Redding Girl’s Winning Photo Featured in Ranger Rick

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Nine-year-old Iliana Phillips of Redding said she was “just walking around outside” when she spotted the bug she had to capture. “I was like, ‘Dad, let me have your camera for at least 10 seconds!'”

And just like that, a contest-winning photo was taken.

Iliana’s dragonfly photo appears in the August 2011 issue of Ranger Rick, the National Wildlife Federation children’s magazine.

Her dad, Alan Ernesto Phillips (also a contributor to A News Cafe) was the one who encouraged Iliana to enter into the Ranger Rick kid’s magazine photo contest, and this is her first time ever being published.

Smiling Dragonfly (click to enlarge)

Phillips says that even at the tender age of 4, Iliana had shown an interest in photography. He talked about how she would tell him she would want to use his camera to take pictures … and he would end up with numerous images of her little feet or of the blue sky.

When Iliana found out she had won the contest, “I screamed!” she said.

Speaking with a reporter by phone, Iliana said she was outside playing with her cousin and checking out a praying mantis they had found. “I love bugs, they’re awesome!” Iliana said. “Especially butterflies and praying mantis.”

For now, photography seems to be more of a hobby than a future profession for Iliana, who was leaving soon after her interview to celebrate her achievement by getting ice cream with her dad. One thing is for sure, though, Iliana shows promising signs of  talent, and her very proud dad is looking forward to seeing what comes out of this experience.

[haiku url=”″ title=”Don Burton Interviewing Iliana Phillips”]

Click Play to listen to Don Burton’s interview with Iliana Phillips on Redding Radio:

Shayna Carroll is a reporting intern and sales representative for She has lived in beautiful Northern California all of her life, received her bachelor’s degree in English from National University and would love to go back to school again. She enjoys the simple pleasures in life, including reading, writing, being outdoors, and playing with her kittens Clementine and Daisy. Her dream is to one day travel to Ireland and frolic around the Cliffs of Moher. Reach Shayna at

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has lived in beautiful Northern California all of her life. She received her Bachelor's degree in English from National University and would love to be able to go back to school again. She enjoys the simple pleasures in life, including reading, writing, being outdoors, and playing with her kittens Clementine and Daisy. Her dream is to one day travel to Ireland and frolic around the Cliffs of Moher. Shayna can be emailed at
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43 Responses

  1. Avatar Larry says:

    great bug…

  2. Avatar Danielle Kaliterna says:

    I'm so happy for you, Iliana! Can't wait to see the magazine with your picture in it! Hip Hip Hooray! Congratulations!

  3. Avatar Carmen says:

    """"""""Awesome"""""""" Please take more.. For being so young, you did an excellent job. You might want to think about doing this in your future maybe. Fun job and with Great Pay??? Just a future thought. Very Happy for you.

  4. Avatar Canda says:

    Wow! Great job, Iliana. You've got a good eye for photography. Congratulations to you. How fun to be published at such a young age. Way to go!

  5. Avatar Don Ajamian says:

    Way to go Iliana. Great picture. The detail is SO clear that I can see EXACTLY why it's called the "Smiling Dragonfly". You captured this beautiful bug beautifully! Congratulations on winning the contest. You deserve it!

  6. Avatar Amelia De La Torre W says:

    I am so proud of you Iliana! You are not only a beautiful little girl, but very talented with the camera! I would not be surprised if some day I see this beautiful young woman featured in a famous photography magazine!

  7. Avatar Victor Venegas says:

    Hi Iliana,

    It's me….Victor…..Congratulations for getting your photo in Ranger Rick magazine. It is too cool! I hope you keep winning contests!

    See you at the new RSA school!

    Your friend,


  8. Avatar Sarah says:

    Congrats Iliana!!! I love your photo 🙂

    You have a talent lady, keep it up!

  9. Avatar The Coulters: Steve, says:

    All of your cousins are sooo proud sweet thing. Love you bunches. You are such an artist!

  10. Avatar Laurel Garces says:

    Wow! Iliana, you have a real talent for photography there. The angle, light, focus is perfect…I couldn't take a photo like that if I tried all day! Great job, and thanks for sharing it in the magazine for all to enjoy!

  11. Avatar Rick Crowley says:

    Congratulations Iliana for having such a "great eye" for capturing such cool photos. Kudos to Dad for nurturing the gift. Great things will continue to happen.


  12. Avatar Gini says:

    So cool Ili! I don't think I've ever seen an orange dragonfly! Can't wait to see you published. Hope you had a great summer…good and great things are in your future young lady!

  13. Avatar Amberly Steffensen says:

    Congratulations Iliana! What a beautiful picture!

  14. Wow. My daughter gets this magazine. How totally cool, Iliana. Congratulations. We're thrilled for you.

  15. Avatar Ed Heffelfinger says:

    That is an incredible picture! Looks like she's got a good eye like her Dad. Congrats Iliana…tell Dad you want your own camera for your 5th birthday. This could be the start of something big!

