2021 Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest

The 18th Annual Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Contest is now closed. 

All winners will be featured in the department’s 2022 wall calendar and published in the Maryland Natural Resource magazine. All entries must be submitted online.

Winners will be notified in September before the announcement is made on our website newsroom and social media outlets.

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl
2020 Grand Prize Winner: Red Morph Eastern
Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma


The four contest categories are seasonal: 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 suggest you follow the following guidelines when selecting a subject matter: Birds, Insects, Flora, Recreation, Scenic Landscapes, Weather and Wonder, and Wildlife. Photos that highlight native species (plants, animals, insects) 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 also be printed in the calendar and magazine.


  1. An entry fee of $10 for up to three photos and $3 for each additional entry must be paid with your submission. The number of photos you can submit is unlimited.
  2. All photos must be original.
  3. Photos (or parts thereof) previously published online or in print by a third party are not eligible. This includes print outlets and professional websites/social media accounts. Images you’ve shared on your own personal pages are eligible.
  4. All photos must be landscape in orientation.
  5. Photos must be clear, with the highest resolution possible. Specifics are below:
    • 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.

  6. 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.
  7. Photos must be named correctly to enter. Name photos in a Subject_Title by Name format. Example: Flora_Sunflowers in Bloom by John Smith.jpg.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. This offer is void where prohibited by law.
  11. 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.

The contest is now closed for entries. Check back to see the winners of the 2021 photo contest. 


Grand Prize Winner (Overall)
$500; one-year Maryland State Park Passport; two-year subscription to the Maryland Natural Resource magazine; five copies of the 2022 calendar; image on the cover

Three First Place Winners (winter, spring, summer, fall, minus the Grand Prize Winner)
2021 Maryland State Park Passport; two-year subscription to the Maryland Natural Resource magazine; five copies of the 2022 calendar

Four Second Place Winners (winter, spring, summer, fall)
One-year subscription to the Maryland Natural Resource magazine; five copies of the 2022 calendar

Four Third Place Winners (winter, spring, summer, fall)
One copy of the 2022 calendar with winning photo published

Please direct any questions to photocontest.dnr@maryland.gov


2020 Result

Nearly 2,500 photos were submitted by 475 photographers in last year’s contest. Read all about it and check out the winning images.​