Hit Me With Your Best Shot!  2018

Notes on Rules and Ethics as Outlined by Gulf Coast Bird Club

General Information

This photography contest has been developed for the purposes of promoting bird/nature photography of the Gulf Coast Birds which frequent the Louisiana and Texas coastal areas. These areas are ripe with many hundreds of species of wild birds which we enjoy on a daily basis.


The contest is sponsored by Associated Louisiana Artist, Inc., Gallery by the Lake and the Gulf Coast Bird Club, Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Who May Enter

The contest is open to all legal residents of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are amateur photographers and 13 years of age or older as of August 1, 2018. An amateur is one who has not made $3,000 or more in 2017 or 2018 from photography or photography product sales.

Division Categories

Eligible individuals (the “Entrant” or “You”) may submit multiple photographs that depict birdlife in any form to the following three divisions (each a “Division” or collectively the “Divisions”). One entry fee of $35 allows the entrant to submit a total of three photographs to one or any combination of the categories they are eligible for (a total of three photographs entered).

1.  Birds in Action: This would include birds in flight, bird behavior, bird interaction and other similar subject matter. Photos should depict movement, or imply action in some manner.

2.  An Educational Moment: This would include photographs from which the observer learns something about the subject bird(s) and bird life. The competitor must include the learning objective in the submission application for this category.

3.  Youth: This would include photographs of birds in general. Entrants must be 13 to 17 years of age as of January 1, 2018.

Eligible Photographs

To be eligible to win a prize, all submitted photographs must depict birdlife (i.e., contain at least one bird) and accurately reflect the subject matter as it appeared in the viewfinder (a “Photograph”). To be eligible, all entries must depict a bird or birds which frequent the Gulf Coastal areas of Louisiana and/or Texas. Entries taken in other states or Canada are acceptable if their subject bird(s) would also frequent Louisiana at some time of the year.

Photographs that have been digitally or otherwise altered beyond standard optimization (e.g., removal of dust, cropping, adjustments to color and contrast) will be disqualified. Normal processing of RAW image files or minor adjustments to color and contrast are acceptable. You may be required to provide RAW image files in the timeframe provided upon request (generally within 7 days). Failure to timely provide RAW files may result in the disqualification of the Photograph in Audubon’s sole discretion. The decision by the Judges or Sponsors to disqualify any Submission is final.

Ethical Bird Photography

The sponsors encourage every photographer to practice responsible bird photography at all times. Entry constitutes agreement to abide by the Audubon ethics for all photographs submitted. Prior to submitting any Photograph, you must read Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography.  A Photograph that appears to the Sponsors or Judges to be in violation of those ethics is not eligible for Submission and, if submitted, will be disqualified. A brief summary of the ethics is as follows but is not all inclusive…..

1.       Photographs showing birds that appear to be stressed or harassed by recordings.

2.       Photographs of birds at nests taken with wide-angle or macro lenses.

3.       Photographs of birds of prey (e.g., hawks, owls) lured with live bait or decoy bait, such as fake mice.

4.       Photographs of nocturnal birds (e.g., owls, nightjars) taken with a flash at night.

5.       Photographs of birds taken by or with drones.

The decision by the Sponsors to disqualify any Submission is final.

How to Enter


Photographer/artist may submit up to 3 entries across all categories or enter each category separately.  Entries are submitted using  client.smarterentry.com  website, beginning  June 1, 2018.



A non-refundable entry fee of  $35 is charged each entrant for up to  three entries.  Credit card payments are accepted using the client.smarterentry.com  website.



Accepted Finalist works must framed and back wired.  Entries may be hand delivered during gallery open hours and must be picked up at the end of exhibition. Mailed entries should be suitable to the rigors of packaged shipping.  Image size should not exceed 18” x 24” or equivalent with matted and framed work not larger than 24” x 28”. 



The exhibition period is October 14 – December 31. Awards will be announced at the opening reception on October 14 which will be held from 2 to 4 pm. Accepted artwork is required to remain ALA Gallery by the Lake for the duration of the exhibition.





