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‘Ding’ Days photo contest now under way

By Staff | Jul 27, 2011

Cindy Ann Jones of Fort Myers took first place in last year’s “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest with her "Sunset with Birds."

July marks the opening of the 24th Annual “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest.

The contest, sponsored by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and held in conjunction with “Ding” Darling Days, Oct. 16-22, 2011, honors the birthday of Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, one of the foremost conservationists in American history and the driving force behind the eponymous J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Deadline for submission is 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15. Complete contest rules are listed below.

For an entry form and other contest information, log on to www.dingdarlingsociety.org and click on “Photo Contest.” Or contact DDWS at dingdarlingoffice@yahoo.com or 239-472-1100, ext. 233.

Winners will be announced and awarded prizes at Conservation Art Day on Saturday, Oct. 22, part of “Ding” Darling Days.

Entries may be delivered in person to J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR or by mail to “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, One Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957 (ATTN: Gary Ogden).

• 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.

• 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 J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR and have been taken within two years of entry date.

• Photos must be 8” x 10″ (or full frame 8” x 12″) with an 11” x 14″ mat. This will facilitate display in the Visitor Center. (Please – no hangers on the backs of photographs.) Frames are not permitted. Please include one 4X6 copy of entry.

• Each person may enter up to two photos but is eligible to win only one award.

• Photos that have won awards in previous “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society 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:

1) Technical excellence (sharpness, lighting, composition, exposure)

2) Originality/creativity

3) Interest

4) Ability to be reproduced for publication

• Digital photos are acceptable. However, only limited image modifications are permitted. Minor manipulation should only be used to produce a more natural looking photograph. Cropping is allowed but adding any elements not existing in the original scene will not be allowed. Judges, at their discretion, will disqualify any photos that appear to be manipulated beyond these guidelines.

• All photos will become the property of the Society and will not be returned. There is no need to include a return envelope or postage.

• The Refuge and Wildlife Society cannot be held responsible for loss or damage of photos.

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

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. Photos may be used by the Society in any way with appropriate credit.

“Ding” Darling Days 2011 sponsors include Doc Ford’s Sanibel Rum Bar & Grill, Ocean’s Reach, Times of the Island (TOTI) Media, Sundial Beach & Golf Resort, Bailey’s General Store, The Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry, Island Sun, Jerry’s Foods, Royal Shell, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, Jim and Patty Sprankle, ‘Tween Waters Inn, West Wind Inn, Mike and Terry Baldwin, Art and Susan Cassell, Bank of the Islands, Caloosa Tent, Matzaluna the Italian Kitchen, Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva, Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis, SanibelSusan Realty Associates, The Clem Werner Family, Big Red Q Quickprint, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP), Dan Hahn Custon Builders, George & Wendy’s Corner Grill, Island Therapy Center, Mast Family Culligan, Over Easy Cafe, Panther Printing, Re-Newal Water, Sanibel Art & Frame, She Sells Seashells, Suncatchers’ Dream, Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant, Traders Cafe, Winston and Barbara Spurgeon.

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.

To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Vertesch at 239-292-0566, 472-1100 ext. 4 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.