One Cozy Guinea Pig from the Picture the Park Photo Contest

Young photographer captures a favorite subject.
This photo of Panda, titled “Winter is Coming,” took first place in the Pets category of our annual Picture the Park photo contest in 2016. You can submit your own photos to our 2017 contest in August.

Tommy Hiemenz is an accomplished photographer—even at age 12. The young St. Louis Park resident snapped this award-winning photo of his guinea pig, Panda, so named for the distinctive panda-like coloring around his face. To compose the whimsical shot, Tommy found the perfect place for Panda to snuggle in. “I thought my mom’s boot was a cool [spot for this photo] because it reminds me of Minnesota winters,” says Tommy. “I stuffed the boot with socks so Panda would not fall in too far.”

Tommy took the photo with his iPhone 5s, which he uses for most of his photographic work—you can even find him on Instagram, where he shares photos exclusively of Panda and Panda’s companion, Guinea. “I like to take pictures of my guinea pigs,” Tommy says. Check them out at @pgpigs, which has more than 1,000 followers.

“I think this is one of my best guinea pig photos, and my mom encouraged me to submit it” to the contest, says Tommy. “The guinea pigs are so excited that the picture is going to be in a magazine!”