Photographs may be sold at the gallery during the exhibition. A 20% gallery commission will be assessed on the sale of photographs. The exhibition committee reserves the right to reproduce accepted entries for future press releases, website and Facebook promotion of this event.




Judging will be conducted by Bird Guide Magazine. Judges will score eligible photographs using the following criteria: a) Technical Quality (30 percent); b) Originality (30 percent); and c) Artistic Merit (40 percent).

 Prizes will be awarded as follows: a) One Grand Prize to the highest scoring Photograph across all Divisions; b) One First and Second Place  Categorical Prize to the highest scoring Photographs from the “Birds in Action” Division; c) One First and Second Place  Categorical Prize to the highest scoring Photographs from the “An Educational Moment” Division; and d) One First and Second Place  Categorical Prize to the highest scoring Photographs from the “Fine Art” Division; and e) One Youth Prize for the highest scoring Photograph from the Youth Division.

No Entrant may win more than one prize.  In the event of a tie for the Grand Prize or in any single Division, the Judges will use the Artistic Merit score of each tied Photograph to rank the Photographs. The Photograph with the highest Artistic Merit score will be the winner for that Division. If there continues to be a tie after the Artistic Merit scores are compared, the Judges will compare and rank the Technical Quality scores, and then the Originality scores, in that order. If the scores of the Photographs are still tied, the Sponsors will assemble a separate panel of judges who will review the tied Photographs using the above criteria. The decisions of the Judges and the Sponsors will be final.  Winners will be contacted and confirmed by email on or about September 10, 2018.


There are eight (8) prizes available to be won: one Grand Prize and one first and second prize in each of the three Divisions plus one prize in the Youth Division. Prizes will be awarded only to the person whose name is on the winning entry at the time of Submission. 

1.       Best in Show: $300.00 USD

2.       Birds in Action:  $200.00 first place, $100 second place USD

3.       An Educational Moment:  $200.00 first place, $100 second place USD

4.       Fine Art:  $200.00 first place, $100.00 second place USD

5.       Youth: $100.00 USD

All Prizes each referred to as a “Prize” or collectively as “Prizes”

The total ARV of all Prizes available to be won: $1,300.00 USD.

Winners will be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release of Liability and Publicity (together, the “Releases”), where permitted, and return the Releases, properly executed, to the sponsors within seven days of being notified. Releases will require the winner to furnish his/her Social Security Number for the sole purpose of tax reporting, as required by law. If a winner is otherwise eligible under these Official Rules, but is nevertheless deemed a minor in his or her state of primary residence, his/her prize will be awarded in the name of his/her parent or legal guardian who must execute the Releases on the minor winner’s behalf. Sponsors may disqualify any winner who fails to respond to the prize notification or fails to return the Releases within the seven-day period and, at Sponsors’ sole discretion, select an alternate winner.  If any Prize or Prize notification is returned as undeliverable, a winner declines his or her Prize, or a winner fails to comply with any of these Official Rules, that winner will be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected by the Judges using the scoring procedure outlined above.   

Winners are responsible for the payment of any taxes on Prizes.

Prizes will be awarded within 45 days of each winner being confirmed.

Prize Conditions

All expenses related to the acceptance or use of any Prize is the sole responsibility of prize winner.

All travel-related expenses including but not limited to ground transportation to and from home, taxes, gratuities, incidentals, upgrades, insurance, service charges, airport surcharges, luggage fees, departure taxes, resort or property fees, food & beverage and personal expenses such as telephone/Internet charges, and gift shop purchases are the sole responsibility of the Prize winner.

Prizes are not redeemable for cash, except at the sole discretion of the Sponsors. Prizes are non-assignable or transferable. No substitution is permitted except if Prize or Prize component is unavailable, in which case a prize of equal or greater value will be awarded to the extent possible. Any other incidental expenses on Prize not specified herein are the sole responsibility of each winner. Once a Prize has been delivered to the winner’s residence, the Prize is considered awarded.

