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Ding Darling Amateur Photo Contest

Bird on a branch with a caterpillar in its mouth

Paul Brook’s “Mangrove Cuckoo with Moth Caterpillar.” DDWS photo


The submission process is now open for Ding Darling’s Annual Amateur Nature Photography Contest!

Sponsored by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, the annual J.N. “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest is open to non-professional photographers.  Winning photographs will be announced in conjunction with the annual “Ding” Darling Days, which will take place Oct. 12-14, 2018.

Please note a change from previous DDWS amateur photography contests: Entries must now be submitted electronically. In an effort to maintain their commitment of ecofriendliness, DDWS will no longer be accepting mailed-in photo contest entries.


• There is a $25.00 entry fee per person that provides you with a membership to the Society and is used to defray the cost of the contest. See payment instructions and details on the 2018 Entry Form.

• Only AMATEUR 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 National Wildlife Refuge and have been taken within 2 years of entry date.

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

• Photos must be submitted electronically via email to [email protected] Each photo must be a JPEG file of at least 3000 x 2400 at a resolution 300 DPI or 4 megabytes (MB). Panoramic photos are not allowed.

• 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

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

• All photo files will become the property of the Society, with proper photo credit given to the photographer.

• First, second, and third place winners and honorable mentions will be formally announced during the “Ding” Darling Day’s weekend-long celebration held in October and winners will be notified by October 2018. These photos will remain on display in the Refuge’s Free Visitor & Education Center until October 2019, where they will be seen by our 250,000 annual visitors.

• The DDWS will announce the winners on October 13, 2018 at Conservation Art Day. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners, which consist of $250 for first place, $150 for second place, $100 for third place and $25 for honorable mention. Last year, there were 10 honorable mentions.

The deadline to submit entries is September 15, 2018.

Entries must be emailed to [email protected].

For an entry form and complete rules, visit

For more information, contact 239-472-1100 ext. 256 or [email protected].


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