Category Archives: Contests

Contests sponsored by Crystal Life – announcements and winners

2016 Nature Spirit Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our seventh annual Nature Spirit Photo Contest! Winner and finalist photos will be on display at Crystal Life from October 8 – 31. Shown here are the top three winners. Visit our Public Submissions Photo Gallery to see the photos of the three winners, three finalists and three semi-finalists in this year’s contest.

Thanks to all who shared your images with us, we greatly enjoyed the different energies captured around the world!Gnome in Tree - Laura Walthers

1st Place -Gnome in Redwood Tree by Laura Walthers

Laura was hiking with family members in Oregon when she felt a distinct energy. She spied a redwood tree and knew that the energy was coming from the tree so she set off to explore! This is when she discovered the gnome in the redwood tree. She felt a distinct feeling of love from this forest friend.

To learn more about Laura’s adventures with nature spirits visit her website, Being Enchanted.

2 - Redwood Spirit - J Michuda

2nd Place – Redwood Spirit by James & Eli Michuda

James (Dad) and Eli (Son) were on a holiday walk in the Redwood National Forest, near Berry Glenn, California, when they began looking for, and photographing with their cell phones, the different spirit images they were finding in these majestic trees. Here’s one of their favorites; we’ve combined their side and front photos into one collage.

The Norseman close up

3rd Place – The Norseman by Bob Hanczar

Bob’s photo was recently featured in Atala’s blog, From Our Friends. This photo was actually taken a some years back at a class Atala gave at a local forest preserve in 2013.

Bob writes about his image: “I call him the “Norseman” because he looks like what I depict as a man of centuries ago from the Scandinavian area, notably, Norwegian. He has a frown on his face,
a beard under that frown, long/large nose, squinting/beady eyes, hair coming down the side
of his face on the left side from under a helmet atop his head that has two “horns” on top.”

Bob still goes to visit this nature spirit and has conversations with him.


And…we have now begun the photo collecting for next year’s contest. Everything shared from October 1 on has the possibility of being blogged about, and is automatically entered into the 2017 contest.

2015 Nature Spirit Photo Contest Winners

Our Photo Contest blog is hands down our most popular blog of the year. Here are these images as an encore for your enjoyment. We’ll return to writing new blogs in 2016.


Congratulations to the winners of Crystal Life’s 2015 Nature Spirit Photo Contest! Here are their images. You can also see these online in our website’s Public Submission Gallery. The photos of the three winners and two finalists will be on display at our Geneva store throughout October.

1 -Dean-Thompson-Guardian

First Place – Dean Thompson, The Guardian – “The Guardian was minding to his mystical mushrooms when I took this photo. He was discovered in a park near Oregon, IL. We had made a quick stop since in the small parking area and had I not walked to the other-side of this tree I would of never had found him…or did he find me?”


2 - Brenda-Bimo-Bear

Second Place – Brenda Bimo, The Bear – Some friends Brenda met at a local Park!

3 - Joy-Fernandez-Greenman

Third Place Tie – Joy Fernandez de la Reguera, Greenman – “This figure stands at the entrance to one of my favorite forests where I frequently visit with my dog”

3 -Krystal-Fairy-Falls

Third Place Tie – Krystal, Fairy Falls – “I have been working with the Fairies and asked them to take me to a beautiful place in nature. They guided me to a place in the blue mountains called Fairy Falls! I was alone and phoned my partner to tell him where I was and he asked me to take a photo of the waterfall. This amazing fairy nature spirit appeared to affirm my trust in the guidance of the fairy realm!” (Note from judges: we count at least four nature spirits in this photo – how many do you see?)


There were two finalists (shown alphabetically):

4 -Linda-Arigi-The Wise Ones Remain

Finalist -Linda-Arigi-The Wise Ones Remain

4 - Veronica-Montinola-Heart

Finalist – Veronica-Montinola-Heart


And Seven Honorable Mentions (shown alphabetically)

Kelly Halverson, Squeeling Pig – Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, WI

5 – Kelly Halverson, Squeeling Pig – Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, WI

6 -Kelly-Halverson-Lady of the Lake

6 -Kelly-Halverson-Lady of the Lake


8 - Julie-Lovejoy-orb

8 – Julie-Lovejoy-orb – “My aged auntie was missing her husband who’d passed away. She began talking about him on Christmas Eve, and I took this photo of her hands and wedding ring. Dec 2007, Ojai, CA.”






