Tag Archives: photography

A Photogenic State

DSCN0584If you have a spare picture or two of Minnesota’s beautiful natural environs, consider submitting it to the Minnesota Environmental Fund‘s 10,000 Reasons Why photo contest:

Images may show natural landscapes, farmland and working lands, wildlife, plant life, weather, people interacting with nature, or an image that reflects your environmental values…

Images must be accompanied by a statement (less that 30 words) that describes how the image submitted represents the reason you choose to protect Minnesota’s environment.

The deadline for submission is June 21. You can submit photos either via email or Flickr (use Flickr!). The contest is being sponsored by REI, which I believe will be donating prizes. More information, rules, etc. are available on the MEF Web site. Let me know if you have submit a photo or if you have any questions.

The MEF is a great organization that essentially collects money from citizens through workplace giving campaigns and distributes the funds to several worthy causes around the state. They are a significant source of funding for many of Minnesota’s shining stars of conservation.

Full disclosure: I assisted MEF in setting up certain components of the contest. I am also on the board of a non-profit organization that receives funds from MEF.

Local Photographer Makes Good in Nature Conservancy Contest

Fishing on Slough Creek, Yellowstone National ParkBack in December, I posted about The Nature Conservancy‘s photo contest (I thought they were showing some real “Web 2.0″ acumen). I even included some of my photos in the post, which a couple of you urged me to enter. Well, I did and today I have great news!

I did not win.

But, a fellow Minnesotan did!

That’s right, of approximately 15,000 photos submitted by more than 2,000 photographers, representing amazing wildlife and natural areas on probably just about every continent, Curt Preuss of Rochester won the “Best Photo from a Conservancy Preserve” category. Congratulations!

The shot of a grasshopper sparrow, taken at the Conservancy’s Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area, is really stunning. An incredible capture and a beautiful image.

Not to boast, but this just reinforces something I already knew: that Minnesota is full of beautiful places and creatures, as well as people who truly appreciate it.

Only further impressing me with their ability to use this contest to engage their members, the Conservancy has opened up voting for the “People’s Choice Awards.” Vote now! (It’s a great excuse to look at some beautiful nature photos.)

Another Nature Photo Contest

The World

Quite randomly, I picked up a pretty magazine laying on my parents’ coffee table on Christmas Eve. The magazine was the inaugural issue of “Parks,” the magazine of the National Park Foundation. What was random was the blurb I read in the magazine announcing their “Share The Experience” photo contest, which was reminiscent of The Nature Conservancy’s photo contest I mentioned on Friday.

The deadline is Dec. 31, which doesn’t leave much time, but if you have a nice photo from one of our national parks (or any “official federal recreation lands”), it might be worth submitting.


This photo contest is related to the new America The Beautiful pass, which is threatening some dedicated funding to the National Park Service and will hinder public access to public lands, so I’m still trying to decide what I think of it and if I want to participate.

Policy issues aside, please forgive a few very geeky criticisms. If you aren’t interested in Web communications, design, usability or in “social media,” stop reading now (but scroll down to see one more pretty photo :)).

As an aside in Friday’s post about The Nature Conservancy’s contest, I said I thought it was “a great idea and an encouraging example of a major conservation organization adopting ‘social web’ ideas to resounding success.” The NPF contest stands in stark contrast to that. They are exhibiting all the tendencies of an archaic way of operating on the Web.

The Conservancy is using the immensely-popular, powerful and easy-to-use photo sharing site Flickr to power their contest, thus showing not only an admirable “Web 2.0″ acumen but also creating lasting opportunities for engagement with participants. And not just any participants, but the type of wired nature lovers whose numbers are rapidly increasing and who are likely to be impressed by an old-school conservation organization such as the Conservancy following them to their online spaces.

On the other hand, the NPF contest requires a cumbersome, fine-print-laden process to submit one single photo, and of course you have to give them all your information and refuse offers for their e-mail (and sponsor) spam. And nothing says “good user interface” like clicking a “Continue” button and the browser window closing without warning.

It’s not exactly related, but it’s just silly that on the NPF homepage they link to two other domains, one for the photo contest (sharetheexperience.org) and one for their magazine (parksmagazine.org). Yes, it’s become cheap and easy to buy and maintain several domains, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Talk about losing a sense of cohesion on their site and any sense of a consistent brand.

I’m done ranting now. Back to dreaming about the sound of the wind rushing down from the ridges above the valley, the sight of cutthroats slipping through the water.

Fisherman and Elk Shed

(All photos in this post were taken in the Slough Creek meadows in Yellowstone National Park last September… one of the great paradises of my life.)

Nature Conservancy’s Photo Contest


I urge you to check out The Nature Conservancy‘s first ever photo competition. For those nature photographers out there, this is a cool (and free) contest. For everyone, it’s simply an amazing collection of photos of natural areas all over the globe.

“The Conservancy invites you to enter your stunning nature images in our first-ever digital photography competition.

We’re looking for beautiful nature photography representing the diversity of life on Earth. Your own original digital images of our lands, waters, plants, animals and people in nature are all eligible for the competition.

How to Enter

Images can be submitted to one of two categories: Best Nature Photo or Best Photo from a Conservancy Preserve.

To enter one or more images, upload your photo(s) to the Conservancy’s free public group on Flickrâ„¢ and tag them for the appropriate category.”

I’m not sure if the Conservancy was anticipating such a response. There’s already more than 8,000 photos from 1,500 members. That’s going to be a heck of a judging chore. Nonetheless, I think it’s a great idea and an encouraging example of a major conservation organization adopting “social web” ideas to resounding success.

The contest is open until Dec. 31.