Kevin Fruechting of Marion is always looking for the next good shot of landscapes and wildlife as he roams the outdoors with his camera, so it’s not surprising one slipped his mind.
“I forgot I sent that off a long time ago,” he said of a turkey photo that last week took second place in Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism’s annual Wild About Kansas contest.
“I had not heard of it at all; this is a total surprise,” he said.
A Fruechting landscape shot also is featured on the department’s webpage announcing the adult and youth winners in five categories. Fruechting’s award was for wildlife.
KDWPT assistant chief of information production Nadia Reimer said competition was stiff among the 213 entries from 113 photographers.
“I would say it was better than it has been in the past,” she said. “Last year was the first year we opened it up to adults. It’s our fourth year; it’s steadily growing.”
Fruechting’s awarded entry, “Twin Toms,” was a collaborative effort with friend Bill Shirley.
“I told him if he wanted to humor me, take me turkey hunting with my camera,” Fruechting said. “He called me and said, ‘Hey, do you want to go out after work today?’ He was nice enough to work those calls and bring those turkeys in.”
Fruechting’s initial foray into photography got a boost from a former Aulne United Methodist Church pastor.
“Several years ago when I started doing more and more photography, Moon-Hee Chung encournaged me one day,” he said. “She is very artistic and very learned. She has a masters in art. She said, ‘You have an eye of photography; you see things through your camera lens that other people don’t see.’”
Since then, Fruechting’s gear collection and outdoor explorations for photo opportunities have expanded, and his wife, Lori, is often along for the ride.
“I carry my camera pretty much everywhere with me,” he said. “We’re taking detours and being late for something because we have to take one more picture. It drives Lori crazy. She loves a spectacular scene as much as I do. She puts up with me.”
Kansas Bankers Association has chosen the Marion banker’s photos for its annual calendar four consecutive years, including this year’s grand prize winner, but the KDWPT contest is the first general-entry contest Fruechting has tried.
“I haven’t really submitted much because I don’t feel like I’m on the same level as some of the other photographers,” he said.
Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine will feature contest photos in its January/February issue, Reimer said.
Kristin Vinduska of Lincolnville also will have a picture in the magazine. She was awarded honorable mention in hunting and fishing for a photo titled “Retirement Plan.”
The magazine, which is available in print only, can be ordered by calling (620) 672-0756, or online at ksoutdoors.com.