"A troll guarding the entrance to the Ojai Valley in California. Summer 2014, Ojai, CA"

7 – Julie Lovejoy-Ojai “A troll guarding the entrance to the Ojai Valley in California. Summer 2014, Ojai, CA”














9 - Conrad-Reeder-Hartsook Crop Man Profile

9 – Conrad-Reeder-Hartsook Crop Man Profile


10 - Karen-Wilkin-Spider-on-Orb

10 – Karen Wilkin, Spider on Orb – Karen has many photos of orbs and many photos of energetic spiders. Here the two lifeforms intersect with each other!


11 - Krystal - Fairy Face

11 – Krystal, Pixie at the Falls – “In the cave behind the Fair Falls I discovered this interdimentional nature spirit peeking out from the orb. I immediately thought to myself what a cute elf and he replied a little defiantly, “I’m not an elf, I’m a pixie!”. He is so sweet and very shy. I often go into nature and pick up rubbish for the nature spirits who love this and often leave me presents!” (We blew up the orb face and inset the scene)

2014 Nature Spirit Photo Contest Winners

This year many of our participants were connecting with tree and rock life forms.  Our winners and finalists have photographed a diverse range of nature spirit energy. From the energy of Mary to a resting giant, there is much to see and appreciate. Our photo contest for 2014 had over 350 images submitted! Thank you to everyone who submitted their images! We truly enjoyed viewing the different, and similar, nature spirits from around the world!

All photo submitters to the From Our Friends Blog from last year to this were included in the contest, and some of our winners and finalists are those whose images appeared earlier. Going forward, we will post in our blog, on occasion, some of the very fine submissions we received but who didn’t make the final cut!

First Place –  Mary Grid by Iny Weese, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1-Mary Grid by Iny Weese

Iny felt a sense of urgency to come to this nature spot. She states, “There was a sense of urgency in wanting to be there ‘yesterday’ which for me usually means something special will happen. There was a tree on the point that reached out to touch me (no other way to describe it), and I was invited to touch; the power and energy in the spot was amazing and for unknown reasons there were tears rolling down my cheeks. There was some sadness and joy. I am not gifted enough to know what was being transmitted.”

What Iny captured on her excursion was an energy portal releasing feminine energy on the earth’s surface. These magenta portals are slowly activating around the globe. It is the reappearance of the feminine in all her power, glory and force, for the good of the earth. Some people call these Mary grids; others goddess grids, it is the same force that is showing.


Second Place – Totem Time/Space Warp by Farheen Dogar, Orland Park, Illinois. Submitted by Lynette Dubovnick, Geneva, Illinois

2-Totem Pole with Lynette Dubovnik

As a child, Lynette had always felt a special kinship to the totem displays at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Her connection continues to this day, with this photo showing just how deeply her energy connects to the totem. We loved how this image lined up with the different totems to the left.

Lynette tells us, “My friends would have to practically pull me away from the exhibit on field trips.  As an adult that interest never ceased. Prior to visiting the Pacific Northwest room I visited the New Zealand room, and was touching a spirit stone from the rivers of New Zealand. My friends and I remarked how we could sense the energy of the stone from a few feet away. We then stopped at the altar display, we took a photo and this is what appeared.”



Third Place – Sleeping Giant by Melissa Stephens, St. Charles, Illinois

3-Sleeping Giant - Melissa StephensMelissa sends us this image of a giant rock spirit energy, taken on a trip to Wisconsin.  This gentle giant’s pleasant energy is quite pleasing.

