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CCFW’s annual Burrowing Owl Photo Contest

Entries being accepted now through May 21

By CJ HADDAD - | May 12, 2022

2021's Burrowing Owl Photo Contest winning photograph, captured by Jessica Bunone.

Enjoy snapping photos of wildlife or can’t get enough of the city’s official bird? The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife is now accepting entries for its annual Burrowing Owl Photo Contest.

The non-profit organization committed to protecting the city’s wildlife is looking for the best the public has to offer when it comes to pictures of the burrowing owl.

The photo contest ends on May 21 at noon, and the grand prize winner will have their photo used on CCFW’s 2023 official burrowing owl T-shirt.

“This is just a fun contest,” said CCFW’s Cheryl Anderson. “This is owl time. The babies are out, so it’s a perfect time for people to get out and take pictures of the owls.”

There are two different division categories for the contest: amateur youth (7 to 17) and amateur adult. No professional photographer can enter the contest.

Participants may submit just one photo, and are permitted to the following: crop; make minor adjustments to color, white balance, lighting levels and curves, shadows and highlight, saturation, contrast, sharpness; moderate dodging and burning; removal of dust sports and moderate reduction of image noise.

Photographs that have been digitally or otherwise altered beyond standard optimization will be disqualified.

Judging will be conducted by a CCFW-appointed panel that includes expert photographers. Judges will score eligible photographs on technical quality (30%), originality (30%), and artistic merit (40%). The grand prize is given to the highest-scoring photograph across both divisions. One prize is given to the highest-scoring photograph from the adult division, and one prize is given for the highest-scoring photograph from the youth division. No entrant may win more than one prize.

“Everybody’s got a camera in their pocket,” Anderson said. “We love seeing the pictures when they come in and reading the descriptions and stories behind each photo.”

The contest is open to both residents and visitors of Cape Coral. Last year’s winner, Jessica Bunone, was not a resident, but visiting her parents that lived in the Cape.

“It was such a great photo,” Anderson said. “This is such a great thing and I’m excited every day to see what comes in next.”

CCFW encourages every photographer to practice responsible bird photography. Prior to submitting any photograph, participants are strongly encouraged to read Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography and Videography. A photograph that appears to the sponsor or judges to reflect a harmful situation is not eligible for submission, and if submitted, will be disqualified at CCFW’s sole discretion.

Winners will be announced at the Burrowing Owl Census on Saturday, June 4, at 1 p.m. at Rotary Park, and on the CCFW website.

For full contest rules, prize details, more information on CCFW and to enter the photo contest, visit www.ccfriendsofwildlife.org.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj