‘Ding’ Days Photo Contest Opens; Refuge Raises Award Prizes to Celebrate 75th

The opening of the 27th annual “Ding” Darling Day Amateur Nature Photography Contest is July 15. Deadline for submission is Sept. 15; all entries must be submitted electronically. This year, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the refuge, cash award prizes increase to $300 for first place, $225 for second, and $175 for third.

The contest, sponsored by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, is held in conjunction with “Ding” Darling Day, Oct. 20. Visit for complete details.

Complete contest rules are listed below. For an entry form and other contest information, visit DDWS will announce winners and award prizes at “Ding” Darling Day.

Entries must be delivered by email to by Sept. 15, 2019. For assistance, call 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or email Entrants can pay by sending a check made out to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, P.O. Box 565, Sanibel FL 33957, with a memo “for photo contest” or online at with a note in “gift comments” designating the donation as photo contest fees.

Note that entries must be submitted electronically. In an effort to maintain its commitment to the environment, DDWS will no longer be accepting photo contest entries by mail.

There is a $25 per person entry fee that provides you with a membership to the Society and is used to defray the cost of the contest. ONE FEE COVERS TWO ENTRIES PER PERSON.

Only AMATEUR (all ages) 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 NWR and have been taken within two years of entry date.

Each person may enter up to two photos but is eligible to win only one award. ONE $25 FEE COVERS TWO ENTRIES PER PERSON.

Photos must be submitted electronically via email to Each photo must be a JPEG file of at least 3000 x 2400 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
4) Ability to be reproduced for publication

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 accepted. Judges, at their discretion, will disqualify any photos that appear to be manipulated beyond these guidelines. All photo files will become the property of DDWS. Photos may be used by DDWS in any way with appropriate credit to the photographer.

First, second, and third place winners and honorable mentions will be formally announced during the “Ding” Darling Day’s weeklong celebration held in October. Cash prizes will be awarded: first place $300, second place $225, third place $175, honorable mentions $25.

There are three judges: A refuge staff person, a professional photographer, and a member of the Sanibel community.

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