet Allen Weekley, a contest judge and photographer.

Raymond used a Nikon D3200 for his 1st Place photo, The Crested Caracara Falcon; a Nikon D850 for the 2nd Place, The White Tail Dove and for the 3rd Place – The Bald Eagle with Bass Catch.

When discussing photography, Raymond is so joyful and enthusiastic there is no question he is living his dream. He is strongly supported by his wife Mary who encouraged him to upgrade his cameras after he retired.

“Photography has been a passion of mine for my entire life, but not until I retired a few years ago have I been able to devote as much time as I’ve wanted to all of these years,” he said. “I cannot wait to get back out there with nature to capture life’s moments.”

Honorable Mention went to Kathryn Klepak for Snowy Range Alpaca Farm.

A panel of three professional photographers judged contest entries that didn’t identify the photographer. Twenty-one photos were submitted – 12 of those in the Youth category.

Nell Welborn, president of the Alliance – and a photographer – said she was pleased with the number of contest entrants.

“We expect that number to grow each year as word gets out about the competition and the work of the Alliance,” she said. “There are so many talented photographers in Rockwall, I believe our contest will become a major event in a few years.”

The objectives of the Rockwall County Open Space Alliance include stormwater management and green infrastructure; identification for a major preserve/public amenity; and identification of corridors for county-wide open space connection.

For more information or to be an Alliance volunteer, please go to

Submitted press release by RCOSA. 

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