Rules: Camp Lula Sams Photo Tournament

2nd Annual Save Camp Lula Sams Nature Photography Tournament Official Rules – 2016

The 2nd Annual Save Camp Lula Sams Nature Photography Tournament is a fundraising and conservation event created by Images for Conservation Fund and The Valley Land Fund to communicate the great diversity and majesty of wildlife living on the 85.7 acres of the historic Camp Lula Sams in Brownsville, Texas. The Tournament is open to all photographers who would like to participate knowing that their images and fees will help the Save Camp Lula Sams Capital Campaign purchase and protect one of the most biodiverse tracts of habitat in the United States. Securing this land will ultimately insure the preservation of this unique habitat and the protection of its wild inhabitants for future generations.


The Tournament will begin sunrise April 1, 2016 and end at sunset May 31, 2016.


The Tournament is open to all photographers (both professional and amateur) who register, pay the $50* per day entry fee (or $35* per half-day), and reserve their day(s) at Camp Lula Sams. Participating photographers may reserve a maximum of five full-days (or ten half-days). No more than 6 photographers are allowed at the Camp at any one time (with the exception of Kids’ Days or special group events). Access to the camp is strictly limited to between sunrise and sunset (gates will be opened and closed accordingly) unless photographers spend the night. Two cabins are available on the property that can be rented for $100 per night otherwise photography is limited to the time of sunrise to sunset.


*Note: Student pricing is available $40 per full-day (or $25 per half-day)


How to Register:

All registrations will be completed through the Images for Conservation Fund (ICF) Website at  The participant must create a user ID and purchase the product.

Participants may register and reserve open dates any time until May 25, 2016.

Initial registration must include an entry fee of $50.00 for at least 1 full-day (or $35 for 1 half-day). Additional days may be added at any time during the tournament not to exceed 5 full-days (or 10 half-days) in total.

A reservation for your day(s) of photography at Camp Lula Sams must be made at time of registration. Any additional days (or half-days) added later must also be registered, paid for, and reserved through

A participant may change a current reserved date for photography if done 5 days or more prior to their current reserved date.

Entry fees will not be returned for cancellations.


Camera | Image Capture Requirements:

All cameras must be digital. Images must be created in RAW format when available.  If the camera does not offer RAW format, the camera must be set on the highest quality JPEG offered. [We recommend that you set your camera’s image capture format to RAW + HiRes JPEG to insure the most compatibility with your image processing software.]

All images submitted to the tournament must include metadata that has the photographer’s name, as well as, date and time of image capture.  [Remember to insure that your camera’s date and time is current and accurate prior to your arrival at Camp Lula Sams.]


Main Divisions | Competition Categories:  All Images must be composed of wildlife, plants, and/or landscapes found on the Camp Lula Sams property represented by the following 5 Divisions:



Reptiles, Amphibians & Fish

Invertebrates such as Insects, Arachnids & Arthropods

Landscapes, Plants & Flowers

NEW Special Divisions | Competition Categories for 2016:

1.    Best Camera Trap Image – For a one-time fee of $70, a participant may place (at the participants’ risk) a remote trail camera on the Camp Lula Sams property for the duration of the Tournament. The fee will entitle the photographer to submit up to 7 additional images in the Best Camera Trap Image category. Judges will select one overall winning image in this category and it will receive a $200 cash prize. Note: Camera trap images can also be submitted to Main Division categories and thus can be considered for Main Division prizes as well.

2.    Rarest Image – The “rarest” or “most unusual sighting or behavior” captured during the Tournament. Dr. Pat Burchfield, Director of the Gladys Porter Zoo, will select one overall winning image for this category from all Tournament entries (both Main Divisions and Special Divisions) and it will receive a $100 cash prize. No additional entry fee is required for this category.

3.    Best Cell Phone Image – Each participant can enter up to 5 cell phone images (in Total, not per day) taken during their Tournament days at Camp Lula Sams. Judges will select one overall winning image in this category and it will receive a $50 cash prize. No additional entry fee is required for this category.  Note images from this category will NOT be considered for Main Division prizes.

Treatment of Animals:  ICF requires all Participants to use extreme caution to protect the health and survival of the subjects being photographed.

