"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if the person viewing it
has a camera, everyone can share in the wonder," said Outdoor
Illinois director of photography Adele Hodde.
The magazine Outdooor Illinois, published by the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources, is seeking entries for its sixth
annual photo contest. This year's theme is "Prairie State Seasons."
"We really enjoy this contest every year," said Joel Brunsvold,
director of the Department of Natural Resources. "When we see the
beauty of our state revealed in this collection of photos, we are
reminded that it is an honor to be stewards of the natural resources
"Pictures should tell a story, educate and allow for the
enjoyment of the natural beauty of nature," said Hodde, who has
worked as a photographer through the transition from film to digital
images. "Whatever equipment you use, there are some basic guidelines
She offers these tips for taking
- Choose a focal point, and make all background scenery
- Use a tripod.
- Follow the rule of thirds when framing the image in your
viewfinder. Divide an image into three parts horizontally and
- Respect wildlife by viewing it from a safe distance. Do not
interrupt its behavior, whether it is feeding or resting. Do not
come between a parent and its offspring.
- Do not damage or remove any plant or habitat.
- Be patient -- wait for the ideal shot.
- Use a faster shutter speed when photographing animals in
motion, such as birds. Use a slower shutter speed when
photographing moving water, to create a softer image.
Photos submitted for the contest
must be taken in Illinois and will be judged in five categories:
- Wildlife, including underwater images of aquatic organisms
- Backyard, urban wildlife
- Scenic, floral
- Recreational activities
Take the camera with you on your hunting, fishing, biking,
boating or hiking expedition.
- Young shutterbugs
Qualifying photographs can be any of the above four categories
but must be taken by a photographer age 12 or younger.
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Contest winners receive prizes, and the winning photos will be
published in the February 2006 issue. The Best of Show winner will
receive a one-night weekday lodging package at Rend Lake Resort and
Lodge. The Illinois Conservation Foundation will provide a
custom-framed, signed and numbered limited-edition print by John S.
Eberhardt and two free tickets to the March 4, 2006, Illinois
Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet, where the recipient will be honored
and the winning photograph displayed. First- and second-place
winners will receive three-year and two-year subscriptions.
"Even photos that don't win the contest may still be published in
the magazine," said Kathy Andrews, editor of Outdoor Illinois. "We
may publish some of the other entries at other times in the
magazine. We also use photographs in the annual Outdoor Illinois
calendar. Credit is always given to the photographers who take the
pictures we use."
Beyond that, winning entries will be submitted for consideration
as the cover of the annual Illinois state parks guide, a free
publication produced by the American Park Network, with a
distribution of approximately 400,000 copies.
Photos submitted for the contest are limited to color or
black-and-white slides, prints, and digital images. Print images
must be unmounted and at least 5 by 7 inches but not more than 8 by
10 inches. Slides should be 35 mm, and medium or large
transparencies should be mounted. Digital images should be a minimum
of 2 megapixels, or 1,600 by 1,200 dpi, and must be submitted as a
All entries must be labeled with the photographer's name,
address, daytime phone number, e-mail address if applicable,
category, and when and where the photograph was taken. Contest
deadline is Aug. 5.
For additional information on the contest, visit
Department of Natural Resources news release]