2024 Nature/Wildlife Competition

2024 Nature/Wildlife Competition

Scope of Competition

For this competition, we are continuing with five themes which are outlined in the definition section below.

For CAPA members, a maximum of three (3) images can be entered into the Individual category of this competition.  However, two (2) of the three (3) images must be entered into different themes and all must comply with the respective theme definition. 

For camera clubs, a maximum of six (6) images can be entered into the Club category of this competition.  All six (6) images must include images entered into 2 different themes and all images must comply with the respective theme definition.  

For this competition, it is of utmost importance that participants preserve the original un-retouched (unaltered, uncropped, or unedited) JPEG or camera RAW file of their submitted images. The original file must be easily accessible before submitting an image into the competition. All editing must be carried out on a separate copy of the original image, maintaining the integrity of the original.

Please note that a DNG and a PSD file will not be recognized as original files, except for images captured on specific cameras, such as Apple iPhone, Leica, Nokia smartphones, Ricoh, Casio, LG, Panoscan, Samsung, DxO, MegaVision, Pentax, and Sinar.

Failure to provide the requested original file for a potential winning image may result in the removal of the image from the competition, and the contest results will be re-sorted.

CAPA assumes that the provided original file will be used solely for our image verification process and will be deleted shortly after the evaluation is complete.

Competition Process

Competition Coordinator – Sheldon Boles – CAPA Director of Competitions: competitions@capacanada.ca

Questions about the scope of the competition and/or the editing criteria should be directed to the Coordinator well in advance of  the closing day of the competition.

Closing Date of Competition – October 15, 2024 at midnight Standard Time (Ontario).

Check out our – How To Upload Images To CAPA Competition here

Special Note : Following a period of 2 weeks after the competition’s closing date, you can access the final competition report by logging into the CAPA website and navigating to the ‘Competition Reports’ under the ‘Competitions’ dropdown menu

Competition Details (click arrow for more details)
Themes

  • Botanical – ONLY wild plants photographed in their natural environment are permitted in this theme such as: flowers, scrubs, bushes, trees, fungi and algae.  Human created hybrid plants or “cultivated plants” are not permitted.  Cultivated plants are ones that are planted and maintained by humans as opposed to emerging naturally in the environment.  Wild flowers or plants grown in a botanical garden are accepted in this theme. In cases where a plant species is known to occur in the wild and has been cultivated by humans, the judging panel will give the image the “benefit-of-the-doubt” and accept the image as meeting the definition of this theme. “Hand-of-man” elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral part of the nature story (10% or less of total image area).
  • Insects, Reptiles & Amphibians – such as: alligators, ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, crickets, crocodiles, dragonflies, frogs, gecko, hornets, iguana, lizard, mantis, mosquitoes, snakes, turtles, wasps, etc… “Hand-of-man” elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral part of the nature story (10% or less of total image area).
  • Landscape – subjects such as weather phenomena, geological formations, landscapes, seascapes and natural phenomena, planets, stars and astronomical events. “Hand-of-man” elements shall not be present.
  • Nature – such as living animals (including arthropodes such as: spiders & crustaceans), birds  and marine subjects – under the control and feeding of humans if not obvious – such as zoos, game farms, animal preserves, aquarium, etc… No domestic or escaped animals or birds are permitted in this theme (e.g. horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, camels, pigs, chickens, etc…).Hand-of-man” is permitted in this theme provided that it is deemed as an element of an “adaptive environment” (e.g. barn owl) and consists of 10% or less of total image area.
  • Wildlife –ONLY living and untamed wildlife mammals, birds and marine subjects. No traditional zoo, open-range zoos, game farms or other areas where animals/birds are restrained or confined and must be living free.
    Nature parks are considered natural environments because animals are not in “controlled conditions“.
    Wild animals and birds are permitted to have scientific bands, tags or radio collars but no tethers or harness attachment.
    No domestic or escaped animals or birds are permitted in this theme (e.g. horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, camels, pigs, chickens, etc…).No hand-of-man is permitted.
    Wildlife images can also be entered into the Nature theme.

