Great Lakes Stewardship: Picture Perfect

To say that these photos speak a thousand words would be an understatement.

And an underestimation of the power of outdoors photography and what it can mean in Northland Outdoors country.

With the new year looming, state natural resources agencies across the region are putting the finishing touches on their annual products and calendars for 2016. The calendars are a win-win (make that win-win-win): They draw submissions/interaction from the public — just regular folks who enjoy the outdoors and outdoors photography — with sales in some way benefiting those state agencies and the programs they oversee. And the photography? Wow.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources still is in the process of accepting photos for its Great Lakes-related photo contest — winning photos will appear in its annual “Wisconsin’s Great Lakes” calendar (along with other DNR publications, presentations, websites and displays, the state agency said).

And Tuesday, the DNR announced that it was adding a new category to its photo contest for the 2016-17 calendar — one that not only acknowledges great photography, but also notes efforts to protect and restore Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, both of which call the shoreline of Wisconsin home.

Under the new category, the DNR is asking for examples of how “you, your agency/organization or a local group are protecting, enhancing or restoring the shore, tributaries, wetlands or beaches of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior.”

The DNR asks entrants to send photos of their work (limit of three photos per entry) and a brief description (up to 180 words) of partners involved, funding source and what entrants hope to accomplish, as well as a web link, if applicable (if people appear in photos, the DNR asks that entrants get permission to include them in those photos before submitting).

Then, the DNR asks that each entrant attach a photo and the brief description to an email and send to DNRGreatLakesPhotoContest@wisconsin.gov. In the email, entrants should include photo title, where in Wisconsin the photo was taken, entry category (in the case of the new category, Great Lakes stewardship) and entrant’s name, email address, mailing address and phone number. The DNR adds that photos must be high resolution (up to 11MB) and horizontal in orientation. Submission deadline for all categories is Feb. 1; the calendar runs from September 2016-December 2017. (For all contest instructions and rules, go to dnr.wi.gov/topic/greatlakes/contestrules.html.)

Beside photos depicting lake stewardship activities, the DNR also is looking for photos of shorelines, children and adults enjoying the lakes and cultural and historic features, and from all seasons.

According to the DNR, photos will be judged by a panel of DNR staffers, and judging criteria will include creativity, visual and technical merit and composition. Winning photographers will be contacted by mail, phone or email and will receive the calendar in the mail, the DNR said.

The photos from the 2015-16 calendar (dnr.wi.gov/topic/greatlakes/documents/Calendar2015-2016.pdf) are breathtaking, to say the least — each one would be right at home in a frame, above any mantelpiece (maybe another promotional fundraising possibility for the DNR?). Add the new Great Lakes stewardship category to the mix, and you can expect this calendar to be the DNR’s best. Great Lakes stewardship is about a good cause, for a good cause.

Picture perfect.

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