|"A Kiss of Sunshine" by Natalya B. Parris|
On an opportune nature outing turned modeling photo shoot, Parris snapped the photo just in the nick of time, as the fleeting golden hue paused on its cosmic arch:
"This park is my favorite place to walk and run. I took a walk there and saw magnificent blooming trees. I went home to take my camera, and my daughter Victoria wanted to go with me for a photo shoot. She asked me to teach her how to be a fashion model. I explained to her that being a model requires a lot of hard work before you see a beautiful photo.
"While we were working on taking her photos with Saucer Magnolia blooms, I noticed how beautifully the bark of the tree matched the color of her hair. The ray of sunset sun touched her face, and here it was, that magical moment, when the sunshine kissed her eye in the shape of a heart and changed the color of her green eye to golden. It was like a sun whisper, 'Good night sweet girl. I will shine for you tomorrow.'
"I am happy I captured that moment. It will forever remind me about my special bond with my daughter."
Parris learned of the photo contest 10 years ago at her local library. She decided to enter the contest because she is very active in and a strong believer in contributing to the community, she said. She won awards in both instances.
An art instructor at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn, where she has expanded her teaching program to include a popular children's camp, "Art Around the World," she has also recently ventured into teaching "Wine with the Masters" and art appreciation classes to adults at the regional BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown and Sunrise in Montgomery Village, respectively.
In collaboration with the Maryland Department of Transportation, the annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful contest recognizes noteworthy photographs taken in Montgomery County by county residents, as well as public and private landscaping and gardening projects.