Countless memories are made at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas every year and in every season. The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks is encouraging amateur photographers to share those memories in its sixth annual photography contest, which runs through August.
Fourteen winning photos will be featured in the 2015 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks calendar, which will debut in late October.
The theme of this year’s contest is “Film the Fun,” with a focus on the many activities Wisconsin’s state properties have to offer.
“We’re looking in the contest for not just landscape entries, which is what has traditionally been submitted,” said Patty Loosen, state friends group liaison with the Department of Natural Resources. “There are lots of activities happening at Wisconsin state parks during the four seasons, so we’re asking for entries that include, in addition to the beautiful scenery, activities like geocaching, art in the park, stargazing, candlelight skis, kayaking, horseback riding and mountain biking.”
Loosen hopes to see submissions flood in from around the state. (Photo: This scene captured by Brian Wolf at Northern Highlands State Forest was among the winners of last year’s Friends of Wisconsin State Parks photography contest.)
“We try in our selection process to really spread it around, too, so it’s not always Peninsula and Devils Lake featured,” she said, naming two of the parks known for being photography hotspots.
Last year’s contest drew 350 entries. To be eligible, photos must have been taken since Jan. 1, 2012. Only horizontal photos will be accepted and enhancements should be limited to light edits.
“In the past we’ve said no alterations to the photos; this year we’re relaxing that a bit,” Loosen said. “We just won’t consider any that look unnatural.”
Professional photographers — those who make half their income from photography — are not eligible to win.
Contestants, who must be 14 years old or older, may submit up to four photos each.
Photos must be submitted online by Sunday, Aug. 31. A panel of FWSP board members and staff will select the winning photos. Winners will be notified in September and recognized at the FWSP annual awards banquet in October.
Loosen said the contest was founded partly to promote the parks but also as a FWSP fundraising project. Besides being available for purchase at select state park offices and online at www.fwsp.org, the calendar will again be distributed to the nearly 90,000 subscribers of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine in the December issue.
“This will be the second year we’ve partnered with the magazine,” Loosen said. “The extra exposure is really exciting, particularly for the photographers.”
Founded on the belief that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of conservation, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks was created to preserve, protect, promote and enhance Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.