Today we're launching Oregon Outdoors' first outdoor photo contest, and believe us when we say it wasn't easy to set the parameters.

Today we're launching Oregon Outdoors' first outdoor photo contest, and believe us when we say it wasn't easy to set the parameters.

From mountains to rivers to desert and ocean, Oregon contains so many micro climates, habitats and biospheres, we started to get overwhelmed thinking about all the categories we could create.

In the end, we settled on three for this inaugural effort:

1) Wildlife, which can include any nondomesticated animal photographed in the wild

2) Landscapes, including forests, mountains, deserts, ocean, rivers, lakes or any other landscape that depicts the beauty of Oregon

3) People in nature, which can include hikers, skiers, rafters, bikers or any other activity that shows people — alone or in groups — outdoors in Oregon.

It's an online contest, so entries must be uploaded to our contest website. The entry deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, July 26.

When the deadline passes, we'll kick off a week of online voting to allow readers to choose a People's Choice winner. Online voting will close at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2.

Three winning photos chosen by our expert judges, along with the People's Choice winner, will be published Friday, Aug. 9, in the Mail Tribune's Oregon Outdoors section.

Fill out a registration form and upload your photos on our website at

1) Only photographs taken in Oregon are eligible.

2) The contest includes three categories: Wildlife, Landscapes and People in Nature.

3) Wildlife must be photographed in the wild (no zoo photos or pictures of tethered animals, caged animals or dead animals mounted by taxidermy). Please include the common species name of the animal if you know it.

4) Entries must include the photographer's name, phone, address and email address.

5) Please include the location where the photo was taken, the type of camera and the lens used.

6) Digital photos may be enhanced using tools such as exposure control, cropping and sharpening. Other major or obvious enhancements may render the photo ineligible. This will be a decision of the judges and all decisions are final.

7) You can enter up to 3 photos; however, each photographer is eligible to win only one award.

8) The entrant of the photo must be the photographer who shot the photo.

9) Only digital (jpeg) photos are eligible, submitted in RGB mode. If you shoot film, the photo must be scanned and submitted in digital format.

10) Entrants agree to allow Southern Oregon Media Group to publish their photos in print or online.

11) The contest is open to everyone who meets the criteria above, except for employees of Southern Oregon Media Group.

The judges will use the following criteria for grading all photos entered:

1) Composition

2) Technical quality (sharpness, depth of field, exposure, etc.)

3) How well the photo captures the essence of the topic.

If you have questions, email Mail Tribune features editor David Smigelski at or call 541-776-8784.