Melissa tells us, “I was on a camping trip with my roommates up in WI.  We had just left a waterfall and continued down the trail. I said a quick prayer and asked any nature spirit that wanted to show themself to me to please do so and instantly I saw this beautiful creature. There he was looking over a huge gully. Almost like he was making sure all the other nature spirits stayed in line. Lol! He was very calming, and I felt a lot of protective energies. He has been there for hundreds of years. Used to look over the Indian tribe that lived in that area. He’s very proud of what he does and loves being a protector. The rest of the camping trip I felt a very calming sensation.  Like everything is going to be ok. He has a huge shield around the national park he lives in. Such an incredible nature spirit he is!” Govern Dodge State Park in Wisconsin on the Stephen’s Falls trail.



Salvador Navarro, USA – Unicorn, Yoda, Troll, Ewok?

Collage - Salvador NavarroSalvador has quite a gift for capturing nature spirit images, and is a frequent contributor to our From Our Friends blog.

Salvador tells us: “When I got up close to take pictures, I noticed the most exquisite face inside the unicorn head resting on its side. It looked so real I was anticipating its eyes to open and its mouth to start moving.”

As so often happens with nature spirit images, different people see different things. Which personality do you see most clearly?




Dean Thompson, USA – Barkigator

Gator - Dean ThompsonDean took this image at a cemetery in Illinois. We love how realistic this gator is, and why has it manifested in Illinois?

Here is what Dean had to share about his photo experience.  “I went on a photo run, as I like to call it, on St. Patrick’s day. I went to a local cemetery and started walking around. Now if St. Patrick was credited for driving out the snakes in Ireland, who was responsible for this guy? Nature’s way of scaring somebody at first, but this harmless creature was just as beautiful off the tree.”


 Mike McGuigan, USA – Great Ape


Great Ape - Mike McGuiganMike took this photo when visiting a remote park in Wisconsin. He shared this story with us.

“My wife and I camped there with our dogs for 4 nights last fall.  We went for a nice, leisurely hike around the entire island, roughly 5 miles.  The last mile or so, was a lush, Westward facing, heavily wooded area, up on a bluff, overlooking where Green Bay and Lake Michigan meet.  There were several nature spirits embedded in these trees, but the Ape caught my attention the most, because of it’s size and vivid definition.  This, as well as the other nearby spirits, were extremely peaceful and welcoming, especially to us that are “open”  I could not take my eyes off of this one, and it was very clear that it wanted to be photographed.”

Fern Balaun, USA – Happy Rock

Happy Rock - Fern BalaunFern submitted several images of the same rock, taken over the years. The sequence demonstrates the evolution she went through in connecting to the rock energy. The early years, she saw an angel. Then, Fern tells us: “One day about 2 years ago when I walked on this trail, the image was very different. The head and wings were no longer there and I noticed for the first time, the smiling face on the surface of the formation.”

To read the full story we invite you to read the From Our Friends blog in which this story was told.


 Joy Fernandez, USA – Rock Spirit

Rock Being - Joy VestWhen Joy was on a trip to Chile, she came across this rock spirit. She tells us;

“I am back from my trip to Chile … I visited 2 of the oldest Vineyards in Santiago – the Concha y Toro Winery and the Cousino Macul winery.  I am SO in tune now to the peace that comes along with just wandering down the tree-lined roads … it’s such a beautiful experience.  It’s also SO fun to be able to spot the wonderful tree and rock spirits as we go along … almost like searching for hidden treasure. ”


Muir Woods, USA – Joy Fernandez

Muir Woods - Joy Vest

Joy shares some thoughts on photographing a Redwoods Greenman.

“I had never been to Muir Woods, but I knew, based on Atala’s advice at her annual nature spirit trips, that remaining open to all entities was the best way to experience the magnificence and grandeur of the forest. As I walked along in the silent peace of the tranquil paths, just trying to soak up the beauty and history of the incredible trees, it was impossible not to notice, and focus on certain incredible forms along the way. The entire experience was completely surreal.”