CAPA defined Adaptive Environment – This should constitute 10% or less of the total image and refers to instances where living organisms use man-made structures for nesting, feeding their young, attracting a mate, or consuming a cultivated plant or flower.  Additionally, it includes cases where a human-created structure is utilized for another purpose, such as consuming their prey or food on a human-associated element like a sawed log, fence post, or telephone pole.

CAPA defined Hand-of-Man – This should be portrayed as a scene that is completely free of any human elements.  The following examples provide instances that align with the hand-of-man definition:

  1. Human – no human body or any portion thereof should be visible in the image.
  2. Sky – no human-made elements such as cables, aircraft, light pollution, artificial lights, etc.
  3. Land – any man-made structures, paths, buildings, concrete, man-made stone, telephone poles, fence posts, sidewalks, domesticated or cultivated plants/food, cut grass, or organized and systematic layouts of planted trees should be absent from the image.
  4. Elements – no cut trees, stems, branches, tree stumps, posts, man-made food, objects, or any man-made background should be included.
  5. Sea – no boats, ships piers, docks, posts in the water, or any human-made elements should be visible in the image.

Nature Ethics Defined 

To promote responsible photographing of species, entrants:

  • Must not do anything to injure or distress any animals or destroy their habitat in an attempt to secure an image.
  • Must maintain an appropriate distance from an active nest, and in most cases, avoid them entirely.
  • Must not bait. The baiting of wildlife should be avoided as it may have long-term impacts.
  • Must not intentionally spook.
  • Must not stress out wildlife by getting too close.
  • Should learn about the species’ behaviour and the ecology of the area.
  • Use appropriate lenses and techniques that minimize stress.
  • Should be a naturalist as well as a nature photographer
  • Should be especially careful and respectful when photographing “species-at-risk” and threatened species consider avoiding the photography of “species-at-risk

The Canadian federal Species At Risk Act – Schedule 1provides a listing of “species-at-risk”. The Act also outlines that it an offence to kill, harm or harass a “species-at-risk”.  A good reference webpage is the Audubon’s Guide To Ethical Bird Photography.

Editing Criteria

  • Eligibility Criteria – Prior to submitting any photo in a CAPA competition, all entrants must first read the CAPA Eligibility Criteria relating to images submissions. – READ ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA HERE
  • Permitted Editing Techniques:

Cropping: adjusting the composition of the image by cropping is straightening and perspective correction.

HDR (High Dynamic Range): combining multiple exposures to extend the dynamic range and enhancement to the presentation

Focus Stacking: merging images with different focus points to increase the depth of field

Dodging/Burning: lightening or darkening specific areas of the images to enhance the presentation

Removal of Camera Artifacts: techniques to remove dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches caused by the camera.

  • Editing Techniques Not Permitted:

Images without Photographic Origin: Images that are entirely generated electronically with no photographic origin.

Manipulating Content: Adding, relocating, or removing elements from an image (e.g. objects and background) is strictly prohibited as it alters the reality of the photo represents.

Misrepresentative Filters: Applying filters or effects that dramatically change the image’s mood or perception is not allowed.  Such alternations can mislead viewers, affecting their understanding of the original scene at the time of capture. 

Photograph must not contain any decorative elements like frames, borders, pin-lines, or mats.  This includes the edges and markings of scanned film.  When the frame is integral to the captured image, for instance a window frame or door frame that has been captured by the camera, these elements are permitted.

Frames, Borders, Pin-lines, and Mats: Photograph must not contain any decorative elements like frames, borders, pin-lines, or mats.  This includes the edges and markings of scanned film.  When the frame is integral to the captured image, for instance a window frame or door frame that has been captured by the camera, these elements are permitted.

Artificial Intelligence Renderings: Images that have been created or modified using specific AI generative techniques: in-painting(where AI fills in generated elements not captured by the photographer or where AI removes elements from a photograph); or out-painting (where the AI extends beyond the original boundaries of the image captured by the photographer using generated elements). Whether with or without text prompts, these are not permitted for submission into a CAPA competitions.

We encourage you to review our  “July 2, 2024 – Updated CAPA Stance on AI-Generated Images in Photographic Competitions” here – (English) (French).

Triptychs (an image of three (3) separated images contained in a single image) are not permitted in this competition.

