Photographers with a keen eye for the flora and fauna of Plymouth are being invited to take part in a new competition being launched this month.
The OPAL Plymouth Wildlife and Nature Photographic Competition will challenge enthusiasts with capturing beautiful landscapes, insects and flowers at close range, or creatures in the urban environment. It will even cater for those who like snapping shots with their mobile phone, with a specific category for those taken without a dedicated camera.
The competition is being run by the Big Lottery-funded OPAL South West team, who are based at Plymouth University, and whose remit is to work with local schools, colleges, and youth and community groups to monitor the local environment and engage with nature and green spaces.
OPAL Community Scientist Alison Smith said: “Plymouth is lucky to be the greenest city in the South West and there is a huge amount of wildlife right under our noses.
“We have eight local nature reserves, which are home to animals such as woodpeckers and kingfishers, rare butterflies and otters. But even our gardens and local parks can be great settings for wildlife photography.”
The competition, which is being run in conjunction with the University’s 150th anniversary celebrations, and the Stepping Stones to Nature project at Plymouth City Council, has four categories: Macro (close up shots of wildlife and/or plants); Landscapes; Urban Wildlife; and Mobile Pictures. Each category will also have three age brackets: Under-14s; 14-18s; and over-18s.
Pictures can be submitted to OPAL from Monday 9 January until Friday 30 March, with the winners announced on Monday 9 April. The best pictures will be exhibited at the University during a celebratory event.
Alison, who is from the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the University, added: “You need not be an expert photographer or naturalist to get involved – we want this competition to be open to everyone.
“You don’t even have to wait around for hours to capture that perfect shot – there are insects, bugs and plants everywhere that will make a colourful or interesting photo. And we’re particularly keen to see shots of wildlife in unusual places, to see how creatures are adapting to urban life.”
Anyone is eligible to enter but photos must have been taken in the City of Plymouth. Each entrant may submit up to two photos in each category for which they are eligible. All entries must be submitted by email to opalwildlifephotos [a] gmail (p) com. Photos must be submitted as JPEG files and must be between 2 and 10MB in size, except for pictures entered into the ‘photos taken on a mobile phone’ category.
The following information must be provided with each submission:
• Full name of the photographer
• The date the photograph was taken
• The location of the photograph (name of nature reserve or park, name of school, full address or road name required)
• Date of birth of the photographer and the age bracket they are entering into
• Valid email address
Full competition guidelines and terms and conditions can be found on the OPAL website at www.opalexplorenature.org/southwest-photocomp. You can also find ideas on where to go to see wildlife in Plymouth and some inspiration for photograph ideas if you are struggling.
In each category and age bracket there will be one winner and one highly commended photograph, and these entries will be exhibited at a celebration evening at Plymouth University at the end of April. Winners will be presented with a large canvas print of their winning photograph to take home.