Hope is the Thing With Feathers

The Missouri River Bird Observatory’s second annual photo contest continues with the theme of HOPE and refers to the famous poem by Emily Dickinson.  We believe that birds inspire people with awe, happiness, and connection to the natural world.  The goals of this contest are to reach as many people as possible with beautiful images of birds and to raise funds in support of MRBO’s on-going education and outreach programs.  

For photographers, this is a chance to contribute to conservation education in Missouri, reach a wider audience with your photography, and have a chance to win cash prizes!  The Missouri River Bird Observatory invites you to submit your favorite bird photo to our Hope is the Thing With Feathers photography contest.  The contest runs from November 1st to December 31st, 2017.  The top 50 photos will be printed on canvas and displayed as an educational exhibit at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site Visitors Center in February and March, 2018.  Canvases will be offered for sale at the Audubon Society of Missouri’s Spring Meeting in May.  Proceeds from contest entry fees benefit the Missouri River Bird Observatory’s education program.  Proceeds from canvas sales benefit both the MRBO education program and the Audubon Society of Missouri conservation mission.  

Entry fees are $25 per photo for adults, and $10 per photo for youth aged 10-17.  

Photography Contest Prizes
Grand Prize: $1,000
1st Place: $500
2nd Place: $200
3rd Place: $100
Directors’s Choice: $100. 
Youth (10-17 years of age as of 11/1/17): $100

We are very grateful to our sponsor, Wood & Huston Bank, for their generous support of the contest prizes! 

Please read the submission guidelines and contest rules below.

Hope is the Thing With Feathers 
Photography Contest Rules
1. Photographs must have been taken in Missouri.
2. All photos must contain bird life (i.e. contain at least one bird).  The bird or birds depicted must be wild birds depicted in a natural setting (i.e. no domesticated or pet birds; no birds in hand captured as part of banding operations or birds in rehabilitation facilities).
3. Images must not be enhanced or digitally altered beyond standard optimization (minor cropping and color correction). You may be required to provide MRBO with RAW image files in the timeframe provided upon request (generally within 7 days).  
4. Photographs must have been obtained ethically.  MRBO adheres to the National Audubon Society’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography. Please read this guide prior to contest submission.
5. Current and former employees of MRBO are not eligible to enter.
6. Contest is open only to amateur photographers.  Those who make more than $5,000 a year from their work as a photographer are not eligible.
7. All submitted images may be used by MRBO, with credit given to the photographer, in future publications and social media; the photographer also retains the rights to use/publish each photo.
8. By submitting a photograph, you affirm that you are the sole author and own all rights to the photo.
9.  Deadline for photo submission is 11:59 p.m. CST, December 31st, 2017.
10. THE TOP 50 photographs submitted will be printed on canvas and displayed, along with the photographer’s name and conservation description, at the Arrow Rock State Historic Visitors Center in February and March, 2018.
11. Photos on canvas will be offered for sale at the Audubon Society of Missouri Spring Meeting in Arrow Rock in May, 2018.  Net proceeds from sales will be split by MRBO and ASM, organizations with similar bird conservation missions.

Photographs will be judged on the basis of content (20 points), composition (20 points), technical and artistic quality (20 points), originality (20 points), and conservation relevance (20 points).  Photographs are judged anonymously (i.e. the judges will not know the name of the photographer).  The decisions of the judges will be final.

Submission Instructions
We have streamlined the submission process for 2017.
You can submit your photo(s), contact information and conservation description at http://mrbo.org/photosubmit/

Please submit images in .jpeg format.  Images must be close to 2400 pixels wide (for horizontal Photographs) or 2400 pixels tall (for vertical Photographs) at 72 dpi.

The contest entry fee is $25 per submitted photo; $10 for youth.  You will be linked to Paypal once you have filled out the form and uploaded your photo(s) at http://mrbo.org/photosubmit/.  You will receive an email response for your submissions.  If you do not receive a response within 72 hours, please email dana.ripper@mrbo.org to advise.

Our judges include:
Karen Avery Miller
Artist; The Little Studio and Gallery

Noppadol Paothong
Missouri Department of Conservation photographer; Noppadol Paothong Nature Images

David Stonner
Missouri Department of Conservation photographer; David Stonner Photo Journal

Tim Hickok
Flint Hills Falcons, falconer

Steve Garr
Missouri Bluebird Society, founder/president; Birds-I-View, owner

The Director’s Choice award will be selected by MRBO Co-Director Ethan Duke (Dana Ripper will be accepting and compiling the contest entries and therefore would not be able to judge anonymously).