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2024 “Picture” the Park’s Magic Photography Contest

Photo credit:  Randy Streufert

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park 2024 photography contest is now open. We’re looking for images taken in the park that highlight its magic.  Winning photos, including honorable mention, will be published in our newsletter, website, and social media.


Anyone other than Mason Neck State Park staff, Board members of the Friends and contest judges, as well as their immediate family (spouses, partners, siblings, and children) and household members is eligible to enter.

Entry Period

The "Picture the Magic" Photo Contest closes on October 15, 2024.  Late entries will not be considered. We will notify the prize winners by October 31, 2024.

What Subjects to Enter

Digital photographs taken in Mason Neck State Park anytime in 2022 through 2024 of: 

Park Scenery and Park Flora– images showing off the park’s landscape, trees, plants, or flowers.

Fauna – images of the park’s mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, or other critters living in the park.  Note:  Dogs, cats, and other pets/animals not native to the park do not qualify.

Aquatic activities – Visitors enjoying Belmont Bay or Kane’s Creek in canoes, kayaks, or other non-powered vessels.

How to Enter

Photographers may submit up to four entries in one or more of the above categories.  Additional entries of Park Staff interacting with the public (conducting a program, providing information, or other helpful activities) may also be submitted; however, these will not be judged or considered for a prize.  

Complete an individual entry form for each image submitted.  Here is a downloadable 2024 Entry Form.docx.

Download it, fill it in, and save it as a .doc Word document or a pdf. Save your photo as a .jpg or .jpeg image.

Submit one entry form with one image attached to the submission email.

Unacceptable submissions include:

Images that are not submitted as a separate jpg or jpeg file.

Images compressed to a zip file.

Images within the body of the email submission; not as an attachment to the email submission.

Images taken outside Mason Neck State Park’s boundaries or more than 100 yards from the park’s shoreline. 

Send an email to with the subject matter line “2024 Photo Contest Entry” and attach your image and the completed entry form. Incomplete entry forms will not be accepted.

Judging Criteria

Photos will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit, and relevance to the category by a panel of Friends members and/or Park employees/officials.

The judges will evaluate all valid entries and pick winners in the following categories: 

Grand Prize (1 winner): Best overall image by an adult or young (under 18) photographer: $300.

First Place – Adult 1 winner): $200.

First Place - Youth (1 winner): $200.

Contest Rules, Guidelines, and Restrictions

By submitting a photograph, you (the entrant or the entrant’s parent/legal guardian if the entrant is under 18) warrant that the photograph submitted is the entrant’s original creation; was taken in Mason Neck State Park between January 1, 2022, and October 15, 2024; and does not infringe any other person’s or entity’s rights, including being taken anywhere in the park not permitted by park rules.

The entrant must be the sole owner of the copyright of the photograph submitted.

Entries may originate in any format, including digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints.  But they must be submitted electronically in a .jpg or .jpeg form. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single "High Dynamic Range" image are acceptable.

Please attempt to limit each image file to a size of no less than 3 MB and not greater than 15 MB. 

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (red eye removal, removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color, and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. 

Previously published material for which you granted non-exclusive rights may be entered, provided that you still maintain the right to grant us a license (see "Your Rights" below). You must be able to disclose to the FoMNSP when and where the photo appeared previously upon request.

You may submit images that include pictures of uniformed park staff. However, if other people are included in your image, they must not be identifiable – for example, they must be too distant or out of focus, or their faces must be turned away from the camera.

The following submissions are not eligible: 

Images of captive animals.

Photos that violate or infringe upon another person's rights, including but not limited to copyright.

Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent, or other objectionable or inappropriate content.

Images that involve the willful harassment of wildlife (this includes handling the wildlife), or damage to the environment by the photographer or photo subjects.

Images that involve placing any individual or animal in danger.

Images taken earlier than January 1, 2022.

Images submitted for the 2022 or 2023 Picture the Magic contest.

The judging panel has sole discretion in determining each entry’s eligibility and compliance with the contest rules, guidelines, and restrictions. All judging decisions are final. Please do not contact FoMNSP about the status of entries or judging.

Rights of the Entrant and the Friends of Mason Neck State Park 

By entering a photograph for this contest, you (or the entrant’s parent or legal guardian if the entrant is under 18) grant the FoMNSP a royalty-free, nonexclusive right in perpetuity without compensation to:

Display the photograph on the FoMNSP website and Facebook page and on the MNSP website and viewing screen behind the Visitor Center reception desk.   Allow third parties to share the photograph on social media platforms.

Use the photograph on the Internet and in social media in support of our mission.

Use the photograph in the FoMNSP’s internal and external communications materials including but not limited to newsletters, emails, websites and web publications, fact sheets, fundraising publications, advertising, multimedia, presentations, reports, and documents.

Provide the photograph to other individuals and organizations for FoMNSP-related use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, videos, and the like.

Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, and state of residence in promotions and other publications.

Retain a digital copy of your photograph that will be archived in the FoMNSP photo library. The FoMNSP will endeavor to credit all photographs with the entrant’s name. .


Please contact the Friends at:

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