Elfe Baumwesen, Switzerland – Profile

Profile - Elfe BaumwesenElfe writes:

In January 2002 I heard a voice which said loudly, “Go photograph the face of trees.” Immediately, I took my camera in hand, and went to the park. The exciting discovery of a parallel world living with us had begun. The season in which the trees were free from leaves was just right – the surface of the bark appeared brightly, faces clearly visible in it. Led by an unseen, but clearly noticeable force, I was always – as it later showed – at the right place at the right time. Within two weeks, in this sunny January, originated hundreds of photos featuring unique, indescribably beautiful faces I saw in tree bark, and clouds, and later moss, stones and water. Today I recognize it on my old photos – because they were always there – my perception had not yet awakened. To photograph the various faces of the earth in this way, I feel as a big gift that I accept with deep gratitude, and joy and pass on to my fellow man.


Catherine Pawlick, USA – Heart of a Warrior

Heart of a Warrior - Catherine Pawlik

Catherine tells us: ” I was at Starved Rock and found this “Heart of a Warrior” shot.  I have always liked finding the unexpected, and special forms in nature.  Ever since I saw Atala’s presentation at Fred Drury’s College Of DuPage nature class, I now think of you when I am shooting them!”







Jeff Scheib, USA – Stone Face

Stone Face - Jeff Scheib

When asked about his submission, Jeff shared this with us:

“This photo was taken in August when my wife, Joan, and I were hiking in Wisconsin.  We had recently decided to start hiking as a way to “get back to nature,” and this was our first hike.  As we began, we committed ourselves to actively embrace the spirits whom we hoped to encounter, and we thanked them as they showed themselves to us throughout the day.  The positive energy we felt as we approached and connected with Stone Face was that of a wise, old sage, a gatekeeper of the trail.  His bushy eyebrows, sunken eyes, defined nose, and strong chin are all strikingly human, but I’m most drawn to the kind, welcoming, magical smile that makes him come alive and offers encouragement to continue the journey.”



Steve Spyrison, USA – Watching You

Watching you - Steve SpyrisonSteve tells us about this buffalo spirit:

“Our main business road, Galena and business US 20, had once been a buffalo trail – so they had been in our area 150 years ago. Not sure if the trees were around then or not, close, but this spirit could certainly serve to honor their spirits in what would have been their homeland for tens of thousands of years before we arrived. That particular woods is a very scenic site along a creek and a limestone bluff.”

2013 Nature Spirit Photo Contest Winners

We had over 750 entries in this year’s photo contest. You can see the top winners and ten honorable mentions, and read the story behind the images, in our Public Submissions photo gallery.


First Place – Serpent Mound Spirits – Connie Mastenbrook


The Serpent Mound spirit is shown on the right; an image of the Man Mound effigy of the horned man on the left


2nd Place – Face in Room – Farzam Baig

3 Salvador-Navarro-2-1

3rd Place – Rock Spirit – Salvador Navarro

2012 Nature Spirit Photo Contest Winners

With over 100 entries, our 2012 Nature Spirit Photo Contest was a great success! Divided into two divisions, adult and youth, this annual event continues to provide images that stun and bring lively discussion amongst the judges. Starting this year, all photos appearing in our blog, “From Our Friends,” are automatically included in the next year’s contest, and may be submitted throughout the year!  These images are all on display at Crystal Life Technology through the month of October. To view them in full detail, please visit our gallery.

First Place Youth – Teagan Dube, Age 10, Canada

This is an excellent photo of a nature spirit. The original size is top center, enlarged view in lower right inset. Note the two orbs upper left. These show faery spirits moving through a dimensional portal into view: bluish orb left, starting to manifest into form mid-upper left, in form top center. When the form is blown up, vestiges of a blue orb are visible around the figure. Teagan’s dad, Joseph, reports: “Teagan is able to call forth orbs, energies and related phenomenon. She simply says, “Hello Orbies, please come…”. She also feels and knows when they are near.”  Teagan adds, “I believe in fairies, and I just thought it was a star. I also felt that something was there.”

2nd Place Youth – Ben Read, Age 11, Illinois

Taken on a Blue Papaya outing, Ben was able to connect to the Greenman energy and gethim to pose. This is a Greenman Atala had previously photographed, and while the two photos are clearly of the same life form, the personality of the Greenman varies significantly. Further evidence of the distinct, well developed energy of nature spirits! Ben reports, “It was a night when I was seeing a lot of images in nature. I remember when I saw this face in the tree. It was so clear to me all of a sudden, and I took the picture.”




