Monthly Photo Competition Topics and Guidelines

USE OF ENTRY: By submitting an entry, entrant grants Colorado Nature Camera Club [The Club] and its designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use the entry and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes in The Club’s online galleries, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law. In addition, each winner grants to The Club and its designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use and distribute the entry [(as submitted, or as cropped by The Club)], and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes, in any and all media now or hereafter known, including without limitation in Colorado Nature Camera Club, for purposes of promotion of the monthly Contests and other The Club contests and/or for purposes of advertising and promoting The Club and, except as otherwise stated herein, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.

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Special Topic of the Month

For previously awarded images and topics see


  • January: Larger than a car
  • February: Something that Evokes a Strong Mood or Feeling
  • March: Purple
  • May: Budding Plant(s) or Tree(s)
  • June: Water…Static or Flowing
  • Note: July and August are club’s summer break
  • September: Special Member Show (topic chosen by Member)
  • October: Rocky Mountain National Park
  • November: Smooth and Sharp
  • December: The special Member Year End Show and Competition: The six categories are: FaunaFlora, Close Up, Landscapes, Hand of Person, and Special Effects.

Submission Guidelines

During the meetings from January through November, each paid member may enter up to four images divided as he or she wishes among the categories.  There are four categories: NatureNature with Special EffectsHand of Person, and Special Topic of the Month.

In December, each paid member may enter up to six images divided as he or she wishes among the special year end six categories listed below. (See “December Year End Categories” below)

Awarded images will be posted to the club website. If you submit images into the contest, you agree to have your images posted to the club website. See  “Use of Entry” above.

All competition images must adhere to the guidelines below and emailed to no later than the Monday before the next meeting.

All images submitted for out monthly photo competitions should be:

  1. As related to jpeg quality/compression, file size is not important, but please pay attention to the image pixel size noted below.
  2. Images must have a maximum dimension of 1050 pixels horizontal or vertical with the exception of panoramics. In the case of a panoramic, the maximum vertical dimension is 700 and the maximum horizontal dimension is 1400 (the maximum native pixel dimension of the projector.) The purpose of these sizing rules is to not disadvantage portrait oriented images or panoramics relative to landscape oriented images. If a larger image is submitted, the image viewer program will not resize the image: it will display the central part of the image that fits within the projector display. (Resizing blurs the image and changes colors.) The judge will have the option of scoring 0 for nonconformance or treating it as ‘found art’ and judging based on what is visible.
  3. Images should be saved in sRGB color space to maximize color fidelity.
  4. Submissions should name image files as follows: CCC-SSSSX-YZ-Title.jpg Note: there are dashes or minus signs between sections of the file name.Where:
  • CCC = 3 character club code, for us it is ‘CNC’
  • SSSS = first 4 characters of surname. If a surname has less than 4 characters, that is fine.
  • X = first character of given name
  • Y = Category:
  • During January – November, choose from:
    • A = Special Topic of the Month,
    • B = Nature,
    • C = Hand of Person, or
    • D = Nature with Special Effects.
      Note: December Year End Categories are listed below.
  • Z = Number of entry in the category. A1 would be the first topic of the month entry, A2 would be the second topic of the month entry, A3 would be the third, and A4 would be the forth if all four of your images are entered in the topic of the month category.
  • Title = Image title 36 characters maximum. Note: some email systems remove spaces from filenames when they receive files. If your email system does this, tell your entrants to use underscores (“_”) instead of spaces. The program will replace them with spaces.

Example: John Smith, Colorado Nature Camera Club, Special Topic of the Month, Great Blue Heron; would have a filename of:

cnc-smitj-A1-Great Blue Heron.jpg


January – November Categories

NATURE: These images depict wild nature, and include landscapes, both grand and intimate, and birds and wild animals in their natural or adopted habitat. Images in the Nature category may or may not have been edited or otherwise modified to depict a naturally-occurring event; for example, more than one image might have been used to create the final image.

Images in the Nature category must not contain:

  • evidence of man as a dominant or distracting feature such as roads, paths, fences, or buildings (at the discretion of the judge)
  • captive animals
  • inserted backgrounds
  • birds at feeders or on a “manufactured” perch (*)
  • raptors that are currently in a rehabilitation program
  • gardens and greenhouses

Images containing these prohibited elements can be entered in the Hand of Person category.

(*) Images of wildlife with tracking tags (such as wild birds with leg bands) are acceptable in the Nature category.

NATURE WITH SPECIAL EFFECTS: These images depict wild nature, but they have been recognizably altered so that they no longer resemble nature as the eye would see it. Alterations might include the use of in-camera techniques (such as movement during exposure), creative lens filters, camera settings (such as drastically changing the Kelvin setting), or an image editing program, for example. The intent of this category is to show the photographer’s creative/artistic depiction of an altered reality.

HAND OF PERSON: These images depict wild nature, but they also include evidence of humans, domesticated plants, captive non-domesticated animals, and so on, or they might have an inserted background (such as a wild flower with a cloth background). While photos of domesticated plants are acceptable, domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses, and so on, are not. Any evidence of humans should not be the main focal point of the image but an incidental part of it.

SPECIAL TOPIC OF THE MONTH: These images are related to the Topic of the Month, which is announced above.  Images in this category must also conform to the guidelines in the other three categories.  Keep in mind that CNCC is a nature photography club – if the topic is “motion”, your image needs to show motion in nature and not, for instance, in an auto race or sporting event.


December Year End Categories

FAUNA: The typical wildlife topics – any images of an animal(s) as the central subject.

FLORA: Flowers, plants, fungi, lichens, trees and etc.

CLOSE UP: Any subject that is smaller than a 35 mm camera. Examples for this category are insects, ice crystals, leaves, bubbles, etc. Let your imagination go wild. Do not include flower images or flower parts in this category, as these should be in the Flora category.

LANDSCAPES: The main subject is a landscape. Landscapes can include many different things including flowers, animals, but the image overall should be a landscape.

The four categories above are NATURE. Please see the Nature category above for what is allowed or not allowed.

HAND OF PERSON: This category is the same as the monthly competitions. Details are above.

NATURE WITH SPECIAL EFFECTS: This category is the same as the monthly competitions. Details are above.

Note: All entries must now be in digital format. 

Year End Categories are

  • A=Fauna
  • B=Flora
  • C=Close Up
  • D=Landscapes 
  • E=Hand of Person
  • F= Nature with Special Effects