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Shell Museum hosts amateur live mollusk photography competition

By Staff | Sep 23, 2010

Shell Museum Public Relations Manager Kathleen Hoover gets in a few practice shots of a thorny oyster.

Until the first week of November, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum will be accepting entries for a very special photography competition with a spotlight on — what else — live mollusks!

As long as the photographer is not a professional, the Museum encourages all entrants to capture the world of live mollusks in their natural habitats in whatever creative ways they can think of.

“The photography contest is an outreach initiative that provides a perfect venue for generating interest and enthusiasm in live mollusks,” said Museum Public Programs Specialist Diane Thomas. “Since the collection of live mollusks is banned in Lee County, capturing images is a wonderful way for the public to learn more about the creatures that actually make the shells. Over the years, Shell Museum enthusiasts have provided the museum with their favorite photographs — we would like to add to that collection and display winning entries on our website and in the Museum lobbies.”

For the Museum, this contest is just another way to further their educational mission.

“So many people really don’t understand that there is an animal in the shell. Sometimes they think of a shell the way they do a rock — it’s just kind of there. A shell is different because it has a living animal inside,” said Shell Museum Public Relations Manager Kathleen Hoover. “Through our adopt-a-class program, we have kids in Fort Myers that don’t have a clue. Some of them, believe it or not, have never been to the beach. Even among those that have been to the beach, there are a great many of them that don’t understand shells.”

The Museum will accept entries until Nov. 8, and this year’s winners will be announced during the week of the Museum’s 15th anniversary, Nov. 15 through 19.

Winning entries will be posted on the Museum’s website and Facebook page, and displayed in the Museum’s ground floor lobby.

Entries will be judged on technical excellence (sharpness, lighting, composition, exposure), originality and creativity, interest, adequacy to eventual publication and, if applicable, adequate use of image processing software (e.g., Photoshop).

A registration form, which can be found on the main page of the Museum’s website, must be completed and emailed with each entry.

All submissions and entry forms should be sent to Diane Thomas, dothomas@shellmuseum.org‘>dothomas@shellmuseum.org‘>dothomas@shellmuseum.org‘>dothomas@shellmuseum.org.

“There are a lot of creative people that like to capture the natural world and when someone is drawn to a creative event like this, that might start a relationship with the Shell Museum that could become something else, like becoming a member or a volunteer,” Hoover said. “Our hope is that, in addition to it being a fun event, education will take place and that we’ll develop a relationship that will grow. And you never know, we might find some undiscovered talent in this competition.”

And Hoover wants to make sure that everyone who submits a photograph follows the rules exactly so they aren’t disqualified.

For a complete listing of the rules, go to www.ShellMuseum.org‘>www.ShellMuseum.org‘>www.ShellMuseum.org‘>www.ShellMuseum.org.