  16. Sorry bout that…you want a camera for your 10th birthday!!!

  17. Avatar danika says:

    i love the picture that you took of the dragon fly.

    talk to you soon.

    love, danika

  18. Avatar Rod Lindsay says:

    Great Job!! Keep up the great work. Looking forward to more of your Art being seen in the world. I am happy and proud for you

  19. Avatar Linda Gutierrez says:

    Iliana I am so proud of you! I need to get that magazine and have you autograph it for me!


    Linda La Pinga 🙂

  20. Marilyn Traugott Marilyn Traugott says:

    Wow, Iliana! Congratulations for taking such an amazing picture and having it published. Not many people in the whole world get to have such an honor.

  21. Avatar Steve Gibson says:

    Wow! What a great picture! It's so crisp and sharp and dimensional, it looks like you could step right into the picture and ride on that dragonfly. I used to get Ranger Rick magazine when I was a kid, so I'm extremely impressed! Way to go Iliana!

  22. Avatar rodger says:

    Some people can see things that others just done have an eye for. And sweetie, you have the eye for sure!

  23. Avatar Jenny says:

    Jenny and I are stunned! It's a beautiful picture of a beautiful animal. Dragonflies, and your other favorites, the praying mantis and the butterfly, are the three bugs I can tolerate without screaming. Keep on going Iliana! Love you, Patience Abbe

  24. What an awesome picture, she has a bright future in photography, reach for the stars and pull one down….. We are proud of you cousin…

  25. Avatar Kathy Kilen says:

    Love the pic, Ili! Good work!

  26. Avatar Judy Cassidy says:

    I am so happy that something that you enjoy and that gives you happiness is being shared with me and so many people all over the country! Congrats on getting the recognition your wonderful eye deserves!

  27. Avatar Rick says:


    Great shot! You should borrow your dad's camera more often!

  28. That is a GREAT shot, Iliana. Mega-Congratulations to your photo being in such a great magazine like Ranger Rick! You should be VERY proud. (You may be working alongside your Father in production with you camera sooner than later!)

  29. Avatar Donny Roland says:

    I think it is very pretty.

  30. Avatar Lynne Davis says:

    Wow ! We are very honored to be able to say that we know a nationally published photographer. We are all proud of you Ili !

    Hugs: Lynne, Dan, Emily and John.

  31. Avatar Mrs. Call says:

    Your picture is great, Iliana. I'm very proud of you!

  32. Avatar Eddie McAllister says:

    Good eye, a quick response, fast reaction and a good camera, make up a great photographer and even better photograph, at any age.

    Congratulations…. Let me know when, and I will also treat you and the family to a ice cream cone at Leatherbys.

  33. Avatar Meredith says:

    Just heard you on the radio with your dad. Very nice picture for such a young lady! you sure are talented. Congrats!

  34. Illiana : You are an awesome photographer! I also like that you are into bugs. I love the praying mantis. They are mysterious. But this dragonfly that you captured with your camera is out of this world. I am so glad you were selected to have your photo on Ranger Rick. My kids subscribed to this worthy magazine. Congratulations!!!

  35. Congratulations, once again Iliana! All of the editors here at Ranger Rick magazine think your dragonfly photo is fantastic! We're thrilled that you entered our contest.

  36. Avatar Mad About Ewe says:

    How wonderful that your photo has brought enjoyment to so many others! Congratulations! I think if you get paid, you will be a "professional" like your Dad!

  37. Avatar Brian says:

    Great story Shayna, hope to hear more stories by you! And great picture!

  38. Avatar 2R's says:

    Excellent Eye…Way to capture the moment! Congradulations Iliana..!!

  39. Avatar Pamm says:

    Hi Ili~

    Wow…a photo in Ranger Rick! That's awesome!!! I used to enjoy that very magazine when I was about your age! That's a great shot of the dragonfly! Keep at it, Ili; you've got a good eye for the art of photography, and it's a lot of fun besides!

  40. Thanks, Shayna! What a great and uplifting article you wrote… Two "firsts" in one: First time for you being a published reporter in the coolest news-magazine on the planet, and the first time Iliana became a nationally published photographer in a highly recognized children's magazine!

    Both my daughters are so creative, and oftentimes I feel like the luckiest dad on earth. Iliana has many other interesting photos in her "Gallery of Greats." I think it is truly amazing what can happen when a child is turned loose with a camera and a different perspective from us know-it-all types.

    Before your article, Shayna, Iliana just scoffed at the idea of preparing a little photo exhibit, from the eyes of a child. She didn't think anyone would like it.

    After your article – and all the 'asset-building' accolades from everyone who replied (as well as the cool radio interview you linked by Don Burton at Redding Radio) Iliana now wants to have a showing at ArtHop some day! I told her, "Let's do it!" So we are saving our money, she is already designing her exhibit, we will print and frame her best works and we are going to approach Adam & Troy to see if we have what it takes to make that wish happen someday.

    Some people don't think that photography is a true art form. Just wait until you see Iliana's other works…

    With my deepest and dearest thanks to you all for taking a moment to build a creative child up to the stars!