LPA Nature Competition - October 17, 2023

On October 17, 2023, Lancaster Photography Association is having a Nature Photo competition. Judging will take place at the Antelope Valley Senior Center. You may enter up to 3 images for the $5.00 fee. Submit your entries here.

We encourage all our members to participate in our competitions as a way of getting feedback on your photography and learning ways to improve! I’m sure we all have some great nature images, so make sure you enter!

Our judge will be Joanne Stolte, who does an amazing job judging Nature photography!

The Nature class is reality-based. The definition below is long, but will help you decide which of your images will work best for this Class. In short, no man-made objects, no cloning or replacing backgrounds, realistic editing, 3-4 pixel white/gray border only (optional), no flowers except as background for insect/bird/animal as subject (excepting wildflowers).

Don’t forget to renew your membership (if you haven’t already) when you log in to enter your photos!

DEADLINE: Tuesday, October 10 at 11:59 p.m.

DEFINITION: The story-telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement. Something that exists in nature: insects, butterflies, spiders, trees and leaves, etc., Nature can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food.

Photographs of all flowers and plant blossoms, hybrid or not, in any stage of development (including buds, seedpods, fruit, etc.) are ineligible - unless they are acting as an adopted habitat for eligible living organisms that are the main focus of the image*. However, small flowers may be included provided they are incidental to the main subject of the image.

* Such as a bee in the wild pollinating in a flower, its adopted habitat for the purpose.

SEE Note: “Restoration of the appearance of the original scene” may include techniques such as HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning provided they do not alter the contents of the original scene and the result looks natural.

SEE Border: Borders are optional, but must be 3 or 4 pixels in width and must be white or a shade of gray.

With regard to the definition of Nature Photography: (scroll down for specific comments on digital processing)

The definition prohibits human elements that are not an integral part of the nature story. Human elements are not limited to people or parts of people in the image. Human elements that can cause images to be disqualified, or at best scored low, include but are not limited to:

  • Roads, paths, vehicle tracks, or trails
  • Fences and fence posts
  • Signs
  • Power Poles
  • Wires
  • Buildings (or parts of buildings)
  • Walls or parts of walls
  • Mowing and plowing patterns in fields
  • Cut tree stumps, cut off limbs, branches or stems
  • Jesses and thongs on legs of raptors and other birds (these are not scientific banding)

The definition does include some examples of human elements that are integral parts of the nature story. Other examples of allowable human elements include:

  • Birds nesting or feeding young on or in man-made objects.
  • Insects depositing eggs or egg sacs in man-made objects.
  • Animals eating fresh kills on fence posts, pilings, in roadways, etc.
  • A flood with raging water with a house or other human element floating in the flood.
  • A tornado ripping apart buildings or throwing around human elements. Such “natural force” examples show nature stories where the natural forces are out of control.

The keys are whether the judge considers the human element integral to the story and considers the nature story to be strong.

The definition specifically lists domestic animals, including those that have gone feral, as not being allowed. Domestic animals are animals, such as horses, cats, dogs, poultry, cattle and sheep, that have been tamed and kept by humans as work animals, food sources, or pets, especially members of those species that have become notably different from their wild ancestors through selective breeding.

This particular restriction does eliminate just about all the “wild” horses in the world since those in the Americas, Europe and Western Asia are feral domestic horses, not true wild horses. The only true eligible horse is the rare Przewalski’s Horse also known as the Mongolian Wild Horse. Zebras, kiangs and onagers (wild asses) are also valid eligible members of the horse family.

It also reinforces the exclusion of any Llamas and Alpacas because those have always been domestic animals and have no ancestors that were never domesticated.

All Koi and goldfish are hybrids and are not allowed.

Cultivated plants, those that are grown specifically in decorative gardens and for food are not allowed.
Wildflowers (that are not hybrids) planted in botanical gardens are allowed subjects in Nature in the same manner that wild animals in zoos are allowed subjects.

“Slow” water (longer exposures) is allowed.

Star trail images created through the superimposition of multiple images (such as circumpolars) are not allowed, regardless of whether any human-created lighting is present.

With regard to digital processing in Nature Photography:

The definition does not allow replacing the background of the image, adding additional content from another image, or cloning out content from your original image. This restriction of cloning out content includes what may appear inconsequential, such as a blade of grass in front of an animal’s face. Also cloning elements already in the image and making additional copies of those elements is the same as adding elements and is not allowed.

Adding pictorial elements to the image or removing pictorial elements from the image is not permitted.

Adjustments are allowed that enhance the image without changing the content, including: exposure (globally and selectively), color balance, contrast, sharpening (globally and selectively), noise reduction, conversion to greyscale monochrome (with no color added), straightening, resizing, and cropping.

Deliberately blurring the background is not allowed.

Adding a vignette not originally produced by the camera is not allowed.

The overriding requirement for any of the allowed adjustments is that the results must appear natural to the viewer (the maker is not the viewer – the viewer is the judge!).

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