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The Winning Images of the 2022 AAA World Photo Contest


It’s often said that the best souvenirs are memories. And what better way to spark those memories than with a photograph?

If the more than 4,500 photographs we received for the 2022 AAA World Photo Contest—themed A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Dollars—are anything to go by, AAA members are wise to that wisdom. AAA World staff left no entry unviewed as we narrowed that haul to just 25 semifinalists. You, our members, then voted for your favorite in five categories. Next, we named the grand-prize winner and awarded placements of the four runners-up.

Thank you to all who participated in this, our 23rd annual contest. Following, we share the winning images, which inspire us to keep making memories—and taking photographs.


Photo Contest Photo Submission
Photographer: Diana Guaschino
Prize: $1,000 AAA Visa Gift card

Pure joy. That’s how Diana Guaschino of Somers Point, New Jersey, describes her grand-prize-winning image of Boomer, the then-five-month-old white golden retriever that she cares for as part of her pet-sitting business.

Boomer was napping in her living room when she noticed Boomer’s blissful expression and snapped this image with her iPhone. “I had just made some major positive changes in my life, including starting a new way to support myself with my pet-sitting business, that led up to this moment,” says Guaschino. “So, this image of finding happiness has a deeper meaning for me.”

Guaschino loves taking photographs just for fun and sharing them with family and friends to bring smiles to their faces, too. The biggest challenge of this composition that swept the Happiness category: not waking up Boomer.


Photo Contest Photo Submission
Photographer: Michael Shake
Prize: $100 AAA Visa Gift card

It’s been a decade since Michael Shake of the Village of Whitehouse, Ohio, composed this image of picturesque Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, just outside Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. Still, the composition, which earned the highest honors in the Around the World category, burns brightly in his mind.

“I hiked uphill on a paved trail to this popular vantage point overlooking the lake. This was in July, so it was comfortable temperatures,” explains Shake, adding that what he likes most about the image is the stunning turquoise water.

“This was my first time seeing glacial water, and to have the lake framed by the Ten Peaks and the trees was like nothing I had ever seen,” he says. “I was in awe.”


Photo Contest Photo Submission
Photographer: Rodney Hendrickson
: $100 AAA Visa Gift card

Since retiring four years ago, Rodney Hendrickson of London, Kentucky, and his wife have traveled in a campervan around the US photographing scenic locales. A trip in July 2021 took them to the 1858 Bass Harbor Head Light Station on Mount Desert Island in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

“There was a brewing storm, and the jagged, rocky coastline presented a challenge in maneuvering to just the right spot to capture the lighthouse, the dark sky and the sea in just the right spot in the frame,” Hendrickson says of his composition that garnered the top spot in the Great American Road Trip category.

“There was also an element of luck involved,” he adds. “Just as I had the camera positioned where I wanted, the sun found a hole in the dark storm clouds, creating a dramatic contrast.”


Photo Contest Photo Submission
Ryan Churilo
: $100 AAA Visa Gift card

Ryan Churilo of East Windsor, Connecticut, has traveled this road many times throughout his life, but it was one day last August that this scene caught his photographer’s eye.

“This area is known as Connecticut Tobacco Valley and has a lot of history for some of the world's best tobacco due to its nutrient-rich soil,” says Churilo. “I took this shot from the road as the sun was setting, the barn was glowing and the dried tobacco was hanging inside the open barn doors. This was challenging as the sun was causing blinding disruptions.”

Ultimately, this image best “showcased the area’s true beauty, gorgeous sunsets and history of the land,” he adds. It also took the prize in the Culture category.


Photo Contest Photo SubmissionFOURTH RUNNER-UP
Photographer: Holly Linton
Prize: $100 AAA Visa Gift card

For the past several years, Holly Linton’s husband has ripped out the photo contest advertisement from AAA World and left it on her desk to encourage her to enter. “I never felt qualified to participate, so the deadline would pass, and I’d toss the ad in the garbage,” she says. “This year, I saw the Nature category and figured I’d enter my butterfly image. Look where that got me!”

Linton’s image, taken near her home in Smithville, New Jersey, last July, finished first in the Nature category.

“The original composition was nothing exciting…but that’s what the crop tool is for. Once I did my basic edits, I added a purple and orange bokeh overlay,” she says. “This brought the image to life and makes it somewhat magical and calming to look at.”