Introducing Our Judges

The judges for our #ScenicSWPA Photo Contest are all accomplished photographers and hail from different parts of the region. We were honored to have them judge our photo contest. Learn more about each of them below, and take a look at some photos from our esteemed judges above.

From L to R, Brad Berkstresser with PNC Park, Nick Garuccio with the Ligonier Diamond, Clare Kaczmarek with PA Gamelands, Christine Montgomery with downtown Pittsburgh, and Emmanuel Panagiotakis with McConnells Mill.

Brad Berkstresser

“A camera never out of reach.” Brad Berkstresser, owner of Bradley B. Photography, has been photographing Pittsburgh from the air and on the ground for the past several years.  He discovered his penchant for aerial photography after purchasing his first quadcopter (drone) to fly for fun.  From there, the hobby “took off” with clients residing all over the US.  Some of Brad’s favorite things to photograph include the many bridges Pittsburgh has to offer, the iconic Duquesne Incline, and the colorful homes of various Pittsburgh neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville and Mount Washington.  Brad’s work has been featured in the internationally known pop-culture website “Accidentally Wes Anderson”, Mt. Lebanon magazine, promotional materials for corporate real estate firm CBRE, NEXTPittsburgh, and The Incline, among other online publications. An Investment Management focused attorney by day, Brad also enjoys playing hockey, golfing with his son, Jack, and kayaking on the rivers of Pittsburgh. You can find Brad’s work at his website, and on Etsy, as well as on his Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Nick Garuccio

“God provides the magic, I just try to not mess up the picture.” Nick is a professional photographer and videographer who often works as a team with his wife, Jodi Garuccio. They live about half hour east of Pittsburgh, in the Laurel Highlands. After more than a decade of other life endeavors, Nick bought his first DSLR Camera in November of 2018 and soon realized he was hooked. He often photographs SWPA’s local, state and national parks but loves cityscapes as well. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can find his video work on his YouTube channel. His website is Garuccio Photography

Clare Kaczmarek

“My goal with my photography is simply to try to preserve some of the beauty I encounter and to attempt to share with others the scenes that bring me so much joy and peace.” Clare is a resident of Latrobe in Westmoreland County and has been photographing the landscapes of the SWPA region for many years, focusing on state parks and lands. She is an avid hiker, biker and walker and believes you need to be willing to get muddy to get a good shot. She has won several photography awards, including Photograph of the Year at the 2013 Westmoreland Art Nationals, and Judges’ Choice Awards in the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation’s Judges’ photo contest in 2020 and 2021, for images of the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park and snowy pines at Laurel Mountain State Park. You can find her work at her gallery site.

Christine Montgomery

“Work the midnight ER shift. Photograph the rest.” Christine is a 47-year-old City of Pittsburgh resident who works as an Environmental Services Technician in UPMC’s Emergency Department. Photography is her passion. She shoots mostly city landscapes, parks and rivers. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Point Park University. Christine displays her photos via her popular Instagram account, @Redhead15014.

Emmanuel Pangiotakis

“The stories we tell are based on our individual perception. If we all had the same eye, all the pictures would look the same.” Emmanuel Pangiotakis is the owner of Emmanuel Fine Art Photography, located in Beaver, PA. For over 32 years, Emmanuel Panagiotakis has been constantly pushing the frontiers of fine art photography. He’s built a reputation and creating incredible art by capturing the total range of light and colors as the human eye can see. He is driven by a desire to be the best in understanding and appreciate light. To experiment with new ways of capturing and seeing the moment in his photography. His life’s mission is knowledge. You can find his work at his galleries, his website, on his Facebook page, and on his Instagram feed.