General Conditions

By submitting a Photograph to the Contest, you agree to the following:

1.  You represent and warrant that: a) You are the sole and exclusive author and owner of the Photograph and all rights therein; b) The Photograph has not won any previous awards, prizes or competitions; c) You have the full and exclusive right, power, and authority to submit the Photograph; d) No rights in the Photograph have been previously granted to any person, firm, corporation or other entity, or otherwise encumbered such that the prior grant would limit or interfere with the rights granted to the Sponsors herein; e) No part of the Photograph has been published previously; and, f) No part of your Photograph defames or invades the privacy or publicity rights of any person, living or decreased, or otherwise infringes upon any third party’s copyright, trademark or other personal or property rights.

2.  You acknowledge that: a) Sponsors have the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any Photograph at any time if they determine that the Photograph is offensive, inappropriate, or contrary to the Sponsors’ reputations, or that you or your Photograph have not complied with any of the Official Rules; b) Sponsors are not responsible for misdirected, incomplete, lost, late, undelivered, inaccurate, illegible, or delayed Submissions, for technical, hardware, or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions, for human, mechanical, typographical, printing, electronic, or network errors, for errors which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing of Submissions, the announcement of prizes, or any other errors, any of which may limit or affect your ability to participate in the Contest; c) Sponsors have the right to modify, suspend or cancel the Contest in the event that it becomes infected by a computer virus or is otherwise technically impaired, and to suspend or cancel the Contest in its entirety should tampering, unauthorized access, fraud, technical failures, acts of God or other causes corrupt the administration, security, fairness, or integrity of the Contest. If the Contest is suspended, Sponsors may select winners from the set of all non-suspect, eligible Submissions received up to the date of cancellation using the judging procedure outlined above, or, in their sole discretion, cancel the Contest and decide to award no Prizes; d) You may be disqualified from entering the Contest if it is determined by the Sponsors that you engaged in false or deceptive acts; e) Mass entries generated by script, macro or use of automated devices will be disqualified; f) By entering the Contest, you are not creating a confidential or fiduciary relationship with the Sponsors; g) Sponsors may themselves create other artwork, receive Submissions from other Entrants for this Contest, or receive photographs from third parties in connection with Sponsors’ customary business that are similar or identical to your Photograph in theme, idea, format or other respects.  You waive any and all claims you may have now or may have in the future that your Photographs are substantially similar in theme, idea or format to any photographs or other artwork in Sponsors’ possession; and, h) Sponsors and their designees have the right, unless prohibited under law, to use your name, city and state of residence, voice, picture and likeness, without compensation, notification or approval, for the purpose of advertising and publicizing the Sponsors’ goods and services and publicizing the Contest, in any manner or medium, now or hereafter known, worldwide and in perpetuity.

3.  If any Photograph in your Submission contains any material or elements not owned by you, or which are subject to the rights of third parties, you are responsible, prior to submitting the Photograph, for obtaining any and all releases necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the Photograph in all the manners contemplated by these Official Rules, including, without limitation, permission to use the name and likeness of any person who appears or is identifiable in the Photograph. You may be required to provide proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to Audubon, and if you fail to provide such proof within seven days of request by Audubon, your Photograph will be disqualified. 

5.  You hereby release the sponsors, their parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates and divisions, and their respective directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability, loss or damage arising from or in connection with your participation or attempt to participate in the Contest, and/or the awarding, receipt, use or misuse of a Prize or participation in any Prize-related activities; from claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy; and from claims based on the infringement of or protection of the copyright in your Submission.

6.  You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Sponsors against any claims by any third party related to a breach of any of these General Conditions, including, but not limited to, a claim of ownership of any copyright, trademark, or any personal or property rights, libel, defamation, invasion of privacy or right of publicity, or your failure to pay taxes on any Prize. 

