Pull out your camera and dust off your walking shoes, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is hosting the first in-person photography contest since the pandemic began last year.
Park Naturalist and Recreation Supervisor Haley Joseph said the event will be taking place this Friday through Sunday with Don McGowan, owner of Earthsong Photography, as the judge and speaker.
“We have the photography weekends to get people out at the park and back into nature,” she said. “We love seeing all of the photos that showcase the natural beauty of the park.”
She said participants can start taking photos on the Pennyrile Park grounds at 5 a.m. on Friday, continuing all day Friday and into Saturday morning. Photos have to be turned in at the Lodge by 3 p.m. on Saturday to be considered for the contest.
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, McGowan will talk to the group about different tips and tricks he has learned over the years to take better nature and animal photographs.
“It is kind of like a teaching program where he teaches people how to become a better photographer and gives them his own advice from his experiences,” said Joseph. “He will go over different shots he has taken and what he needed to do to get that shot.”
For those who may not feel comfortable attending the talk in person, Joseph said she plans to live-stream it on the park’s Facebook page for anyone who wants to see it. Even those who have not participated in the contest can view the talk.
“People will still be able to see the program, they just won’t be able to participate in the contest,” she said.
Since COVID-19 is still an issue, the park is asking everyone to wear a mask while they are indoors. The mask is not required when they are out taking pictures.
The event will wrap up at 10 a.m. on Sunday with the awards ceremony and a slide show of all the photography entries for the contest. Joseph said that will also be live-streamed on Facebook.
“Everyone enjoys seeing other people’s photos and perspectives in the different categories,” she said.
Awards will be given out to the first, second, and third place winners in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced categories, she said. There will also be some fun bonus awards for fun categories and a Best in Show.
“Josh Morgan Photography is donating a canvas of the Best in Show winner, so their picture will be displayed at the park,” said Joseph.
While the online registration is closed, anyone interested can still register in person on Friday and pay the $45 fee. She said the fee does not include a room, but there is a discounted rate for those participating in the photography weekend.
She said because of COVID-19, the park has had less participation this year than in previous years, which is why the contest fee had to go up.
The park normally has two photography contest weekends each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Lately, because of the pandemic, they have been virtual.
“We are seeing how this one goes, and if this one is successful then we will have another one in the springtime,” said Joseph.