A Photographic Nature | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Photographic Nature

The best nature photo at the natural-science museum could win a prize package at next spring’s NatureFEST!

The best nature photo at the natural-science museum could win a prize package at next spring’s NatureFEST! Photo by Trip Burns

No matter the category of photographers you fit into—young or old, professional photographer or scrappy amateur, male or female, black, blue, pink or whatever—the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science's "Back to Nature" photo contest wants you.

The museum is hosting its fifth annual contest through Dec. 31. "The contest was created as a way to connect our visitors with nature and create opportunities for collaboration between the science museum and the community," says Mary Alston, a conservation educator with the museum.

The contest rules are fairly simple, and a complete listing is available on the museum's website. Anyone can enter, whether an amateur or a professional. Those 18 and younger will be judged separately. The photographs must be taken inside the museum, or on museum or Lefleur's Bluff State Park property.

Photographers must submit works before Dec. 31. The contest has a number of categories to select from: wildlife, plants (for all you fungi lovers), landscapes, and people and nature. For you arachnophiles, photos of insects and spiders are welcome. If people are in your photos, you must follow special guidelines.

"This year we have added the category 'People and Nature' back to the program, and we are excited to see the results from this category," Alston says. "Over the life of the event, we have had well over 500 photographs entered."

Alston is ready to help with information, tips, hints and suggestions. Because she is not part of the judging committee, she can point you to that log to turn over to find your favorite ant pile or slug, or tell you when they feed the carnivorous fish and reptiles so you can photograph your baby in her stroller while creatures who haven't evolved much in a million years rip flesh in the background. (Hint: This may not be a good picture for the contest. Check with Alston)

To enter the contest, submit photos to the museum either as a high-quality, large print photograph or digitally on a disc. Visit mdwfp.com for the registration form and more details.

The winners will be announced at the 14th Annual NatureFEST! April 5, 2014. The museum will exhibit the winning photos in spring 2014. Prizes in the past have included an individual membership to the museum, which includes admission for a year, invitations to member-only events, subscription to the museum's newsletter and a 10-percent discount in the Dragonfly Shoppe.

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