7.  The Sponsors and their parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates and divisions, and their respective directors, officers, employees, attorneys, representatives and agents make no warranties, and hereby disclaim all warranties, express or implied, concerning the Contest and any Prize furnished or awarded in connection with the Contest, including, but not limited to, the sponsor’s ability to award a Prize due to its bankruptcy, insolvency or failure to continue its business. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, PRIZES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AND THE CONTEST ENTITIES HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL SUCH WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND/OR NONINFRINGEMENT.

8.  If your Photograph is determined by the sponsors or judges in their discretion to be ineligible at any time during or after the Contest Entry Period, that Photograph will be removed from the judging. If your Photograph is found to have been ineligible after it was awarded a Prize, you agree to return the Prize or the value of such Prize to Audubon immediately following notification of ineligibility. If you are disqualified for a violation of any of these Official Rules at any time during or after the Contest Entry Period, all of your Submissions will be disqualified from the Contest and, in the event that any of your Submissions were awarded a prize, you agree to return the Prize or the value of such Prize to Audubon immediately following notification of disqualification.

Winner Confirmation

You may obtain the name/city of residence of the winners by mailing a self-addressed stamped envelope to: 106 W. Pryce Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601. Requests received after January 31, 2019 may not be honored.

This Contest is void where prohibited by law. Contest is governed by U.S. law and subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

AUDUBON’s Bird Photography Ethics

The first essential element in bird photography is a sincere respect for the birds and their environment. In any conflict of interest, the well-being of the birds and their habitats must come before the ambitions of the photographer. Here are some basic guidelines.

Avoid causing unnecessary disturbance or stress to birds.

·         Use a telephoto lens or a blind for close-up shots. If your approach causes a bird to flush (fly or run away) or change its behavior, you’re too close.

·         Some birds may “freeze” in place rather than flying away, or may hunch into a protective, aggressive, or pre-flight stance. Watch for changes in posture indicating that the birds are stressed, and if you see these, back away.

·         Never advance on a bird with the intention of making it fly.

·         Use flash sparingly (if at all), as a supplement to natural light. Avoid the use of flash on nocturnal birds at night, as it may temporarily limit their ability to hunt for food.

·         Before sharing locations of specific birds with other photographers or birders, think carefully about potential impacts to the birds or their habitats.

·         Concern for birds’ habitat is also essential. Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid trampling sensitive vegetation or disturbing other wildlife.

Nesting birds are particularly vulnerable, and need special consideration

·         Keep a respectful distance from the nest. If you’re using a macro lens or including the nest as a focal point in an image with a wide-angle lens, even if you’re operating the camera remotely, you’re probably too close. Telephoto lenses of at least 500mm are recommended.

·         Avoid flushing the adults or scaring the young, or doing anything to draw the attention of predators to the nest. For example, repeatedly walking to a nest can leave both a foot trail and scent trail for predators.

·         Do not move or remove anything around the nest, as it may be providing both essential camouflage and protection from the elements.

·         Never use drones to photograph nests, as they can cause injury and stress to the nestlings and parents. 

Luring birds closer for photography is often possible but should be done in a responsible way.

·         Birdfeeding stations, whether or not they’re used for photography, should be kept clean, stocked only with appropriate food items, and positioned with the birds’ safety in mind.

·         Never lure hawks or owls with live bait, or with decoys such as artificial or dead mice. Baiting can change the behavior of these predatory birds in ways that are harmful for them.

·         Playback of bird voices to lure them close for photography should be used sparingly, and not at all in the case of endangered birds, or birds at critical points in their nesting cycle.

Show respect for private and public property, and consideration for other people.

·         Enter private land only with permission. On public property such as parks and refuges, be aware of local regulations, hours, and closed areas.

·         In group situations, be considerate of other photographers and birders who may be watching the same bird. Remember that your desire to photograph the bird doesn’t outweigh the rights of others to observe it. Remember also that large groups of people are potentially more disturbing to birds, so it may be necessary to keep a greater distance.

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