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Announcing the 2021

Waterman Center Photo Contest!

Submissions will open this spring

Details coming soon...

2019 #NatureNow

Nature Photo Contest

Images from the 2019 Awards Ceremony

Photographer Mary Lou Shapinas

We're in the News!!!

Our contest received excellent coverage from WBNG 12 in Binghamton.  Follow the link to view the video and read the full story!  If you were at the event, you might be in here!

Thank you to Cal Dymowski for your thorough reporting!


The 2019 Waterman Center #NatureNOW Photo Contest is now closed for submissions.  Thank you very much for your support!

Contest Categories

Contest Categories

Contest submission is open to adults ages 18 and up.  Youth entries, anyone younger than 18, are permitted with written consent from a parent or guardian.

Submission Schedule

​Submission Schedule

  • The contest is active from Friday, August 23rd at noon EDT through Monday, November 11 at 11:59pm EST

  • Submission schedule details:

    • Saturday, October 26th at 12:01am Eastern Daylight Time

      • Late submission period begins ($5 for 1 or $20 for 5 entries)

    • Monday, November 11th at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time

      • Submissions closed​

  • Judging will occur through the end of November​​

  • Winners will be notified and raw or original images requested in early December.

  • Gallery launch and prize awards will occur in a February date to be announced


Submission Fees

​Contest fees cover costs associated with administration and promotion of the contest, the contest gallery and maintenance of our interpretive center and six nature preserves.

Early bird submission fees (through October 25th):   Note, the early bird deadline has passed

Adults - $4 for 1 or $20 for 6 entries

Youth - Free up to the first six images.  Entries xceeding six images are the same as adults.

​Late submission fees (October th through contest close):

Adults - $5 for 1 or $20 for 5 entries

Youth - Free up to the first six images.  Entries exceeding six images are the same as adults.

Contest is open to all legal residents of the US, DC and Canada.  Employees of Waterman Conservation Education Center and immediate family members are not eligible to participate.

Meet the Judges

Meet The Judges

Melissa Penta

Melissa Penta has been casually photographing nature since 2006 when she purchased her first point-and-shoot camera. She made the change to a DSLR two years later when her love for wildlife photography took off. She has since grown a passion for birds and considers herself more of a "birding" photographer. She currently lives in Van Etten, New York and travels as much as she can to find new bird species and gain new experiences, behind her lens and binoculars.  Melissa is a web designer for Cornell lab of ornothology and a brand ambassador for Carl Zeiss Sports Optics.  See Melissa's work on her website at

Dave Williams

Dave Williams is the owner of Beyond the Print, a small photo printing lab with high quality standards.  Dave believes that you should have the best photographs of your art work or family memories you can possibly get and strive for that every day! 

Bill Baburchak

President of the Two Rivers Photography Club board of directors and owner of Long Creek Photography, Bill's interest in photography began in 1984 shooting a Canon AE-1, and he has been shooting off and on since then.  In 2008, Bill began taking photography a bit more seriously, and now there is nothing he won’t photograph!  Wildlife, Landscapes, and Sports are his favorite types of photography and he is out there every chance he gets to improve his skills and just enjoy being outdoors. Teaching photography is another area that Bill truly enjoys.   Bill writes, "There is nothing like helping a beginner get hooked on photography!!!"

Submission Format

Submission Format

Submit your jpeg images in any aspect ratio with the longest side no smaller than 1024 dpi.  Image size must not exceed 4meg.  Include your name, image category and image title.

For example, for entrant Kathy Smith, white-tailed deer photographed, filename:


Images must represent the scene as it appeared to the photographer.  Minor editing is permitted, including contrast, brightness, sharpening, color, black and white, cropping.  Sensor dust cleanup is permitted but no physical elements may be removed or added to the scene.  Winners will be notified in early December and will be required to provide the raw or original jpg image.

You retain full copyright of your images.  By entering this photo contest you are agreeing that Waterman Center may choose to display a print of your image in their contest gallery.  At the end of the display period you will receive the printed image.  Images may also be used in publicity surrounding the contest.  Waterman Center will not use your images for any non-contest related purpose without express, written consent from the photographer.

Photography Ethics

Photography Ethics

The rules of ethical photography, especially when photographing wildlife, will be strictly enforced.  Photos created through baiting or other questionable means will be disqualified.  No captive wildlife images will be considered for selection.  See further details about what is and isn't acceptable at the following links:

North American Nature Photography Ethical Field Practices

Audubon guide to Ethical Bird Photography



Thanks to our very generous sponsors, we are offering cash and prizes exceeding $2000!

There will be a total of 9 prize winners and 6 honorable mentions, awarded as follows:

1.  Adult grand prize

2.  1 adult winner in each category

3.  Youth 1st, 2nd and 3rd over all categories

4.  Honorable mention will be recognized in each category and age group

Prizes will be divided amongst the winners and include:

  • Cash Prizes of $200 for grand prize winner, $50 for each adult category winner.  Youth will receive cash equivalent giftcards for $50 for first place and $25 for 2nd and 3rd

  • Wild Birds Unlimited gift cards at $75 for grand prize and $25 youth 1st place

  • Beyond the Print gift cards at $50 for grand prize winner, $25 for adult winner in each category, $25 for youth first place, $10 each youth 2nd and 3rd place.

  • Free workshop admittance for one to a JW Johnston Photography workshop, "Composition Composition Composition" or "The Notion of Motion", a $100 value.

  • Hunts Photo and Video - 6 x $50 gift cards

  • One half-day one-on-one photography workshop with Teri Franzen of Teri Franzen Photography, tailorable by the winner.  Instruction can include a field shoot, basic to advanced exposure techniques, beginner to advanced post-processing in Lightroom/Photoshop, portfolio reviews, etc.

  • One half-day one-on-one photography workshop with Bill Baburchak of Long Creek Photography, tailorable by the winner.  Instruction can include a field shoot, basic to advanced exposure techniques, post-processing, etc.

  • ADATA 128 GB micro-SDXC cards with adaptor donated from Unicorn Electronics awarded one each to youth first, second and third place winners

  • Two Rivers Photography Club one-year, single membership, a $40 value

  • Red River Paper $50 gift card

  • Each of the 9 winning images will be printed at Beyond the Print, mounted on a backboard and displayed in the interpretive center gallery.  After the display period, each winner will receive his or her printed image.

  • New sponsors coming soon



Thank you very much to all of our sponsors for your generous prize donations!  Sponsors include the following:

Interested in supporting our contest?  Sponsorship through cash or other donations will go toward prizes awarded to our nine winners.  Donations can be made here or at the center.  See details at this link.  Call or e-mail to discuss other sponsorship.  Thank you!

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Please e-mail us at for any questions concerning the contest.  Frequently asked questions will appear below. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Coming soon...

Page design by Teri Franzen

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