2019 Photo Contest

1st - Mark Ochenduszko - Windansea Lunar Eclipse
2019 – Night Category Winner:  1st – Mark Ochenduszko – Windansea Lunar Eclipse

2019 Photo Section Contest

The 2019 Sierra Club Photo Section Contest runs from Saturday, October 12th to Saturday, November 9th at 11:59 PM.  See below for categories, rules, and the submission process.  Good luck!

Information for participants

  • Submit your very best photos – go deep into your archives and pull out the gems!
  • Consider the category you submit to carefully, and whether your photos really fit into it
  • The contest will be judged by photographer, artist, and past Photo Club President, T.M. Schultze.  Members can contact him with further questions about the contest.
  • We are retaining the categories from 2018!

Contest Rules

  1. Contestants is free for 2019 dues-paid members of the San Diego Photo Club.  Only current members may submit.  See the Club Secretary to check your membership status.  New members paying dues after September 1 are not eligible for the contest.  Do not pay membership just to be in the contest.
  2. Members are allowed to make three (3) individual image submissions per category.  Only the first 3 images submitted per category are accepted.  Substitutions are not allowed and any submitted images beyond 3 will be deleted, no matter the quality.  Think before submitting.
  3. Images in past Photo Club contests that were not winners are permitted, and we encourage you to submit re-imagined or reprocessed images as your skills have improved.  Previous ribbon winners are not allowed (we will verify).
  4. Ribbons and prizes will be determined by the Club Executive Board for winners.  Generally, each category will feature ribbon winners in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  The Judge can also select up to 5 additional images for Honorable Mentions.
  5. Category winners will be part of the feature program and announced by the judge at the December Photo Club Holiday Party.

Submission Instructions

  1. Submissions are to be sent via the Dropbox submission links below.  Submission by any other method will not be permitted.
  2. Please do not resize your images.  Larger images show better quality and will be better judged.  However, images will be viewed
  3. Please send JPEG files only, sRGB color space.
  4. Honorable mentions and ribbon winners will be revealed by the Judge at the Holiday Party and will be placed in winners galleries in low-resolution on the photo club website after the Holiday party.  Upon request, requests to delete images after judging is completed will be honored.  Contact the judge if you wish for your winning image to not be featured.  If you wish to replace your winning image on the gallery with a watermarked image, you will need to contact the judge.

About The Judge…And Some Judging Criteria

T.M. Schultze is a sales professional by day and a passionate landscape photographer when he isn’t at the office or asleep.  He has been active with the Sierra Club Photo Section since 2010, rebuilding the Club website and serving on the Executive Board.  From 2014 to 2017, he served as the Photo Club President.  He was the 5th Recipient of the Photo Club’s Leadership Award.  With his years in the club, he has developed a keen sense for the unique and powerful vision the club’s members have in the field.  All of the categories below are areas that our members excel every year.

Mr. Schultze will be using the following ideas to serve as a guide for the judging.  Keep these ideas in mind when you are selecting your images to submit!

  • Composition rules everything.  No matter the type of photograph you are making, it needs to be a strong composition.  Consider in your image:  Is it powerful?  Is it balanced?  Does it demand further attention from your eyes and additional study?  Strong compositions are the most important element.
  • Faithfulness to the category is important.  Each category demands different ideas, skills, and fundamentally, a finished image that represents it.  When submitting your images, think about how it relates to the category.
  • Level of skill and technique is definitely considered.  Some photographs just do it themselves.  We often call those snapshots, even though they may be a nice photograph.  A powerful image that requires skill in it’s craft will stand out.
  • Careful processing is very important.  Today’s photographer has more tools and techniques easily available than any time in history.  While our editing programs and tools help us turn a flat raw file into a powerful image, when taken too far, they also can produce noisy, garish, or uneven results.  Be judicious in your editing and processing.  Ask yourself, is this scene recognizable to your eye, or is the method of editing calling attention to itself?  Seek a result that is edited but natural.  Please note:  This is a judge’s preference for the contest only, and not meant to discourage you from aggressive editing techniques in your personal work.
  • Your image should stand out and be unique.  For most of this decade, there were more photographs made in a single year than had been made in the entire history of humankind before it.  Many of your fellow photo club members are making photographs similar to yours.  Select images that stand out in the crowd and it just might catch the eye of the judge.  PS:  This is a good rule to consider when submitting to the Spring San Diego County Fair Photo Contest as well.
  • Have fun!  This contest is a value-add for our members, a chance to have a low-key way to compete in a photo contest, and is great practice to enter the Spring season’s San Diego County Fair Exhibition of Photography contest.  Enjoy your images as you submit, and congratulate your fellow club members when they place or receive honorable mentions.  If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the judge.


  • Landscape Photography
    • This category includes all of your scenes of landscapes, open spaces, and natural outdoor elements.  This is our most popular contest category.  Images with oceans, lakes, rivers, etc., should be entered into the Waterscapes category.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Waterscape Photography
      • This category includes outdoor images featuring oceans, lakes, rivers, and other water-based elements as a primary element of the photograph.
      • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Black and White
    • Black and white, monochrome, and converted infrared images are acceptable for this category.  Note:  Black and white photographs are acceptable in other photographs where they are a fit.  Think before submitting to other categories if the composition is strong enough to compete with color photographs in those categories.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Architecture and Structure
    • Images of buildings, structures, and other human-made elements are a fit for this category.  Besides traditional architectural photography, if you photographed at the Motor Transport Museum Activity, this is the best category for you.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Wildlife-Captive
    • Photos of wild animals in captivity or captive environments.  If you went to the zoo or have other images from the San Diego Safari Park, this is the best category.  Bird photographs are acceptable in this category, but you may consider submitting those in the Avian Photography category.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Wildlife-Non-Captive
    • Photos of wild animals in natural environments.  You are on your honor that submissions are non-captive, and the judge reserves the right to request additional verification or disqualify images that are not obviously non-captive.  Like the captive category, bird photographs are acceptable but you may wish to use the Avian Photography category.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Night Photography
    • Any photograph made at night can fit into this category.  Night sky photography and astrophotography images will include the majority of submissions, but other photographs made under dark conditions can be a fit here.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Avian Photography
    • Photographs of birds in flight, at rest, or somewhere in between are best for this category.  Birds do not have to be the primary subject of your photograph, but all images should be a strong composition.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Macro Photography
    • This category includes photographs taken as 1:1, or true macro images greater than 1:1.  Close-ups are acceptable, including details of flowers, plants, insects, etc.  All should be composed well and include a good balance between focus and bokeh.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • People
    • This category combines several categories that our members participate in.  Travel photographs with people as the primary subject would fit in this category.  Street photographs with people as the primary subject would also fit in this category.  Finally, traditional studio or natural-lit portraiture should be submitted here.
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Abstract
    • Abstract of impressionistic photographs can be submitted here.  Images will be judged on level of abstraction, uniqueness, and sense of composition.  Composition is important, even for an abstract image!
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • Wild Card
    • This is an open category.  Do you have images that are unique or not a natural fit in other categories?  You can submit them here.  There are no limits, no obvious rules, and nothing restraining you from submitting “different” images here.  Have fun and find something that stands out!
    • Dropbox Submission LinkCLICK HERE
  • The Print
    • Bring your printed images to the 2019 Holiday Party on December 21st.  Judging will be conducted in person.  Prints can be show in any way, including gatorboard, matted, framed, or any material base.  We cannot guarantee a place to stand your prints, so it is highly recommended you bring your own easel.  Relatively inexpensive easels can be purchased at art places like Michael’s.