Marion teen gets published in National Geographic - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Marion teen gets published in National Geographic

MARION, IL (KFVS) -

It took just one click. But the eyes of the world are focused on the work of a Heartland teen.

Recently 14-year-old Makayla Hayes from Marion learned she'd won grand-prize in National Geographic's 5th Annual International Photography Contest for Kids.

But it's a win Hayes says she never expected from a summer day at the pool.

"The ladder would be right here in the water," Makayla Hayes explained.

Instead, the pool in the backyard of the Hayes household is covered up for the winter. However last summer, 14-year-old Hayes used the pool to make more than just a splash, it became her underwater studio.

"I used scene and then portrait and it just took it," Hayes said. "I also put it on self timer for 12 seconds."

In those few seconds the digital underwater camera took just one shot of Hayes. Hayes says to help show the details in it, she then changed the picture to black and white.

"In the color (photograph) you can't really see the bubbles and everything and all the details because of the way the light hit it, but when you got it in black and white you could see everything, and it was dark and it was really, really cool," Hayes said.

But it wasn't a digital camera that got Hayes interested in taking pictures. Instead, try her cell phone.

"When I was on my phone and I just thought it would be a good idea to like take a self portrait, but didn't think it was going to turn out like it did," Hayes said.

Leslie Hayes, Makayla's mom said, "(I) went through her cell phone and I was shocked because like you could just tell she had the eye."

What Leslie saw in the phone was a picture of her daughter frozen in time at just 12-years-old. So for her 13th birthday Hayes received a digital camera. Since then, the young photographer has worked to grow her skills and capture, as she calls it, another world.

But it was one moment last summer, a picture of her in an underwater world, that focused the attention of the judges at National Geographic.

"I was like, I probably won't win because there are so many people submitting their art, and everything that are my age, and I thought there would be way more better ones, but when my mom told me that I won I was just really excited," Hayes said.

Hayes' picture was chosen from more than 12,000 entries from around the world. You can see her picture in the May edition of National Geographic Kids magazine.

To see Hayes' picture and others click here.

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