We are pleased to announce the winners of the Global Rescue “In the Spirit of Adventure” Photo Contest 2013:


1st place: Casa del Arbol, Ecuador, by Monica Mueller

Story Behind The Picture  

While backpacking in South America after graduating college, I started a social enterprise www.ArtfulVenture.com, which is an entire adventure in itself. We were creating a community mural for our nonprofit partners, and decided to take a break to explore more of the town of Baños, Ecuador with our local friends. After a steep, windy drive to the top of the city, we climbed out of the car and sprinted up the hill to greet a herd of cows and the most magical tree house I had ever seen. Surrounded by misty clouds, with a rickety old staircase and creaky swing, we literally felt like we were swinging in heaven. This shot reflects my quest for adventure because through Artful Venture’s online boutique, we aim to change the world.

A Judge’s Perspective:

“This is a well composed and beautifully executed image portraying a tree house, where so many of us begin having our adventures. As children, it is high in the branches of trees we build forts, begin exploration, and imagine overcoming all forces against us. This tree house is a work of art in itself, placed on the left side of the frame, it’s balanced with the fog which creates a sort of blank canvas for the rest of the adventurous life to be lived.”


2nd place: Polar Power, Repulse Bay, Nunavut, by Joe Bunni

Story Behind The Picture…

A shot of a life time that you cannot miss no matter what. I felt confident with this female and she was in no way aggressive. Actually she came incredibly close, the first time putting a paw on the lens and the second time her nose. She was looking at her reflection in the lens like many mammals do!

A great picture can be taken anywhere, even in one’s backyard but when it’s a dangerous situation it obviously adds some spice and adrenalin to the moment, something that I’m always looking for whether it’s a bear, shark, or elephant.

A Judge’s Perspective:

“A fun shot that shows the bear from a totally different perspective. The angles and lines of the water in front of the bear also make this image ‘work.’ 

 N.B. Amazingly, Joe took this shot while swimming in the freezing water, wearing a dry suit!


3rd place: Surfer, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, by John Maher 

 Story Behind The Picture…

This shot was taken in a remote region of the Mentawai Islands, 100 miles off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.  I was in the Mentawais for a month working as a volunteer medic and surf guide for one of the local surf resorts.  Most of the waves in the area break over outer reefs which require a boat to access.  The isolation makes logistics tough, but allows for beautifully clear water.  

This trip occurred while I was transitioning from a professional surfer to a photographer, so with my surfboard, I brought a camera and water housing on the boat everyday with anticipation of capturing unique moments such as this one. 

This image is special to me because it was taken at a very fickle wave.  In fact, I waited the entire month to finally score favorable winds, tides, and swell direction for it to work. Additionally, lucky timing of a set wave breaking, and a surfer riding just close enough to the wall of the wave to be recognizable as he passed by me, all coinciding within a few minutes of the sunset in a rainforest region, is a very fortunate occurrence.

Having the correct camera settings while shooting underwater in low light without strobes or a flash is tricky, so I held my breath until I was able to get the camera out of the housing later that evening to see if the shot was exposed correctly!

Dodging waves breaking over sharp coral reefs in dark water, while volunteering as a medic at one of the most isolated and wild regions surfers have recently begun exploring – that encompasses my spirit of adventure!

A Judge’s Perspective:

“The colors and light in this shot are great. I also always love an image that shows the world from a totally different perspective. It is never easy to shoot great underwater shots like this.”

Thank you to our panel of judges and to all who were inspired to share your spirit of adventure with us!

Enjoy a selection of outstanding “In the Spirit of Adventure” photos here.