MORRIS – Amateurs and experts alike are welcome to submit photos for the eighth annual Goose Lake Prairie nature photography contest.
Photo submissions will be accepted from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Goose Lake Prairie Visitor Center 5010 N. Jugtown Road in Morris. All photos must have exclusively natural subjects.
“They must all be nature shots. They can’t have anything about man in them – no concrete posts, no asphalt, no fences, no electric lines. This is supposed to be a nature show,” said Susie Johnson, contest chairwoman and co-founder.
Johnson said photos within Illinois State Parks are preferred, but submissions depicting natural scenes from anywhere in Illinois are acceptable.
She said she started the event nearly a decade ago to encourage more people to explore Goose Lake Prairie.
Contest sections are always reserved for photos taken at Goose Lake, highlighting the natural area’s flora and fauna.
“We have special categories in black and white, and in color, for photos from the Goose Lake Natural Area itself,” Johnson said.
All ages can submit photos, and each contestant can enter three photos for each category, Johnson said. There are more than twenty contest categories, between the youth and adult sections.
Three accomplished photographers from the Morris Camera Club will judge the contest.
Local photographer Denise Rogers usually submits her photos each year. But she is excited to judge this year.
“I love seeing the pictures,” she said. “I enter a lot of contests around Illinois, and I like this one a lot because you get to see so much wildlife.”
She encouraged everyone to submit – even those new to taking photos – because the judges will provide feedback for each using a scale and multiple categories.
In years past, Johnson said the contest has drawn about 120 area photographers, ranging from professional to beginner.
The winning photos will be selected Aug. 23 and displayed next weekend at the Goose Lake Prairie visitor’s center. Spectators can vote on their favorite photo, and the votes will be tallied for the people’s choice award.
“We would love everyone to visit and look at the winning photos,” Johnson said. “We have plants, flowers, wildlife – there’s lots of things to see.”