  • Image Metadata Required:

For all submitted images, the photographer must preserve intact with no alternations, the original metadata (EXIF) of images.  It is recommended that photographers leave the metadata in submitted image files intact in order to ease the analysis of potential winning images.

The Director of Competitions will  request and receive the original un-retouched JPEG or RAW file for a potential winning image in a competition for the purposes of image verification and authentication of competition compliance

A DNG and a PSD file is not recognized as original files, except for images captured on specific cameras, such as Apple iPhone, Leica, Nokia smartphones, Ricoh, Casio, LG, Panoscan, Samsung, DxO, MegaVision, Pentax, and Sinar.

The Director of Competitions will request and receive the original un-retouched JPEG or RAW file for a potential winning image in a competition for the purposes of verifying competition compliance.

Upon notification that their image is a potential winning entry, photographers may be required by the Director of Competitions to submit all original images, such as unretouched JPG or RAW files, along with other image files that were integrated into the submitted image.

Failure to comply with the Director’s request for image files will result in the potential winning image being withdrawn from the competition and the competition results will be re-sorted.

 These requirements aim to ensure transparency and verify adherence to the competition’s specifications regarding image authenticity and compliance with the editing criteria.

  • Accepted Image Types:

– Colour images
– Black & White image
– Colour images converted to black & white

Image Specifications

Title of Image

When images are uploaded into a competition, you are required to enter the title of your image into the Title Field.  Title can be in either  English or French or both.

Do Not: enter your name, the name of the photographer or the club name in the Title Field (that is for the Title of the image)

Do Not: include punctuation or symbols (such as / –_  , ; : ‘’ “” ! ? & $%*{} [ ] @ # &) or quotation marks in the Title of your image.

The Image Title should be simple, and introduce or set the mood or perspective for your image.  For example:  Sublime Nova Scotia Sunset

A weak image title, such as ‘pretty flower,’ will fail to stimulate the judge’s interest in the image and may result in a lower score than expected.

Image File Name

The image file name that you create prior to uploading into this competition should also be simple, and could be the same as the Image Title. For example: John Snow-Sublime Nova Scotia Sunset

Image Size – Dimensions

You must ensure your image is re-sized to meet the following two parameters:

    1. Saved as a jpg image with a maximum file size of 1.8 MB.
    2. Dimensions: Maximum horizontal size: 1400 pixels and maximum vertical size: 1050 pixels.
Example of Image Sizing – Double-click to view image

Note: Images smaller than the maximum dimensions will ONLY be accepted when one of the image edges has a horizontal size is 1400 pixels or the vertical size is 1050 pixels.  For example: square image – 1050 x 1050 pixels; 1400 x 800 pixels; or 700 x 1050 pixels.

Note: Images will NOT be rotated by the judges and will scored as submitted.

During the uploading process of your image, our online competition system will verify if the image is less than 1.8 MB and meets the two parameters.

If your image fails this verification process, you will receive an error message and it will appear below the upload image box.

Depending on the error message – you will need to either reduce the file size of the image to be 1.8 MB or less or re-size the dimensions of your image.  After doing so, please re-try uploading your image.

Suggestions – Use sRGB colour space for your image.  For colour accuracy: we strongly recommend that you calibrate your monitor to ensure colour accuracy from your monitor to the image projected to the judges.

Judging Criteria

    • An Image’s title may be used by the judges in evaluating a submission, so entrants should take care in selecting a title that complements or contributes to the vision or message being presented in the image.
    • The judges will assign scores primarily based on the ‘emotional’ components of the image, considering values such as creativity and emotional impact. Secondary emphasis will be place on the ‘technical’ aspects, followed by considerations of the ‘composition.’
    • Technical and Organizational factors, such as exposure, sharpness, focus, space, and composition, will be taken into account solely to the degree they do or do not support or reinforce the creative vision and storytelling. Images will not be penalized in scoring for so-called technical rule infractions, such as focus, if that is immaterial to the creative vision and storytelling.

    Likewise, judges take into consideration in their scoring the degree to which the entrant’s use of techniques such as colour, monochrome, duo and multi-tone, contributes to or supports the creative vision and the story telling value of the image.