Date - December 17, 2020
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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Members’ Photo Night and Contest

Members' Photo Night and Contest
Speaker: Steve Mattan


Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Pemaquid Point, Maine


Here is all the information you should need in order to understand and, hopefully, enter this year’s Photo Contest! All photographs submitted will be shown in a Power Point presentation on Photo Night, as long as they conform to the guidelines below.  All decisions of the judges are final.

And, even if you do not submit any photos, the information below should get you fired up to become a more informed viewer on Photo Night!

At a Glance:

  • Date: December 17, 2019 @ 7:00pm – 9:30pm
  • Submission Deadline: November 30, 2020 @ 11:59pm
  • Submission Email Address:
  • Photo Categories: Birds, Flora, Fauna, Scenery, Birders, DVOC Area – total of 17 photos
  • Image Resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels


Categories and Definitions

  1. Birds: Photos of birds. Judges will prefer photos of live, wild birds that are free and unrestrained.
  2. Fauna: Photos of animals that are not birds. Photos of free and unrestrained living, wild animals will be favored by the judges.
  3. Flora: Photos of plants (including but not limited to flowers, fungi, algae and other life forms that are not animals). Flora photographed in its native habitat will be preferred by the judges. Photographs of seeds, spores, pinecones and other propagules qualify for this category.
  4. Scenery: Photos in this category will capture elements of the great outdoors and not rely upon their subject matter being alive. This is a catch-all category that includes such subjects as landscapes, skies and weather, astronomical photography, rock formations and other landscape elements, rocks, fossils, bones, shells, pollen, fallen leaves, crystals, water, roads, paths, signage, etc. Essentially, these are nonliving subjects that might be encountered while birding, hiking or on an outing for outdoor photography. If plants or animals are within these photos, the photos will only be judged on how well the photos succeed in terms of the inanimate subject matter, and any live plants and animals will be treated as part of the scenery.
  5. Birders: Photographs of birders and/or nature photographers.
  6. DVOC Area: Photographs of birds taken within the DVOC area (S.E. PA, NJ, DE). Description must include location information, date, and species information.

Maximum Submissions per Member is 17 photos:

  1. Birds: 5 photos
  2. Fauna: 2 photos
  3. Flora: 2 photos
  4. Scenery: 2 photos
  5. Birders: 2 photos
  6. DVOC Area: 4 photos (increased from 2 in past years)


  • Only club members are eligible to submit photos. Members may only submit their own work for the competition; though, members can submit images to share with the club that were taken by nonmembers. Such photos are ineligible for the competition, but still count towards that member’s maximum allowed submissions for the photo’s category.
  • Contest judges and the organizer/compiler are ineligible for the competition, but may submit images to share with the club on Photo Night. Even contest judges who are not DVOC members may submit images to share during Photo Night, but their total number of submissions is also seventeen.
  • Photos submitted during prior Photo Contest years are ineligible for the 2020 Contest.
  • Photos may have been taken in any year. The competition is not limited to photos taken during the year of the competition, as long as they were never previously submitted.
  • Winning photos will be displayed as low-resolution versions on the DVOC website. Entering photos into the contest constitutes consent for the DVOC to publish these low-resolution versions on the DVOC website. Winners may also want to consider submitting winning photos to Cassinia for publication, though this is entirely optional.


The deadline for submission of ALL of your photos is November 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM.  Thus–please note, IF you send photos ON December 1st, that will be too late!

Submit all photos by email to this year’s organizer/compiler, Steve Mattan, at:

Please do not include your name or a personal watermark within the actual photographic images you submit for the contest.  Judging will be performed blindly, and submissions of such marked photos may necessitate obscuring such identifying marks, which is time-consuming and can affect the overall appearance and impact of your photos.

