Nature Wise Columnist Bob Handfield

Nature Wise: Nature photography contest opens soon

South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club nature photo contest open residents of the RDOS

Even though digital cameras were invented many decades earlier, the advent of good and relatively inexpensive digital cameras didn’t really do away with film until about 10 or 12 years ago.

Now with everything being digital instead of using film, you can literally take hundreds or even thousands of shots at zero incremental cost. On a trip to Costa Rica a few years back I thought I was taking lots of photos until I talked to another tourist I ran into a few times. We had covered much the same territory — I had about 600 photos or so; in the same time period he had taken 12,000 photos. Naturally he had more great photos than I had, just sheer numbers ensured that, so don’t be afraid to press that shutter button. Even professional photographers take many, many shots of the same subject to get that one really good photo. And of course, now higher-end cell phones include very good cameras so many people are never without the means to capture great photos.

The point of all of this photography: the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club is hosting a nature photo contest open to all residents of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (except professional photographers). Photos submitted to the contest must have been taken within the geographic limits of the RDOS. As a reminder, that covers the area from just south of Peachland to the U.S. border and from about the center of Manning Park in the west to about halfway between Penticton and Beaverdell in the east (it does not include Mt. Baldy ski area). It is easy to forget what an incredibly diverse area the RDOS encompasses; from the snow-clad peaks of Cathedral Mountains and Manning Provincial Parks to the near-desert valley bottom there are endless opportunities to take a fantastic array of photos.

Related: Shutter bugs wanted for nature photo contest

Photos can be submitted in five categories: waterfowl; other birds; landscapes; flora (all types of wildflowers, trees and other plants) and fauna (animals of all sizes and types). In addition to category prizes there will be one grand prize, a people’s choice prize and a Penticton Western News reader’s choice award. Total value of all prizes exceeds $4,000. All of the winning photos and honourable mentions will be featured in an exhibition at the Penticton Museum beginning in mid-September. Judging will be done by an expert panel comprised of Mark Brett – photographer/journalist, Penticton Western News, Cathy Pires – manager, Penticton London Drugs Photo Lab and Caillum Smith – professional photographer and proprietor of Preserved Light Photography. There will be a small entry fee ($5) per photo. Photos will be accepted in digital format beginning on March 1 and continuing until July 15. For complete details and all the rules check out our website at:

The purpose of the contest is to showcase the natural beauty of the South Okanagan and Similkameen valleys; to encourage residents of the RDOS to get outside and enjoy the wonderful scenery, to raise awareness of the fragile environment of the region; and to help showcase the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club and its role in conservation in this area. The modest entry fee will help offset contest expenses and help our club further its programs in the valley.

The club would like to thank our contest sponsors: Vortex Binoculars Canada, Parks Canada, London Drugs, Penticton Western News, Burrowing Owl Winery, Waypoint Advisory Group — Raymond James Ltd, Penticton Golf & Country Club, The Book Shop and The Penticton Museum. We are still working at increasing the number of prizes so we hope this list will grow over the next few months.

The South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club’s monthly meetings take place on the fourth Thursday of each month. Get all the details about our meetings and other activities at

Bob Handfield is president of the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club but the views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the club.

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