PORTLAND – One evening last summer, Barbara Dahlquist of Scarborough was on her usual walk along Higgins Beach in Scarborough when she whipped out her camera to capture the silhouettes of three surfers standing in the sunset.

On Friday night, the image earned Dahlquist a $750 gift certificate to Hunt’s Photo & Video in South Portland.

“We’re going camera shopping,” Dahlquist said after winning first place in MaineToday Media’s readers’ photography contest.

Since last summer, readers of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel have been submitting their photos to be judged weekly by the newspapers’ photography staff.

The judges chose first-, second- and third-place winners for each season. The winners were honored Friday night with a reception at The Eastland Park Hotel, where an exhibit of their photography will hang for the next month.

The winning photos featured Maine’s people, animals and landscapes: a freckled girl, a corgi charging through snow, a river running over rocks.

Gregory Rec, a staff photographer for the Press Herald/Sunday Telegram who oversaw the contest, told the winners Friday that their images and others showed him parts of the state he had never seen.

“This contest has really been a window into the beauty that is Maine,” he said.

— Leslie Bridgers, Staff Writer