Any images of wildlife species that all three judges agree look stressed will be disqualified.

Images of animals subjected to restraint of any kind shall be labeled as controlled subjects as part of the submission. This will not reduce any scores unless the subject is obviously stressed.

Small Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish and Invertebrates may be carefully restrained for purposes of taking the photograph, provided the subjects are released unharmed and where they were found. Birds may not be trapped or restrained. Please do NOT handle the Texas Tortoises as they are a protected species.

No artificial freezing or cooling of any animal is allowed.

If a restrained subject is dangerous to humans, it must be released where the risk to humans is minimized.

Restrained mammal species are limited to rats, mice, moles and shrews.  Images of unrestrained mammals are preferred.  No other Mammals may be captured or physically restrained in any form or fashion.

All Images submitted must be of living animals; no stuffed or artificial plants or animals.

Image Processing: Color images only. No digital composites, or black and white conversions, or panoramic composite photos are allowed. Digital manipulation is only acceptable if limited to cleaning (dust spots), levels, curves, color, saturation and contrast work. Compositing and multiple exposures are not allowed. As part of this event is creating (and documenting) a visual inventory of the biodiversity of Camp Lula Sams, all images should accurately reflect the subject matter or scene as it appeared.

Other than by cropping (see below) no element (aside from dust spots mentioned above) may be removed from an image (for example:  you may not remove a misplaced tree branch, or an inconveniently placed rock). No images may be altered.  All decisions made by the Judges and contest organizers regarding the acceptability of an image are final.

Cropping shall not exceed more than 25% of the width and height of the original RAW or high resolution JPEG file while maintaining the camera’s original image proportion or aspect ratio (generally 2:3 for most DSLRs). Cropping must be done IN RATIO. For instance, do not crop a horizontal image into a square format. If the Judges deem that an image has been cropped too significantly or that the final image quality or resolution has been compromised, the image may be disqualified.

Cropping Example: Let’s assume the camera’s original RAW file (or high resolution JPEG) dimensions are 12 inches by 18 inches at 300 dpi. To calculate the maximum crop allowed for this image multiply both the length and width of your image by 0.75. For instance, 12 x 0.75 (equals 9) and 18 x 0.75 (equals 13.5), thus the smallest size you can crop your original image to is 9 inches by 13.5 inches at 300 dpi. Note by multiplying both the length and width by 0.75, you’ve maintained the original aspect ratio of your image. Also note that this is the maximum crop allowed. You are not required to crop the full 25%, you are welcome to crop less (or not at all) as long as you maintain the original aspect ratio.

Submitting Images: 

Each photographer may submit up to 10 images for each full-day they have reserved at Camp Lula Sams (or 5 images for each half-day they have reserved). For example, if a photographer reserves 5 full-days (the maximum days allowed) they can submit up to 50 images. Alternatively, if a photographer reserves 10 half-days (the maximum number of half-days allowed) they can submit up to 50 images as well.  Note if a photographer reserves a combination of half-days and full-days, this combination can’t exceed a 5 full-day equivalent, so the total amount of images submitted still remains at the maximum of 50.

However, each photographer may also submit an additional 15 images at a cost of $10 each. For a maximum total submission of 65 images (the 50 image maximum per above, plus 15 additional images purchased).*

*NEW for 2016: The introduction of the Best Camera Trap Image Category in 2016 now would allow for 7 additional camera trap (trail camera) images to be submitted, bringing the maximum total submission to 72 images (the initial 50 image maximum, plus 15 additional images that can be purchased, plus 7 camera trap images). Note: Images submitted for the new Best Cell Phone Image category are not included here as they will NOT be considered for Main Division prizes.

Additionally, please note that each photographer is limited to submitting no more than 15 images to any one of the 5 Main Divisions (categories) listed below:



Reptiles, Amphibians & Fish

Invertebrates such as Insects, Arachnids & Arthropods

Landscapes, Plants & Flowers

How to Submit Images:

1.   All images submitted for judging must be received two ways:  through the ICF website: AND via flash drive (USB thumb drive or DVD).

