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‘Ding’ Day photo contest deadline coming up

August 21, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The deadline for this year's "Ding" Darling Day Amateur Nature Photography Contest, which raises cash award prizes to celebrate the refuge's 75th anniversary, is Sept. 15.

All entries must be submitted electronically to be eligible for the $300 first-place prize, $225 second-place prize, and $175 for third place. Honorable mentions receive the return of their $25 entry fee.

Sponsored by the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, the 27th annual contest is held in conjunction with "Ding" Darling Day on Oct. 20 at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

Article Photos

John Hoyt, of Lewes, Delware, won second place in the 2018 contest with his striking black-and-white portrait called “Female Anhinga.”

In an effort to maintain its commitment to the environment, DDWS will not accept photo contest entries by mail. The complete contest rules are as follows:

- There is a $25 per person entry fee that provides you with a membership to the Society and is used to defray the cost of the contest. One fee covers two entries per person.

- Only amateur (all ages) photographers are eligible to enter (may not possess a professional photographer tax identification number for the sale of photographs).

- Photos must be taken at the refuge and have been taken within two years of entry date.

- Each person may enter up to two photos but is eligible to win only one award. One $25 fee covers two entries per person.

- Photos must be submitted electronically via email to Each photo must be a JPEG file of at least 3000 x 2400 or 4 megabytes (MB). Panoramic photos are not allowed.

- Photos that have won awards in previous DDWS photo contests may not be resubmitted.

- Judging will be anonymous. Please do not put your name or anything that will identify you on your photograph.

- Judging criteria: Technical excellence (sharpness, lighting, composition, exposure); originality/creativity; interest; and ability to be reproduced for publication.

- Only limited image modifications are permitted. Minor manipulation should be used only to produce a more natural looking photograph. Cropping is allowed but adding any elements not existing in the original scene will not be accepted. Judges, at their discretion, will disqualify any photos that appear to be manipulated beyond these guidelines. All photo files will become the property of DDWS. Photos may be used by DDWS in any way with appropriate credit to the photographer.

- First, second, and third place winners and honorable mentions will be formally announced during the "Ding" Darling Day's weeklong celebration held in October. Cash prizes will be awarded: first place $300, second place $225, third place $175, honorable mentions $25.

- There are three judges: A refuge staff person, a professional photographer, and a member of the Sanibel community.

DDWS will announce winners and award prizes at "Ding" Darling Day.

For an entry form and more information, visit

Entries must be delivered by email to by Sept. 15. For assistance, call 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or email

Entrants can pay by sending a check made out to the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, P.O. Box 565, Sanibel, FL 33957, with a memo "for photo contest" or online at with a note in "gift comments" designating the donation as photo contest fees.



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