I am thrilled to announce the second installment of our now-annual photo contest. Last year’s inaugural contest turned out to be a highly successful endeavor that saw 52 contestants submit a whopping 111 images. I was beyond impressed by the range and quality of the images we received, which kept us judges busy with tough choices and spirited debates while selecting the winners. Thanks again to all the photographers who submitted images in last year’s contest! This year, I’m hoping to see twice the number of images submitted. I know there are thousands of talented photographers throughout the Mountain State and bordering states, and I am calling on you to send in your best shots—or at least encourage your pals to do the same. You don’t have to be a published photographer to have a chance—we encourage anyone who’s willing to put themselves out there to send in their images. If you think you’ve got a special shot, it’s got a shot at winning. As they say, the best camera is the one you’ve got on you. We’ll publish the winning images in our Winter 2023 issue. If you’re interested in submitting, please carefully read the contest rules. I can’t wait to see what you send our way. Thanks in advance to our judges, and to everyone who submits their photos. Without further ado, let’s, as Steely Dan once sang, go back Jack and do it again!
-Dylan Jones, Publisher
Send us your most fantastical photos showing off West Virginia’s beauty. There are only two rules here: locations must be in WV, and there can’t be any people in your images (animals are OK, but photos with a wild animal as the primary subject should be submitted under the wildlife category). Buildings are acceptable if they showcase historic and/or cultural elements or if they are part of the landscape.
The wildlife category is for, you guessed it, photos of our amazing flora and fauna. Plants, bugs, bears—it doesn’t matter. If it’s wild and it’s living, it’s fair game for your submission! A few rules here: keep it wild! We will not accept photos of domesticated animals, captive wild animals, or wild animals feeding at manmade food sources. And just like the landscape category, no humans!
So, what about us crazy hominids that like to do radical activities in the great outdoors? Cue the adventure category! This is for any photo that shows human-powered adventure in the mountains (no motorized recreation, please). Whether it’s a high-speed capture of a skier, a photo of an angler casting in a mountain stream, or a snap of adventurous souls being dwarfed by our big landscapes, we want to see it!
There will be eight winning photographs. All eight photographs will be published in our Winter 2023 issue.
- The overall winner will receive: $300, a one-year subscription, a hat, and a sticker pack.
- The overall runner-up will receive: $200, a one-year subscription, a hat, and a sticker pack.
- Each category winner will receive: $100, a one-year subscription, a hat and a sticker pack.
- Each category runner-up will receive: $50, a one-year subscription, a hat, and a sticker pack.
We know rules aren’t fun, but we live in a society, and we need rules to keep things on track. If you’re planning to submit a photo, please read this section carefully.
We’re West Virginia’s Outdoor Magazine, and our lovely state is worthy of its own photo contest. As such, submissions must be from locations in West Virginia. Any photos found to be from out-of-state locations will be disqualified.
Do not submit an image with a watermark, signature, or logo. This helps maintain anonymity during the judging process. Any photographer who submits an image with a watermark will be asked to remove it and resubmit. If that cannot be accomplished, the image will be disqualified.
We will not accept any photos showing abuse, misuse, or degradation of wild animals, plants, or landscape features.
We will not accept any photos showing illegal activities. If we have reason to question the legality of anything depicted in your image, we reserve the right to disqualify it.
Please do not send photo illustrations or images depicting altered reality. This includes abstract images or clearly altered (Photoshopped) images. Panoramas and composite images are OK so long as they do not clearly misrepresent reality. Any image deemed to be a photo illustration will be disqualified.
If your photo contains a recognizable person or minor under the age of 18, the recognizable person or the minor’s parent/legal guardian must sign a photo release form. If we decide a release form is needed, we will contact you following your submission. This is easy to do and shouldn’t deter you from submitting your photograph.
All submissions must be received by August 15, 2023.
Submit all entries directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Highland Outdoors 2023 Photo Contest Submission in the subject line.