Please include the following information with each photo (as “metadata,” not within the photographic image itself!):

  1. Category for the photo: Birds, Flora, Fauna, Scenery, Birders, or DVOC Area
  2. Title of the photo
  3. Brief description of the subject of the photo
  4. Location of the photo

Image Resolution

Since these photos will be embedded in a Power Point, the recommended photographic resolution is 1024 x 768 (photos can be smaller on one axis or another, but the resolution should be ≤ 0.787 megapixels). To avoid any unwanted compression artifacts in submitted photos, members are advised to submit a photo that fits within this resolution. Any images submitted at higher resolution may be at a disadvantage during judging and may not be projected optimally during Photo Night. For those submitting images at higher resolution, the judges recommend that members also submit copies of the image that will fit within the typical monitor screen’s resolution of 1024 x 768. If photos of this resolution are not submitted, the organizer/compiler will need to produce a compressed, lower resolution photo for the Power Point–but that is time-consuming, and preferably will not be required.


  1. The Steve Kacir Memorial Award for Photographic Achievement: judges will first determine the winner of the Grand Prize, “The Steve Kacir Memorial Award for Photographic Achievement.” The photo that wins this category will be considered the overall “best in show” among all contest submissions. While the winning photo would have won first place within the subject category to which it was submitted, and because this photo will be given this special top prize, the First Place prize in the Kacir Award winner’s photo category will still be open in the general competition .
  2. The Avocet Award for Artistic Achievement: the second major prize to be awarded will be “The Avocet Award for Artistic Achievement.” This award will honor a qualifying photo that transcends the conventions of wildlife or nature photography in terms of mere documentation. Instead, a competitive photo will approach its subject matter in a manner that illustrates a unique artistic vision for the subject in its photographic approach, and will only be awarded to honor an appropriately artistic photograph. A photo that wins the Avocet Award is still eligible for a First Place, Second Place or Third Place Award within its particular category.
  3. From the remaining pool of entrants, winners of First Place, Second Place and Third Place awards for each category will be chosen, and Honorable Mentions may also be awarded, at the discretion of the judges.


Prizes are yet to be determined, but will be announced as they become finalized through discussions between the DVOC Vice President and DVOC Treasurer.

Judging Process

The details on the judging process may change as needed, but the process will essentially follow the description below.

The photos will be organized and submitted to the judges so they will not have knowledge of the identities of the photographers. Judging will be performed blind, so that photographs are judged on their merit, and without bias.

Our volunteer judges for 2020 are Linda Timlin, Judy Stepenaskie, and Patrick McGill. Judging will take place at the discretion of the judges, with guidance from the compiler/organizer, but will occur no later than the Sunday preceding Photo Night.

Judging Criteria

While judging photos is necessarily a subjective matter, it is in the best interest of the Club, the organizer and judges, and the Photo Contest entrants to have some delineation of artistic and photographic elements relevant to the judging process. These elements essentially fall into a few somewhat overlapping categories that are listed below. Keep in mind, these are not meant to be all-inclusive lists and no single photograph is likely to include all the components listed below.

  1. Photographic Competency: Lighting, Focus, Exposure, Depth of Field
  2. Artistic Competency: Lighting, Composition, Distance to Subject, Color, Texture, Rule of Thirds or other Appropriate Compositional Style for the subject matter, Interconnectedness of Compositional Elements, Depth of Imagery and/or Depth of Field, Background Choice. Elements of composition can include such items as pattern, symmetry, texture, lines to train the eye, framing, perspective, sense of depth & space, and balance.As a helpful hint, past judges have noted particular issues with photos that were cropped as squares – choosing such an aspect ratio can be especially challenging. Unless there is an artistic reason to crop a photo as a square, the judges recommend avoiding such an aspect ratio.   Similarly, cropping a very small element out of a larger photo – regardless of original photo resolution – will often result in an image that is not competitive. This can be due to a flat look of the subject matter, lack of resolution of fine details, odd perspective, or introduction of artifacts by the camera or editing process. Feel free to submit such photos, as they almost always will still look great when they are projected for the photo night. However, if you are feeling competitive, choose photos that don’t need much cropping of the original image.
  3. Photographic voice: Lighting, Storytelling, Capturing a Moment, Use of Color, Perspective, Viewpoint, Experimentation, Creation of Mood, Connection with Viewer, Evocation of Emotion, Title of the Photo, Use of Bokeh or Deep Focus, Strong Moments.Strong Moments: “When every part of the picture interacts with the other parts in a way that the viewer might think – wow, this is special and probably doesn’t happen that often.
    — Jacob Maentz of the blog Light Stalking

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