2.   All image submissions uploaded to the website must be sized to 1024 pixels on the longest side (For example: 683 pixels high by 1024 pixels wide if the camera has a standard DSLR 2:3 aspect ratio.)

3.  You may submit images any time during the Tournament, but no later than 5:00 PM, June 10, 2016.

4.  All submitted images must be created on a reserved day(s) at Camp Lula Sams (no other locations are allowed) during the official shooting period.

5.   All images submitted for judging must also be submitted on a flash drive (USB thumb drive or DVD). Please place three versions of each image file submitted on your flash drive as follows:

a.  The original RAW files or original high resolution JPEG files.

b.  The processed (edited) high resolution JPEG file (High resolution images may NOT be less than 2048 pixels on the long side. Larger images are preferred). High resolution JPEG files must be saved at the highest possible quality setting (least compression). JPEG quality setting “12” in Photoshop or “100” in Lightroom.

c.  The low resolution file (1024 pixels on the long side) that you uploaded to the

ICF website.

6.    Please hand deliver your flash drive (USB thumb drive or DVD) to the Tournament Director at Camp Lula Sams or send via mail to the John Martin, Chairman Images for Conservation Fund, 2112 University Drive #801, Edinburg, Texas 78539

All photographers will be given specific instructions regarding submitting images to the ICF website upon registration.


Tournament entrant must be the creator of the submitted image, and owner of the copyright for every image submitted. Copyright remains with the photographer.  By submitting images for judging, photographers agree to grant the Tournament and its Sponsors an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide non-exclusive license to use, publish, and reproduce their images for promotion, sale and display purposes including, but not limited to:

1.    Promotion of future tournaments

2.    Fundraising for the Save Camp Lula Sams Campaign

3.    Creation of Camp Lula Sams Books, Apps, Calendars or other publications

Every effort will be made to give the photographer appropriate photo credit when an image is used.


If applicable, photographers are responsible for obtaining model releases from any individual who appears in a submitted photo (or if the individual is under age 18 from their parent/legal guardian).


Images will be judged anonymously by judges experienced in the field of nature and wildlife photography. Scores are based on originality, composition, technical quality, and overall impact.  All decisions made by the judges and contest organizers are final.

Entry Fee Allocations:

25% of all entry fee money will be paid out in prizes.

75% of entry fee money will go to the Save Camp Lula Sams Capital Campaign to help purchase and protect Camp Lula Sams.

Main Divisions Prize Categories:

Grand Prize Winner:  The Camp Lula Sams Nature Photographer of the Year.  The Grand Prize winner will be determined based on the best average score for a given portfolio of 20 images or more. For portfolios over 20 images, the average score will be calculated based on each photographer’s highest scoring 20 images.

First, Second & Third Place Winners will also be awarded in each of the 5 Divisions above based on the highest scoring individual images per category.  Prize money will be divided equally among the participants with the same scores.

Main Division Prize Money Allocation:

(One) Grand Prize: Camp Lula Sams Nature Photographer of the Year will receive 25% of the Prize Money

(Five) 1st Place Division Winners will share 50% of the Prize Money

(Five) 2nd Place Division Winners will share 25% of the Prize Money

(Five) 3rd Place Division Winners will receive 2015 Save Camp Lula Sams Coffee-

table Books

Selected winning images from the Tournament will also be featured in Wildlife Photographic magazine. Wildlife Photographic is a magazine dedicated to wildlife photography and is distributed internationally in Apple’s Newsstand ( and in the Google Play Marketplace (

NEW Special Division Prize Categories:

Best Camera Trap Image: (One) Overall winner will receive $200

Rarest Image: (One) Overall winner will receive $100

Best Cell Phone Image: (One) Overall winner will receive $50

Special Weekly Winner Competition:
Each photographer may submit up to two images per week in the Weekly Winner Competition. Winners will be announced for each week that more than two participants have submitted images. One winning image will be selected each week and the winner will receive a 2015 Save Camp Lula Sams Coffee-table Book. The winning images will also be shared through various social media outlets. Important Note: Entering an image in the Weekly Winner Competition does NOT enter your image in the main Tournament. This is a totally separate contest. If you want to include your Weekly Winner submissions in the main Tournament you will have to re-submit with your final Tournament portfolio.


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