3rd Place Youth – Savannah Rose, Age 13, Illinois

This is a favorite tree of the Blue Papayans. It has a lot of faery energy, and the youth always head straight to it on our outings to that park. Savannah and her mother returned one night, and Savannah got a very good photograph of these nature spirits at work – several of them carrying very long objects, for some reason. Savannah reports: “I took this picture when I sensed an energy by this tree. Since my mom always says “ What’s cookin’ good lookin’ ” to this grand tree, I started to say the same/similar and felt the connection. I then noticed orbs and fairies in the photos.” (Savannah’s Mom placed 2nd in the adult competition.)

1st Place Adult – Kelli Smith, Texas

Kelli and her daughter were entranced by the energy of Kokopelli, a Native American spirit being whose images appears on products and decor throughout the Sedona area. Later, when taking photograph’s of Sedona scenery – Coffee Rock – the energy of Kokopelli appeared in one of Kelli’s photographs, in plasma form.

2nd Place Adult – Tonya Moseley, Illinois

This is a very clear photo of a type of life form who has, over the years, appeared in the photos of various people who have a strong connection to nature, and are seeking to get good photographs of other realms. We do not know what type of life form this is – only that it appears in photos submitted from many parts of the country, year after year. Anyone have a clue? Tonya reports on the energy she felt coming from the form: “I took this picture when I had a relentless urge  to find inspiration and connection. As I took the photos, I experienced  a warm curious mystique surrounding me. I was ecstatic when I discovered the stunning nature spirit glowing with happiness in my photo.”

3rd Place Adult, Submitted by Kory Gunderson, Photo credit – Heather Nelson

While the women is stationary, the ghost face is moving very face: nice detail in the ghost face. Insets are other photos of the ghost near the women, one showing the ghost plasma coming forward around her. Submitted by Kory Gunderson, who writes that the restaurant is in a historic building known for paranormal activity. She reports, “All the pictures…of our friend…had a bright light/orb next to her head – no matter where in the room she was – the orb appeared…the same camera (iPhone) was used to take other pictures in the room – but the orb only appeared when Heather took photos of Anne Marie.”



Honorable Mention – Rose Schulz

The appearance of orbs in photographs tourists take at Egyptian temples is a well-known phenomenon. The temples are ancient, filled with all sorts of occult energy, which is augmented by so many people focusing their own energy there. We liked this image because of its serenity, and the presence of a few very geometry-filled orbs in a lovely blue color. Rose tells us, “The energy in Egypt is amazing! As soon as I got off the plane, I had the feeling of being ‘home’, that I have been there before. I was surprised, and to, by the number of orbs in so many of my photos….I went with a group of energy healers, and I think the orbs were happy to come out and play, and let us know they were there as well.”

Honorable Mission – Kelli Brock, Photo credit – John Brock

Submitted by Kelli Brock who reports, “This picture was taken of me, by my brother, in Hollywood, California in 2006. I had just finished my 2nd degree certification in reiki.” We like the ball of plasma – an orb with a smiley face – that Kelli had generated through her hands. Reiki focuses on emitting healing energy from the hands, and Kelli clearly learned her lessons well. She was no aware this was occurring, discovering it when the photograph was printed.




Honorable Mention – Kristin Putzer, Illinois

There are two Tinkerbell-like forms in this photo: we’ve enlarged one for clearer viewing.  Note the traces of energy around the form – the residual traces of an orb shape that disappears when the human and the life form move into the same frequency. This Tinkerbell shape has been photographed in various parts of the country, over the three years of our contest, and one similar to it placed best in show in the youth division in 2010. Kristin reports, “I frequently take pictures of orbs playing by these trees at dusk. One night I was able to capture this picture of a fairy. I have taken other pictures of fairies near these trees as well but not one with this much detail. I can always tell the orbs and fairies are playing by the trees if my cats stare out the window and I don’t see any squirrels or birds.”

Honorable Mention – Monkey Spirit

A beautifully shot photograph of leaves in water, in which the river spirit chose to present itself. Taken by an experienced nature photographer who reports, “I can’t say I saw anything when taking the photograph other than the water and leaves set against the stone. When looking at the raw images later, it looked to me like there was a face of a monkey in the stone and water.”





