The next competition for the Chattahoochee Nature Center Gallery will be titled "Look Closer". This will be a Macro/Close-up Photo Competition.

Macro-photography is generally defined  as life size (1:1) up to 3 times life size and usually requires special lenses or attachments. Close-­‐up photography usually is defined as the range of magnification from 1/10 the life size to 1/2 life size and usually can be done with standard lenses. Ideally we would like entries to be macro and near macro rather than simply close ups.  Suggest that you think about photographing natural features, plants, animals, etc. that are less than 2 inches long, or parts of natural features that are no larger than two inches. 

Eligibility and General Rules:

  • You must be a GNPA member to be eligible and entries must be submitted electronically by Midnight 20th of April.
  • Images must be entirely the work of the member.
  • There are no limits on when or where they were captured.
  • A member may enter up to 3 images maximum.
  • Watermarks and/or photographer’s logos or identification are not permitted on photographs. Your image MUST NOT have a signature, logo, watermark, or copyright statement showing.
  • Post processing is not restricted in any way; however, images should look natural. Caution, over processing can have an adverse impact on the evaluation of your image.


Caution: Be certain that you save a full resolution jpeg copy of your final images so that you will have a full res copy to frame if your image is a winner. 

  • File Type:JPG format only for initial level of judging.
  • Sizing: Images for initial level of judging should be sized 1200 pixels for the longest side at 72 or 96 ppi.
  • File Naming: Images should be named with photographer’s name, followed by the title with underscore between each element. So, a spider "Little Jumper" should be submitted with the file name of John Doe_LitttleJumper.jpg.  Where file name breaks down as:
    • Photographer name = John Doe
    • Title = Little Jumper

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Submit a low res images (not to exceed 1 MB in size) by midnight on April 20th.

Attach Images, Do Not Embed Them

Be sure to transmit the image as an attachment and not embedded in the body of the email. If your email software gives you a choice, indicate that it should keep your attachment at “actual size.”  Email images one at a time.

  • Include photographer’s name, photograph’s file name and total number images to be submitted in competition (as a means to track and make sure all entries have been received) in the body of your email. If total number of photographs is 3, then 3 separate emails should be received.


If you do not see the Send to Button, you need to log in first. If you are not a member, you can


Judging will be conducted by person(s) qualified and experienced in judging photography.

  • Submitted images will be first be viewed by jurors as to adhering to competition rules.
  • Entries will be judged on techniques including, but not limited to exposure, focus, sharpness and depth of field, color and tone, contrast, and lighting. Image sharpness is very important in macro/close photos. 
  • Entries will be judged on artistic and general characteristics including originality, insight, context, composition and style.
  • The decisions of the judge(s) are final.


20 to 24 images will be selected and these winners will be notified by May 1st and asked to pay an entry fee of $10 each. No more than 2 winners will be selected for a single photographer.  Framing information will be provided, and framing completed during May for final hanging at the CNC Gallery on June 1st. 


The copyright of submitted images remains with the photographer.  By submitting your entry, the photographer agrees to allow GNPA to publish the images on websites, social media and printed materials, and to use the image in promotions for this and future contests without compensation.


An image may be disqualified by a judge on the basis of failure to meet the competition rules as previously described.  Such a disqualification is not open to appeal and if deemed flagrant may disqualify all entries by the same photographer.


If you have questions concerning the emailing of the images or the sizing, please contact Tom Simpson at .

Additional instructions for Winners:

Winners will be notified by Saturday, May 1st  and will be asked to pay a fee of $10 for each selected print to David Samsky at GNPA.  Details of paymenbt process will be provided to the winners.  There will be  1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention Ribbons awarded after the final prints have been hung in the gallery.

Macro Photography Guidance 

The following may be helpful for those who may be new to shooting macro.

Macro Photography for DSLR Cameras (from

The standard lens that most DSLRs come with usually lets you focus down to a distance of about 20-30cm.  Therefore, to take good macro photography, you may wish to add something to your kit.  There are different options available:

  • close-up filters (sometimes called diopters)
  • extension tubes
  • some zoom lenses have macro capability
  • dedicated prime macro lenses

Close up filters are a bit like the glass in spectacles worn by a long-sighted person - they change the direction of the rays of light to allow you to focus closer than you normally would.  These are often the only option available to users of bridge cameras, but for DSLR users, we would not recommend them as it is adding additional glass elements into the light path and this affects image quality.  If you do buy one, try to get one that consists of two glass elements rather than one otherwise you would suffer reduced image sharpness and increased chromatic distortion.

Extension tubes are a much better cost-effective option.  They are attached between the camera body and the lens and their purpose is to move the lens further away from the camera body.  This has the effect of moving the closest focusing point much nearer to the front of the lens.  As they contain no glass, there should not be any noticeable drop in image quality, although you do lose some light which you (or the camera) will need to compensate for. They often come in sets of three - each one able to move the lens a different distance from the camera body.  They can also be used in combination.

The slight downside of extension tubes is that you lose the ability to focus at infinity so you can't leave them on the lens once you've finished taking your macro shots.

Zoom lenses with a macro mode are an excellent way to get into macro photography as, although they are more expensive than extension tubes, you are generally buying the lens for its normal zoom focal range, so the macro is an added bonus.  Often the macro feature only works at the longer end of the zoom range. 

Problems with Macro

The two main problems with macro photography are:

  • getting even illumination of the subject when very close to it
  • getting the image in sharp focus as the depth-of-field is so shallow

To deal with the shallow depth of field (DOF) consider the following:

  • If your subject can't move, use a tripod.  If it is moving (a flower in the wind for example) you are probably not going to get a brilliant macro shot.  Take loads and hope you get one where the subject isn't moving.
  • Use manual focus - it's much more accurate.
  • When dealing with very tiny DOFs, focus by moving the camera slightly.  If you are hand holding the camera, this is especially true as the act of turning the focus dial with probably move the camera's position. 
  • If you have it, use live view with the focus part of the image enlarged on the display allowing you to carefully check focus.
  • You can also use software such as Helicon or Zerene or Photoshop to stack multiple images at different focal points to get a bigger depth of field in your final image.