The 20th Annual Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Contest is open!
All winners will be featured in the department’s 2024 wall calendar and published in
The Maryland Natural Resource magazine. Enter now for your chance to win cash, park passports, calendars, and other prizes! All entries must be submitted online.
The contest is judged by season: winter, spring, summer, and fall. First, second, and third place winners are selected for each seasonal category.
As this is a natural resources-focused contest, we offer the following subject matter subcategories within each season:
- Weather and Wonder, and
Please name photo files correctly before entering the contest. Unnamed photos could be disqualified. Name photos in a Subcategory_Title by Name format. Example: Landscapes_Chesapeake Sunrise by Ansel Adams.jpg.
Photos that highlight native species will be given preference in selection.
In addition to the winners chosen by the department there will be a “Fan Favorite” selected by popular vote on Facebook. The photo with the most “likes” will be printed in the calendar and magazine.
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- An entry fee of $10 for up to three photos and $3 for each additional entry must be paid with your submission.
- All photos must be original.
- Winning photos will be published by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. For this reason, photographers must own the work they enter in the contest. Photos (or parts thereof) owned by a third party are not eligible. Images you’ve shared on your own personal website are eligible.
- All photos must be landscape in orientation.
- Photos must be clear, with the highest resolution possible. Specifics are below:
Do not submit heavily manipulated/over-processed images. All images should accurately represent the subject matter. Images with heavy effects, including unnatural saturation, exposure, or contrast, will not be considered. Images with watermarks will be disqualified. Focus stacking (taking multiple photos at one time and place) that does not compromise the image’s character is accepted, but merging two different images or superimposing objects is not.
Photos must be named correctly to enter. Name photos in a Subcategory_Title by Name format. Example: Landscapes_Chesapeake Sunrise by Ansel Adams.jpg.Photographers from any state may participate, but all photos must be taken in Maryland. Employees of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and their immediate families are not eligible to enter.The department will make selections based on the quality, composition, content, originality, creativity, and mass appeal. Decisions are final and in sole and absolute discretion of the department.This offer is void where prohibited by law.Photographers authorize the department to distribute their image(s) for non-commercial purposes with photo credits—including but not limited to education and news purposes—to other media, print, digital, online services, and television for their use. Photographers retain copyright to these photos, the above agreed to permissions not withstanding.* *Per our terms, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources may post photos online—including the department’s website and social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr—after the contest. Do not embed any nonessential personal data (metadata) into your files.
- Winning entries are printed in a standard-size wall calendar edge-to-edge at 11 x 8.5 inches. In terms of aspect ratio, a 4:3 aspect ratio is the best fit for this layout. Images that are outside of those dimensions may be cropped and adjusted to fit the print format.
- For a print measuring 8.5 x 11 inches, ideal resolution is a minimum of 3300 x 2550 pixels at 300 dpi or higher.
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How to Enter
- Entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. (EST) on Aug. 1, 2023.
- After you have
paid the entry fee fill out the entry form here and upload your image. You must fill out an entry form for each photo. Before you upload, please name each photo in a Name photos in a Subcategory_Title by Name format. Example: Landscapes_Chesapeake Sunrise by Ansel Adams.jpg. Photos must be named correctly to enter.
The contest is open to all photographers, except for employees of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and their immediate families.
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Grand Prize Winner (Overall)
$500; one-year Maryland State Park Passport; two-year subscription to the Maryland Natural Resource magazine; five copies of the 2024 calendar with your winning image on the cover.
Three First Place Winners (winter, spring, summer, fall, minus the Grand Prize Winner)
Maryland State Park Passport; two-year subscription to the Maryland Natural Resource magazine; five copies of the 2024 calendar
Four Second Place Winners (winter, spring, summer, fall)
One-year subscription to the Maryland Natural Resource magazine; five copies of the 2024 calendar.
Four Third Place Winners (winter, spring, summer, fall)
One copy of the 2024 calendar with winning photo published.
Nearly 2,500 photos were submitted by 500 photographers in last year’s contest.
Read all about it and check out the
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do We Charge an Entry Fee?
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources started the photo contest in 2003. It was created to do two things: give photographers the ability to showcase their craft to a large audience and enable DNR to build a photo library for use in celebrating and showcasing the beauty of Maryland's precious natural resources.
Initial feedback from photographers suggested the $10 entry fee for three photographs. Several years after the contest began, photographers wanted to enter more than three images. We sought contest entrants' feedback and settled on an additional $3 per extra photo beyond the initial entry. Entry fees are designed to help reduce the number of "non-serious" submissions, allowing us to focus our time and resources on carefully taken and submitted photographs that are more likely to win the contest.
These fees, along with the sales of our calendar and magazine, help offset the cost of production of The Maryland Natural Resource calendar and magazines, in addition to contest prize money, but do not entirely cover expenses.
Who Judges the Contest?
We judge with a panel of department staff, which includes photography experts as well as people with expertise in all things DNR. Last year we had a seven-judge panel that included wildlife, insects/flora, parks, fisheries, communications, and photography experts. Our judges volunteer their time to choose the best of thousands of amazing photos in a days-long process of ranking and discussing submitted photographs.
Can I Enter Photos from Previous Years?
Yes! Photos must be taken in Maryland, but date taken does not matter.
Please direct any other questions to:
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