Summer Vacation: National Park Marathon!

My family and I just came back from a road trip to 8 of the most well-known national parks in the west. All together we covered about 5,020 miles in 16 days which was a lot of driving for my dad! The long drive was definitely worth it, however, because the parks afforded us plenty of spectacular views. We saw a variety of animals roaming the wild, went on many ranger tours, and despite the intense summer heat, we definitely enjoyed our time exploring these natural wonders.

The parks we visited were:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Devil’s Tower National Monument
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Wind Cave National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park

Please enjoy the following pictures from our summer vacation courtesy of my father, my brother, and me.


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Make a Personalized Card

Are you tired of searching for that perfect Mother’s Day or Father’s Day card? Why not put some of your lovely photography to use by creating your own personalized cards? Just go to a local craft store and buy a pack of pre-made cards with frames in the front for photos. If you don’t have time to run to the store, create your own out of a sheet of paper or cardstock. Print out some of your favorite shots (of nature!) to insert into or glue onto the front of the card. If you can’t decide which one of your shots is the best one to use, then  create a beautiful collage out of several of them on the front of your card. Embellish your card by drawing a decorative border on the paper frame to add a touch of homemade-ness. Maybe you could even handwrite a poem on the inside to show how much you care. Your loved ones will be impressed by the amount of effort you put into making this card, and because it is homemade with your photography, it will be obvious that it comes from the heart!

My Unfinished Card as an Example

If you are a high school photographer with photographs you wish to publicize…

Consider submitting your photography to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This is a national competition with a primary regional level. There are a variety of categories for submitting, including photography, photography portfolio, and digitally manipulated photography. This competition is open to students in grades 7 to 12, and residents of the United States and Canada. Submissions must go through the school you attend, and submissions are open until the end of November. Students will earn gold keys, silver keys, or honorable mentions at the regional level, and students winning gold keys will have their artwork advance on to the national competition. Judging is based on originality, technical skill, and “emergence of a personal vision or voice.” Monetary prizes are also awarded to the highest placing artwork. There is no limit to the number of submissions you can submit, but there is a fee of $5 for each submission. Students must register online and fill out the required paperwork prior to the deadline.

Specifics for entering photography include:

  • images must be captures by a digital or analog camera and viewed as a print
  • minimum 300 dpi at 5” x 7” for digital photographs
  • prints must be mounted on a rigid board for exhibition
  • if the photo is of people, a consent form must be signed
  • intensely computer manipulated artwork must be entered in the Digital Art category


Summer Stripes, Ben Manning: Silver Key Winner at National Level

For examples of past winners visit:

For more information about the competition visit:


Calling All Those Interested in Garden Photography

The International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOY) contest is open to everyone around the globe, and there are no restrictions regarding the type of camera you use. There is a minimum entry fee of about $16 for up to 4 single photographs, and you can pay little more to enter a portfolio. There is a special section of the contest for youth under 16 years of age; and under 16s can enter for free. The categories:
• Plant Portraits • Garden Views • Wildlife in the Garden • People in the Garden • Wildflowers • Trees Autumn Shapes

The deadline for submissions to this year’s IGPOY competition is November 30, 2010. One hundred finalists will be chosen, and their photographs will be exhibited in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, United Kingdom. A book of the exhibition is produced each year. There are also monetary prizes, and all photographers can receive feedback on their work.

For more information on contest rules, uploading images, and galleries from past years visit: http:/

2009 IGPOY Youth First Place Winner: “Purple Haze” © by Kat Waters, Age 15
Cherkley Court, Surrey, England (photo below)
“I’d been scouring the gardens at Cherkley Court in Surrey for interesting subjects to photograph. I have an interest in macro photography and botanical subjects are always well suited. I don’t usually experiment with Adobe® Photoshop effects; however, I feel that in this case, the use of radial blur enhances the natural explosive look of the bloom.” See more work by Kat at

No use without photographer’s permission under any circumstances.


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