Honorable Mention – Alyse Rynor, Illinois

This is one of those “exactly what is happening here?” photographs. Notice the tree is manifesting a spirit image of the woman who is appearing to the right of the screen. It is the tree who is doing this – see who the bark of the tree has shifted to form the image. Alyse took the photo of her computer screen. She had been watching a live streaming of the silent gazer Braco who brings forth Divine Energy. When he had finished, the moderator came forward to wrap up the session. Alyse reports, “I noticed that the tree started to have face spirits appear after Braco had brought forth the energy and the woman, Claudia, was talking. I grabbed my iPhone and snapped the phot as I saw it on my  TV screen.


Honorable Mention – Kelly Kamas, New York

Kelly captured the peaceful beauty of the night, and the peaceful orbs who were enjoying it as well. Notice the internal structure of the orbs, and their soft, varied colors. Kelly reports, “I had just finished reading Atala’s book Nature Spirits, Spirit Guides, and Ghosts. I am very excited to try to capture some images in photos. We live in a very beautiful spot in Upstate New York, near the Finger Lakes Region. On our property we have wooded areas as well as a pond. I have always felt very peaceful near our pond, so i KNEW that there were some wonderful Nature Spirits and Energies there. I headed up to the pond at dusk with my camera, and asked the Spirits if I may have a picture of them. I was amazed at all of the energies that appeared! I thanked them before I left the pond.”

Honorable Mention – Malia Munesue

These rock guardians watch over a steep part of one of the woodland trails in the very energy-rich Starved Rock Park. Malia reports, “My husband, daughter and I were hiking through Starved Rock in the early spring. To me, the rocks were making their presence known over everything else we came across throughout our hike, almost like they were watching us. I remember looking up at this particular rock and being invited to take LOTS of pictures, but I did not know why nor was I able to recognize any sort of life form at the time. After we were home, I reviewed the pictures and was immediately captivated by what I had captured.”


2011 Orb Photo Contest Winners

Thank you, everyone, for the hundreds of fantastic  images submitted in the orb photo contest.
Our most popular blog of 2011 was of the winning images in our Orb Photo Contest!

Please enjoy these images once again! We’ll be back on Monday, January 9 with new blogs to share.



We were looking for a photo of happy orbs, preferably with people or plants present, to serve as a cover for Atala’s upcoming book on photographing nature spirits.

The publishers did not find a photo strong enough, in their opinion, to represent the book as its cover. They ultimately chose a photo of a tree spirit.

We have included several of your images in our text, as illustrations of various principles discussed. The text is going through the editing process now, and if any of the images make the final cut, we will be sure to let you know!

Shown below are the winners we selected! Congratulations everyone!


First Place~Honey Metcalf lives in South Oregon and began taking pictures of orbs “after witnessing an unusual phenomenon here on my property in 2005.”  On a trip to Mt. Shasta, Honey and her sister Micki took turns taking photographs of each other calling in the faeries to come play with them! Quite a community came on out! Honey tells us she has a collection of several thousand images of orbs.










Second Place – SeaHeart Elan lives on the West Coast and took this happy photograph at the annual Fairy and Human Relations Congress, held each year in Washington state.  The young girls and the orbs are clearly having a great time playing with each other! SeaHeart tells us she has thousands of images of orbs!














Third Place – Kristen Putzer, Illinois took this photograph of her young son Joshua on a recent outing to a local preserve. Her son was in a very happy mood, she tells us. He was describing a nature spirit he was playing with, and was greeting it; clearly, the nature spirit was greeting him back. The shape – a round ball with arms or wings extending out – is one of the more unusual orb shapes people capture in camera. This is one of Kristen’s first orb photographs, and she tells us she was quite surprised to see Jason’s “pretend” friend had been caught on camera!













Honorable Mention – Melanie Joyce is caretaker of the very special Bluff Trail Labyrinth in Wisconsin and has taken thousands of orb photos of all shapes, sizes and colors. This photo was selected because it shows an unusual image – a collection of orbs who have gathered together to form an etheric branch! The labyrinth itself is flat: that branched form in the center exists only in the orb dimension!