You may submit one photo per category for a total of three photos per entrant. Do not submit multiple photos for a single category.
Maximum file size: 4 megabytes (MB).
To ensure that photos are judged fairly, please size your photo(s) for viewing on a screen. Please submit vertical images close to but no larger than 2,400 pixels (PX) on the vertical side. Please submit horizontal images close to but no larger than 2,400 PX on the horizontal side. If a panorama or other oddly sized image is chosen, we will work with you to size it properly for print. We recommend that you apply sharpening settings for viewing on a screen. The DPI/PPI doesn’t matter if you size your photo properly. Please don’t submit a high-resolution file. If your image is selected, we will ask you to send a high-resolution file with specific parameters.
We prefer photos to be submitted in the sRBG colorspace. If that’s over your head, or you’re unsure how to change the colorspace of your photograph, no worries.
Photographer’s Rights and Use of Images by Highland Outdoors
The photographer will retain all rights to their submitted photo(s), regardless of selection for publication. If submitted photo(s) are selected for publication, the photographer agrees to grant Highland Outdoors permission to publish the photo(s) in its Winter 2023 print publication as well as the digital version of the article that will appear on www.highland-outdoors.com. Highland Outdoors may use any winning photograph(s) for use in materials promoting our Winter 2023 issue. Basically, we don’t own your photos—you do!
I am honored again this year to have a fantastic panel of judges joining me to help select the winning photographs. Each judge brings a unique perspective and set of skills to the table, and all have had their images published in the mag throughout the years.
Nathaniel Peck is a full-time nature photographer currently residing on a small farm in the mountains of Western Maryland. Nathaniel specializes in photographing the dramatic landscapes, wildlife, and caves of the Allegheny Highlands region. He’s been published in several magazines, including The Maryland Natural Resource and, most importantly, Highland Outdoors. Nathaniel has also had his work displayed in the Cortland Acres Photography Exhibit for three years straight. He was the grand-prize winner of both the 2021 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest and the 2022 Highland Outdoors Photo Contest. He hopes that photographing this beautiful region can help advocate for the continued protection of our stunning Allegheny Highlands.
Jesse Thornton is a self-taught photographer who lives in Huntington, WV. What began as a hobby and a means of expression during his travels almost a decade ago spiraled into an independent career as a landscape photographer. His work focuses on highlighting his home state, particularly its dark skies. In addition to having work adorn the walls of countless West Virginia lovers both near and far, he has had work featured in publications such as Wonderful West Virginia, WV Living, Blue Ridge Outdoors, and, of course, Highland Outdoors. He enjoys sharing the knowledge he’s gained of both the camera and the state through teaching classes and leading photography workshops.
Anne Johnson is a photographer and writer based in Summersville, WV. As a child, she observed her father photographing virgin forests and rushing streams and became intrigued by landscape photography. She loves to photograph the remote waterfalls and sweeping vistas of Dolly Sods, the lush greenery and volcanoes of Iceland, and has a special passion for the unique beauty of lightning and the night sky. Her work has been exhibited at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, the West Virginia Culture Center, and the Cortland Acres Photography Exhibit. Her work has been published in numerous West Virginia magazines, including Highland Outdoors, and she is the author of The Last Photographer book series.
Dylan Jones is publisher and editor-in-chief of Highland Outdoors and lives in Davis, WV, with his wife and mag co-publisher Nikki. He discovered his love of photography while creating over-edited images with an iPhone in the Tetons back in 2013. Nowadays, he enjoys buying fancy camera gear and leaving it home, still bringing just his crappy smartphone camera on all his adventures. Besides Highland Outdoors, he’s had his images published in the National Geographic Explorer’s Journal, Wonderful West Virginia, Harvest Hollow, Adventure Journal, Garden & Gun, and West Virginia ArtWorks. He’s also exhibited images in the annual Cortland Acres Photography Exhibit and hosted his gallery show last year at Trail Labs in Canaan Valley.