After college, I worked as a journalist for five years, and although most of the position revolved around writing I also had the opportunity to take photos for several stories.
Some of my favorite photo times were when I got to go for a walk in nature and just be quiet and soak in the beauty around me, waiting for a bird or other wild creature to stop by.
Those photos started to open my eyes, and then when I was walking or driving, I would start to see more and more of the striking scenes around me: a group of does feeding in a harvested corn field, the sun gleaming off the ice on a chilly morning, a wild turkey barely visible as it struts along a forest line.
I know I’m not the only person who notices these beautiful scenes and wants to capture those moments in time. Amateur and professional photographers around the world center so many images on the majesty of nature and the gracefulness of wild animals. I bet you have several photos sitting in your SD card or saved on the computer or uploaded to a photo-sharing site. We want those pictures!
As a part of the Dickinson County Nature Center’s new Art & Nature series, we’re holding a photography contest all about the environment and humanity’s connection to it.
“We are excited to offer the public a chance to explore their view of the world,” said Karess Knudtson, our environmental education coordinator. “Photography is a fun and accessible way to get outdoors. This photo contest is for all of you. Show us your beautiful shots so we can display them while celebrating the beauty and diversity of Dickinson County.” Images should highlight the diversity of life on Earth, including wildlife in its natural habitat, the relationship between people and nature, plant life, weather, landscapes and seasons.
All photos must have been taken in the last year at one of the Dickinson County Conservation Board’s areas: Horseshoe Bend Wildlife Area, 1924 240th St., Milford; Judd Wildlife Area, 1987 250th St., Milford; Kenue Park, 2251 170th St., Okoboji; Ainsworth-Orleans Beach, 25040 140th St., Spirit Lake; Superior Marsh Wildlife Area, 3380 130th St., Superior; or Westport Park, 1175 230th St., Everly.
Each of these places has such unique aspects that are wonderful to experience and will lend really well to being captured on film, or on an SD card more likely.
Horseshoe Bend Wildlife Area has acre upon acre of trails that wind through Little Sioux River valley. Judd Wildlife Area features a softwood forest, open meadows and plenty of native animals. Kenue Park is known for its natural oak savannah and glacial kame that offers a beautiful overlook of the area.
Ainsworth-Orleans Beach sits on the shore of Big Spirit Lake, and Westport Park has a beauty all its own with trees and a pond. Superior Marsh features open expanses and is a fine example of marsh and upland habitat.
Photographs are due by April 1 and will be classified into three age groups: 13 and younger, 14-18, or 19 and older. All submitted images will be on display at the nature center through August.
Winners in each age group will be notified via e-mail by April 15. Their images will be featured prominently in the photography display at the Dickinson County Nature Center, as the nature center’s June Facebook cover photo and on the nature center’s website. Winners will also receive a $5 gift certificate to the Nature Store at the nature center.
How to enter Photographers may enter one photo 5-15 MB in size to email@example.com labeled as firstnamelastname_location, for example johnsmith_horseshoebend. Photos should be jpeg, png or tiff files. In the body of the e-mail, include the photographer’s name, location of the photo, approximate date taken, age of photographer, city of residence and a short photo caption.
All images should display content appropriate for all ages. Please do not include photographs of pets or domestic animals, the willful harassment of wildlife, damage to the environment by the photographer, photos that put any individual or animal in danger or images that infringe on the rights of another photographer or person.
Photographers retain all rights to their images except for use by Dickinson County Conservation.
For more information, contact 712-336-6352, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website or stop by the Dickinson County Nature Center, 2279 170th St. in Okoboji 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.