Honorable Mention – Al Ochsner, Illinois. Al took this photograph at a gathering where many of the attendees were focusing on taking photographs of orbs. He was not having much success, so we suggested he identify with the frequency used by a young girl in the group to get her many orb images. After a minute or so of adjusting his frequency to hers, he began photographing – and produced this amazing image: an entire wall of orbs traveling into his space, to find out what was happening!

























Honorable mention – Barbara Kaufmann. This is a photograph Barbara took, she tells us, “At a seminary among iconic sculptures and images. Very often we’ve seen images of “holy statues” of various faiths who have a lot of orbs around them; the orbs appear to be connected somehow to the process of petitioning and receiving back messages from the statue’s representative energy.

Commendation – Melanie Joyce, Wisconsin. An entire bush of orbs is pouring out towards the photographer!

Commendation – Melanie Joyce, Illinois – A full moon ceremony had just taken place on the Bluff Trail Labyrinth, and the orb beings were moving about very fast. When you consider how long a camera lens is open for such a shot, it’s clear the orbs were zooming about at super speed! Nascar should see such speeds!

Commendation – SeaHeart Elan – A wonderful picture of adults, children and fairies playing together at dusk – the most active time for human/fairy interaction, the time known as the space between the worlds!



2011 Nature Spirit Winners

The 2nd Annual Nature Spirit Photo Contest, sponsored by ISIC, Blue Papaya and Crystal Life Technology, had over 600 entries in two categories: adults and youth. Submitted photos included ghosts, orbs, faeries, tree manifestations and reiki energy. Many of the photographers specialize in a particular aspect of spirit photography, and corresponding energy work, and have a body of work in the hundreds and even thousands of images. Clearly, this type of photography, and the ability of digital cameras to enable it, is a growing field of interest for many people. Some photographers got their images by surprise, but others knowingly set out to record specific life forms, who accommodate by appearing in the image. Enjoy this selection of the top images of the top nature spirit entries in our 2011 contest.


1st Place-Adult

Hans Klemmer

This image of a very aware tree spirit energy has placed first in the 2011 Nature Spirit Photography Contest. Hans tells us of this image:

The photograph of the tree spirit was made at an orchard where I spent much of my youth. This tree lives in a section of the orchard that even 40 years ago was called the “old orchard.” Since my uncle passed away the orchard has gone fallow and the many hundreds of trees have gone wild, growing and changing to their own design. I found this tree near sunset on my first trip back after nearly a decade; it stands like a sentry on the western edge of the grove. The orchard is in Summit County in Eastern Ohio.

Hans writes he has been a chef, a carpenter, a firefighter, paramedic, photographer and teacher. He has been around the world making photographs that have generally dealt with places of power, places of prayer, and places of piety. Formerly of Elgin, IL, he’s currently living in Belfast, Ireland, studying and making art at the University of Ulster and having the time of his life.


2nd Place-Adult

Sharyn Gooder

This unusual image of orbs placed second in the 2011 Nature Spirit Photo Contest. It shows orbs under stress or who have experienced a combat situation. Note how the normally round orbs show missing sections. Sharyn states that she has seen similar orbs attacked and their life force energy drained, at which point they die. Sharyn manages Our Wooded Paradise in Rockton, IL and states it is a retreat not only for humans but for orbs as well – a place they can come for rest and restoration.




Third Place-Adult

Lauren Kricheff

Lauren Kricheff, is a Reiki Master and Nurse Practioner. Her sister Sheryl Simon, also a Reiki Master and Medium, had just performed a Reiki treatment with Lauren on Lauren’s pregnant daughter Kristina Harris. After working on Krissy for about a half hour, Lauren decided to take a picture and said “ok, everyone get in the picture”. Boy, were they pleasantly surprised when the picture was developed and all these wonderful interdimentional beings decided to join Sheryl, Krissy and husband Gary in the picture!



