Photo contests: Audubon names winners; Botanical Gardens adds Selfie category

photo of ferns
“Fern Star” by Jamestown photographer Wendy Bale was recently named a winner in the Audubon Nature Center’s 2016 Nature Photography Contest. Photo courtesy Audubon Nature Center

See the winners in one local photo contest and get set to enter your photos in another.

The Audubon Nature Center in Jamestown has posted the winners in its 2016 Nature Photography Contest- stunning!

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens has added a new category, Best Selfie, in its digital photo contest this year, and you have until Dec. 31 to enter.

Audubon Nature Center

Check out the images of the winners and runners-up in the photo contest of the Jamestown Audubon Nature Center. The judge’s notes there describe the criteria used in the decision making.

The categories were Landscapes, Plants (including trees, fungi, lichens, mosses, etc.), Wildlife (animals in their natural habitats) and Jamestown Audubon Nature Center. There were Adult and Youth (18 and under or still in high school) Divisions in each category.

2016 winners are:

  • Adult Landscape: Wendy Blanchard (Schenectady, New York), “Spirit and Light”
  • Adult Plants: Natalie Weber (Glenview, Illinois), “Reaching Beyond”
  • Adult Wildlife: Jose Luis Rodriguez (Avila, Spain), “Kingfisher Fishing Reflection”
  • Adult Nature Center: Wendy Bale (Jamestown, New York), “Fern Star”
  • Youth Landscape: Andrew Gerace (Novelty, Ohio), “Water on the Rocks”
  • Youth Plants: Julia Gong (Cary, North Carolina), “Shadows Amidst the Blaze”
  • Youth Wildlife: Nicholas Silberman (New York, New York), “Bubbles”

All winners receive a $100 prize.

Nearly 350 entries were submitted from 35 states in the United States and 17 foreign countries. Runners-up came from across the United States, including Hawaii.

Part of the purpose of the contest is to fulfill the Nature Center’s mission to connect people with nature.

“We are delighted that our contest encourages people to take their cameras outside to see what they can capture,” said Jennifer Schlick, program director and contest coordinator.

“The natural world offers itself for such incredible inspiration,” said juror Kimberly Turner in her judge’s notes. “Throughout the world, from your kitchen windowsill to the marshes of foreign countries, something new can always be discovered. The same is with art, in this case photography.”

Proceeds from the contest support the Nature Center’s environmental education programs.

The deadline for next year will in June, and they will start accepting submissions in January.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

You have until Dec. 31 to enter the digital photo contest held by the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden.

The contest is open to all ages: adults (ages 18 and older), teens (ages 12 to 17) and youth (under the age of 12). A winner from each age range will be chosen in each category.

A new category has been added this year: Best Selfie. The Botanical Gardens offers unique opportunities where the perfect selfie can be taken, so participants are encouraged to have fun with this category.

The other categories are:

Best Use of Shadows and Light. Photographers should keep in mind the tremendous amount of natural light in the greenhouses. Natural light can create amazing shadows that can turn an ordinary picture into a complex shot.  Some patience is needed in this category because every shot will be unique depending on how the light falls.

Most Unusual Vantage Point. Participants are encouraged to think outside of the box to distort reality and create a-one-of-a-kind photo by playing with different dimensions.

Best Use of Color. The Botanical Gardens offers an enormous variety of plants and flowers in a huge spectrum of colors. Participants are encouraged to find these unique color combinations for the Best Use of Color category.

Best Use of Macro Photograph. Participants are encouraged to get extreme close-up shots.

All entered photos will be considered for two special awards, the the President’s Pick and for the Cover of the Gardens’ Next Newsletter.

The President’s Pick is chosen by President/CEO Dave Swarts. He considers every photo entered.

“I look forward to seeing the remarkable photo submissions from all ages,” Swarts said, “and choosing only one is a challenge,”

The Cover of the Gardens’ Next Newsletter is a great honor and the winner’s photo will be featured on the cover of the spring edition.  The Botanical Gardens produces more than 20,000 copies of this edition. It is mailed to more than 4,000 homes and is handed to each visitor who enters the Botanical Gardens.

The entry fee is $8 per photo for the public.  For Botanical Garden members, the first entry is free and each additional entry is $6.

All photos should be submitted via email at by Dec. 31.  Get more information and an entry form here.













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