North Dakota State Capitol & Governor’s Photo Contest

North Dakota State Capitol & Governor’s Photo Contest

Growing up outside of North Dakota, I didn’t get your typical visit the North Dakota State Capitol field trips like everyone else who is local to here. I’ve made several trips to Bismarck, even done some business in DOT office which is connect to the Capitol building. But I never really got to see the grandeur located inside of our Capitol building here in North Dakota. 

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I will be honest, the outside of our Capitol leaves much to be desired in my opinion. Certainly, it can be seen from anywhere around Bismarck thanks to the tower which is actually the tallest building in North Dakota and is known as the “Skyscraper of the Prairie”. But the outside architecture isn’t at all indicative of what is inside. Right away you will notice that the building was built-in the Art Deco style, which happens to be one of my favorite styles of architecture. I am sure that is what lent to the Tower being built. One of the key features of Art Deco architecture is features that reach toward the sky. 

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I got to wander around the Capitol building with a friend who works there. Coincidentally enough, the Department of Agriculture recently purchased some of my photography. I was so excited to see my works of art hanging in their conference room while on my visit to the Capitol. She also gave me the grand tour. She took me up to the 18th floor where there is an Observation Deck. You can look out at all four directions and see Bismarck and the surrounding areas. We also got to wander into the House and Senate Chambers. The legislative branch of our Capitol building is absolutely gorgeous and also contains the beautiful Art Deco style. Lots of wood and brass work, beautiful pillars towering up to the high ceilings. 

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I highly recommend if you get a chance to visit and one of these days I will have to go and sit in while these two bodies of legislation are in session. The North Dakota Legislature is unique in that it is what is called a biennial legislature. Basically meaning both chambers meet for only 80 days in odd-numbered years. During the periods in between, a Legislative Council oversees legislative affairs and drafting legislation for consideration of both houses during the next session.

But the real reason I visited the Capitol is not simply to take in the beauty of it, I was there to accept an award! I entered two of my photographs into the Governor’s Photo Contest put on by the North Dakota Department of Tourism. Turns out, one of my photos won. Over 500 photos were entered into the contest, the Tourism Department chose 10 out of those 500. The winnings photos will be used in Tourism material for 2015 as well as will hang in the offices of the Governor, Attorney General, and First Lady.

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The First Lady, Betsy Dalrymple, was present to give a speech about North Dakota and the photographs selected as well as hand out our awards. We met in front of the Golden Seal of North Dakota as they unveiled and announced all the winners. I got to shake the First Lady’s hand and have my photo unveiled. And I will give you one guess what my photo was taken of…. Yep, sunflowers. 

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Processed with VSCOcam with s1 preset

Below is the winning image. Our Ag Pilot is now famous, my husband jokes we are going to owe him royalties here pretty soon. 😉 It took standing in that Capitol building, among the history and the many, many people who have walked those floors, for the honor and prestige of this award to really sink in. There are many things I have a passion for in this life. But to be recognized and honored with one of the things I love the most, photography, in my new home state of North Dakota for this California born and raised girl takes the cake. 

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And much to my surprise, this small town gal even made it on the news! Thanks to my friends who pointed this out to me, I would have missed it! – Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND 

I left the Capitol that day with the overwhelming feeling that there is no doubt in my mind I’m right where I need to be. And let me tell you, it feels good.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all the well wishes and congratulations! 


  1. Kathy Betty
    October 13, 2014 / 3:20 pm

    Jenny, that is sooooo cool!!!!! I really like your photos and probably especially your farm scenes like your sunflowers! 🙂 Keep it up. Its fun to follow you on your blog. Let us know the next time you happen to make it back here in Chico so we can see you!

  2. October 14, 2014 / 8:49 pm

    What an awesome honor. Beautiful photo!
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