Note: General definitions are given below for all nature competitions, followed by exceptions and differences for specific organizations.
General Definition - All Nature Competitions
Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archeology, in such a fashion that a well informed person will be able to identify the subject material and to certify as to its honest presentation. Authentic wildlife is defined as one or more organisms, living free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat.
Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements enhance the nature story. Generally, any evidence of a human having created or altered something in the image is cause for disqualification including, but not limited to fences; wires; cut stems; roads; mowed lawns; poles; lumber; feeders; metalic, glass, rubber or plastic objects, non-heavenly lights, buildings and construction. The presence of scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals is permissible. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants* or animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible. Photographs of zoo animals, game farm animals, or any living subject taken under controlled conditions are not eligible.
Any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement is reason to disqualify an image. No elements may be moved, cloned, added, removed, rearranged or combined. No manipulation or modification is permitted except resizing, cropping, selective lightening or darkening, and restoration of original color of the scene. No special effect filters can be applied. All adjustments, including sharpening, must appear natural. The removal, or manipulation, of colors contained within the original image to enable the production of monochrome images is permitted.
The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality.
NJFCC - Differences from General Definitions
Any live plant is acceptable as long as it is photographed in a natural setting. Therefore, it is permissible to submit an image of living hybrid plants.
The NJFCC does not address zoo animals. It does address exotic pets. If an image of a zoo animal or exotic pet is submitted, it must be taken in a natural setting with no evidence of humans having been present.
Minor cloning to remove small incidental distractions in the image are permitted if the cloning operation is undetectable by the judge. A judge may disqualify any image in which he or she detects evidence of cloning or pasting.
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