First Place-Youth





This is the first time Oriana, age 13, tried taking nature spirit photographs. This was a Blue Papaya outing in St. Charles, IL. Oriana excelled! Here she got a wonderful elf face – this is an orb whose life form inside was an elf – Oriana got the camera to move past the life form energy to the shape inside as well!




2nd Place-Youth

Ben Read

This was Ben’s first time taking nature spirit photographs. At age 8, he has already determined that he wants to thoroughly understand energy! He took this photograph on a Blue Papaya outing in St Charles, IL – none of us can figure out exactly what the complex energy is he caught on camera. Some suspect it is a gnome. Anyone out there know?


The photos of the top finalists are on display as the current exhibit in the public submissions area of our gallery!

2010 Nature Spirit Contest -Adult Winners

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever….it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything. ~Aaron Siskind

Last year our youth group, Blue Papaya, enthusiastically began learning how to capture orbs and other energies during our outings. So many of their images were outstanding and varied that it was decided we should have an exhibition to show their work, and we also opened the exhibition to adults who shared the same passion as our youth. The response was wonderful, images submitted not only locally, but from far and wide.

Can you see the face in the rock? Side profile, nicely defined nose, and eyes.

Melanie France took this image, and overall took 3rd place in the adult category.

Melanie is a photo workshop attendee and an orb photographer who leads labyrinth walks in Wisconsin. Melanie very quickly learned to take photographs of tree and rock spirits as well.

This orb was captured by Bonnie M., she tied with Melanie for 3rd place.

The mother of one of the Blue Papayans, Bonnie took photos on our outings and discovered she has the talent. Notice how well you can see the inner structure of the orb.

Our first place winner was Mary Pat Brennan.

Mary Pat captured this image twice. A flower sprite perhaps?

Mary Pat read about our contest and came in with a collection of photographs. She has the widest selection of life forms, including a female ghost in an old car her son had bought (he hasn’t used it yet, after seeing this image!)

This is Mary Pat’s ghost image. While on exhibit, some of our youth believed this was a dog, while others strongly voiced their surprise at what they believe to be a woman.

Lanette Padulla came in 2nd place but this photo won best in show in the adult category.

This image was taken at Wheeler Park in Geneva, and has many different nature spirit energies. So much so that every time it’s viewed, someone can find something new inside.

Who is the lady? Well she wasn’t there at the park that night, and another image taken the same night does not show her either. Lanette is a photo workshop attendee. The night before the workshop, Lanette had attended an energy session and had been told her totem animal was the bear-she did not know this. When processing photographs from the workshop, she discovered she had an image of a black bear in the park grass-confirming to her it’s presence in her life.

As one of the jurists for this exhibition, I must say it was a very difficult process for us. So many wonderful contributions, we literally poured over the submitted images for hours until we found our winners.

Thank you to everyone who participated! We have decided to make this an annual event at Crystal Life! Keep an eye out in late September/early October for information on how to enter!

2010 Nature Spirit Contest – Youth Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2010 first annual Nature Spirit Photo Contest!

Winners in the Blue Papaya youth division are: lst: Andrew Ramm, age 8. 2nd: HW, age 12. 3rd place and also best photo of show: Danielle, age 10.

Winners in the adult division are: 1st place: Mary Pat Brennan, IL. 2nd place: Melanie France, WI. 3rd place and best photo of show: Lanette Padula, IL. Also 3rd place: Bonnie MacKenzie, IL.

Many thanks to all the people who sent in photographs. Some of you stretched our understanding of life forms who can be visually seen. Lanette’s winning photograph was Bear Spirit, which you can see in an earlier blog here. Originally designed for members of our youth group Blue Papaya, who spent the summer visiting local preserves and photographing nature spirits, we decided to open it to adults as well. What a surprise! We got photographs of ghosts, spirits of loved ones who returned to look over their children, orbs, plasma, fairies, devas, animal totems and more. The photographs are on exhibit at our Crystal Life store in Geneva, IL and will be up until November 22. We’ll have another contest next fall… Here are a few of the submissions that came in by email.

Snow Orb by Sky Pedersen

Snow Orb by Sky Pedersen

Tree form by Terri Mahl

Tree form by Terri Mahl