McDowell Sonoran Conservancy 2010 Focus on Conservation Photo Contest

March 31, 2010

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Scottsdale, Ariz. (March 25, 2010):  Spring is a beautiful season to appreciate all that makes the Sonoran Desert a special place. Abundant wildflower blooms are bursting open, and desert animals and their young are enjoying the warmer days. Now is a perfect time to capture these images and more through photography in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Then, enter to win the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy’s 2010 Focus on Conservation photography contest scheduled to run through May, with the deadline for entries on May 30, 2010 at 5 p.m. Winners will be announced June 30, 2010.

The Focus on Conservation photography contest encourages people who might otherwise never visit the Preserve —those who do not regularly enjoy hiking, biking, trail running, rock climbing or horse riding— to enjoy and photograph the beauty of the Preserve easily found on even a short walk along the many Preserve trails.

MSC then brings the Preserve into the community through submitted photographs. A traveling exhibit and a photography book are just two ways this is accomplished. For some, this may be their introduction to the Preserve, sparking their interest in hiking, mountain biking, or volunteering. For others, it may be the only accessible way for them to experience the beauty of this living treasure.

This year, the photography contest will serve as a bridge between the ageless appreciation of nature and the cutting-edge creativity of modern photography. The raw vitality of the Preserve is the perfect subject for the photographer with an appreciation for the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, whether they are a die-hard or a dabbler.

The 2010 photography contest has three divisions: youth, amateur and advanced.  It also has a wide range of categories for submissions, affording an opportunity for every interest to be explored and expressed. These categories are: Seasons, Digital Art, Macro, Plants & Animals, People, and Landscapes & Geology. Of these, the new Digital Art category is possibly the broadest and most flexible.

As it pertains to this contest, Digital Art is defined as photography which utilizes methods such as monochrome, time-lapse, composite, tone mapping/HDR, infrared, ultraviolet, or other digital altering or retouching. Photography and digital image manipulation increasingly go hand-in-hand, and those who are interested or proficient in both will find no lack of inspiration in the Preserve. The subject of a Digital Art submission can be anything as long as it meets the category criteria; this gives contestants entering the Digital Art category an enormous amount of creative control over all aspects of their submissions. To ensure that the photo fits the contest guidelines, an unaltered version of the image must also be submitted with all Digital Art entries.

In addition to the new Digital Art, Seasons, and Macro categories, this year’s photography contest is emphasizing youth participation; we are giving a $600 Novara mountain bike courtesy of REI to the “Best of Show” in the youth division. Youth can also vie for the $500 prize for overall “Best in Show”.

This year’s judges will consider both technical merit, as well as the illustration of the rich biodiversity and unique nature of the Preserve. There is no cost to enter the contest. Simply complete the entry form, sign it, attach it to your print and deliver it in an envelope with your name clearly printed on the outside. Submit entries to MSC offices at 16435 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 110, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85254

Entry Form available online at

About McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
Since its founding in 1990, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy has championed the need for, establishment of, and safe public access to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.   The Conservancy works with the City of Scottsdale to: ensure completion, management and public appreciation of the Preserve; educate residents and visitors about the Preserve’s environmental and archaeological significance; ensure the public has appropriate access to the land they have repeatedly voted to protect.