Nature photography comes into focus at St. Pete's Boyd Hill

08/29/11 Andrea Lypka
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When you think about Florida, you might think about beaches and amusement parks. But the state is considered a Mecca for many nature photographers and enthusiasts. Photographers of all ages got a glimpse in the secrets of nature photography at a workshop at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

Barbara Stalbert is a supervisor at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve says that their annual photography contest increases awareness of the preserve through an artistic medium.

“It is organized in conjunction with our annual Art Arbor Festival and everyone can enter up till 4 photographs per person and they are entered in different categories, in children's, youth and adult divisions, pictures of Boyd Hill category, pictures that are digitally manipulated and professional category for those who are professional photographers,” she said

The most popular category is the animals category.

“So you can see some critters that you might not be able to see otherwise hanging on our walls,” she said.

Entries will be judged by photographers and the winners will be announced at the Art Arbor Festival on November 5-6. One of the judges is Rob Moorman. When he is not taking pictures in his studio, he is doing nature photography.

“I think I have been judging it off and on for the last 10 or 15 years. I like it because it gives photo enthusiast community an outlet to share their images and work and I have to tell you that even if they are not full time their work is very competitive,” he said.

Photographer Jim Swallow is another judge this year.

“The most important thing in a photograph is impact,” Swallow said.

Swallow says that the jury will select photos that have good composition and color harmony. But the event is more than a photo contest.

“Photography should be fun. The most important thing is that you go out, take pictures and have fun doing it. When it becomes a chore, it is no longer fun. I have been taking pictures for 40 years and I knew when I was 9 years old that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That I wanted to take pictures forever and I have always done that. It’s part of having fun,” he said.

Kathy Michaels is on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Boyd Hill and is one of the organizers of the contest. She says the contest promotes the appreciation of natural environment.

“Because it shows the importance of nature and Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. We have over 200 acres here, it is a beautiful preserve… this brings a lot more people down,” she said.

Photographs will be on display at the Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve during the Art Arbor Festival and through December 31.

Entries for the contest are accepted until October 8 at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.

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