Photo: Chris Ray

Send Us Your Best Nature Pics! FLLT 30th Anniversary Photo Contest!

Update April 2019 – See the contest Winners Page!

The Finger Lakes Land Trust will celebrate its 30th Anniversary in 2019 – marking 3 decades of collective effort to save the lands and waters of our region.  The celebration begins now with our 30th Anniversary Photo Contest!  Accepting submissions through December 31, 2018.  Read below for how to participate.  Send us your best!

Prizes & Publicity

In addition to great prizes to be announced, the best photos will be featured (with credit to you!) on social media and other communication channels as we promote conservation and recreation across the Finger Lakes region.


The contest categories are:

  • People in Nature – People enjoying outdoor recreation 
  • Wildlife & Plants – Native plants and non-domesticated animals, birds, insects or fish in their natural habitat
  • Landscape – Representational scenes of open land or water without people 
  • Young Photographer – Up to age 18
  • Mobile – Any photograph taken with a mobile device (phone or tablet) 
  • Aerial – Photographs taken from the air (using a drone or from a small airplane)
  • Black & White – Black & white images that fall into the above categories 

All submissions must be taken on FLLT protected lands ( which includes over 30 nature preserves in the 12-county region.

How to Participate

  • You can submit up to 25 photos through noon EST on December 31, 2018. Photos can be submitted individually, at any time.
  • All photos must be your own original work, to which you own the rights.
  • All photos must be taken on FLLT protected properties (
  • Send 1 EMAIL PER PHOTO to with the following info in your email:
    • Subject:  Photo Contest
    • Your name
    • Photo location (which FLLT protected property)
    • Photo date (Month & year; does not have to be shot in 2018)
    • Your caption or comments (describe the moment)
    • Optional:  Your camera settings (photographers love these!)


Photo specifications

  • All digital files must be 20 megabytes or smaller, must be in .jpeg, .jpg,. or .gif format, and must be at least 2,000 pixels wide (if horizontal image) or 2,000 pixels tall (if vertical image).
  • Mobile photographs are exempt from this size requirement, but must be submitted at their highest possible resolution.
  • We do not accept photographs submitted through the mail however high-quality scans of non-digital photographs are acceptable.
  • For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to the Finger Lakes Land Trust upon request.
  • Photographs which portray the actual subject as photographed are preferred. Composite photographs which combine two different images are not acceptable (except for high dynamic range (HDR) images which show details as perceived by the eye.) Some slight adjustments are acceptable for all categories as long as they are limited in scale and scope. However, altered photographs that do not give the impression of being natural, whether that is because of the scale, lighting, color balance, color saturation, or other reason are not likely to be finalists in the contest. If the judges determine that a photographer has greatly altered his or her photo, they reserve the right to disqualify it.
  • Watermarks are unacceptable.


All photos will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and subject matter relevance to the Finger Lakes, nature, and people. Judging will be conducted by a group of Finger Lakes Land Trust employees and a select group of guest judges to be appointed by the Land Trust. The judges will evaluate all valid entries and pick the winners in the following categories:

1. Overall: 3 winners — 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place

2. Categories:      

  1. People in Nature (1 winner) One photo representing the best of people in nature.
  2. Wildlife & Plants (1 winner) Best of native plants and wildlife including animals, birds, insects, and fish. Please note that images involving the willful harassment of wildlife, or damage to the environment by the photographer will be ineligible. Collecting of plants is prohibited.
  3. Landscape (1 winner) One photo representing the best of FLLT protected lands and waters.
  4. Young Photographer (1 winner) Best photo taken by a photographer under the age of 18.
  5. Mobile (1 winner) Best photo taken via a mobile device (phone or tablet).
  6. Aerial (1 winner) Best photo taken from above. If using a drone, photographer is responsible for maintaining the appropriate licensing and following FAA guidelines.
  7. Black & White (1 winner)Best black & white image that falls into the above categories. 

Judging decisions are final. Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging.  All winners will be notified in spring 2019 via the contact information provided at the time of entry.

Other Terms & Conditions

  • You retain your rights to your photograph; however, by entering the contest, you grant the Finger Lakes Land Trust (and those authorized by the Finger Lakes Land Trust) a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any Finger Lakes Land Trust purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion, on its web site, and in exhibitions, including but not limited to Land Trust publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. The Land Trust will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.
  • All entrants hold the Finger Lakes Land Trust and their respective regents, directors, officers, employees, emeriti, fellows, interns, research associates, and volunteers (the “Indemnified Parties”) harmless from and against all claims of any nature arising in connection with entrant’s participation in the contest and acceptance or use of a prize. The Indemnified Parties are not liable for any costs, damages, injuries, or other claims incurred as a result of entrants’ participation in the contest or winner’s acceptance and usage of a prize.  The Indemnified Parties are not responsible for incomplete or misdirected entries, technical or network malfunctions or failures, or causes beyond their control. Entrants are solely responsible for their entries. Entrants may not submit materials that introduce any software viruses, worms or other programs designed to damage software, hardware or telecommunications equipment or are off-topic, partisan-political, contain advertising, nudity, personal attacks or expletives, or is otherwise abusive, threatening, unlawful, harassing, discriminatory, libelous, obscene, false, sexually explicit, or that infringes on the rights of any third party.

Contact us with any questions.  Please jump in and share your best photos!