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‘Ding’s’ annual photo contest is back

By Staff | Jul 19, 2017

Tom Korbutt’s “My Sandy Look” won first place in 2016’s “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest. PHOTO PROVIDED

For the last 30 years, the refuge has held its annual “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest. The deadline for the contest, which began on Saturday, is Sept. 15.

This year, the photography contest is going green. All entries must be submitted via email.

“We’re all so excited about going green this year! Typically, we ask for entries to be mailed to us as 8×10 matted photographs. This always created a huge mess in our office, and the extraneous shipping materials will eventually end up in a landfill. To reduce the contest’s carbon footprint, we have asked photographers to email their photographs to eliminate the need for shipping entirely,” said Sierra Hoisington, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society community outreach and development intern.

Hoisington said that the contest was inspired by the late Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling.

“Conservation can be communicated in many different ways, as shown by political cartoonist turned conservationist, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. “Ding” saw the importance of conserving our lands and wildlife when almost no one else did. Inspired by “Ding’s” art that changed the conservation game, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society established an annual amateur nature photography contest to continue his message. Photography is used as an important educational tool to inspire visitors to become conservation stewards. An invaluable connection is made when a visitor sees a beautifully captured photograph, even if they weren’t able to see wildlife up-close,” Hoisington said.

To submit photos, email them to ddamateurphotocontest@gmail.com. The entry fee is $25 per person. The fee allows two entries per person and includes a membership to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society. The winners will be announced and awarded prizes at Conservation Art Day on Saturday, Oct. 22 during “Ding” Darling Days. First place will be awarded $200, second place will be awarded $150 and third place will be awarded $100. Honorable mentions will receive $25. Each photo must be a JPEG file of at least 2000 x 1500 or two megabytes. Panoramic pictures are not permitted.

The judges which are comprised of a refuge ranger, a professional photographer and a member of the community will be looking for technical excellence, originality, creativity, interest and the ability of the photo to be reproduced for publication.

“My favorite aspect of the contest is being able to see the Refuge through so many different eyes. These pictures serve as evidence of the impact the Refuge has made on a person. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge has quickly turned into one of my favorite places because it’s a beautiful environment to be a part of. You are constantly surrounded by magnificent flora and fauna, and hundreds of thousands of people that are trying to preserve, protect and appreciate it. The entries are a reminder of why we do what we do, and they carry on “Ding’s” legacy of conservation,” Hoisington said.

Contest rules are as follow:

* Only amateur (all ages) photographers are eligible to enter. Entrants 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 that have won awards in previous “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society photo contests cannot be resubmitted.

* Judging will be anonymous. Do not put your name or anything that will identify you on your photograph.

* Limited image modifications are permitted. (Cropping is allowed.)

* Entrants may not add extra elements in the photograph. Manipulation can cause disqualification. After submission, all photos will be come property of “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society. Photos may be used in any way with proper credit to the photographer.

For more information about the contest, call (239) 472-1100 ext. 4 or email shois@dingdarlingsociety.org. For the entry form, go to dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/photo-contests.