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DDWS announces ‘Ding’ Days photo contest winners

November 5, 2014
Special to the ISLANDER , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) announced the winners of its 27th annual "Ding" Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest at a special Conservation Art Day presentation in the Refuge Visitor & Education Center, part of the weeklong "Ding" Darling Days celebration on Sanibel Island.

Earlier, on Oct. 1, judges had selected 15 winners out of 118 entries from 18 states plus France and Germany over 37 percent more entries than last year. All photographs entered were shot at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

First place went to Charles Woodrich of Glen Allen, Va., for his Prothonotary Warbler portrait. "It was one of a few small birds entered, and I think that's an interesting category," said Buck Ward, a local professional photographer who helped judge the contest. "It was well photographed with a lot of interesting motion and activity from the bird. And I liked the spider web."

Article Photos

First Place: Charles Woodrich’s Prothonotary Warbler.


Bill Fischer from Hindsdale, Ill., took second place with a photo of a Double Crested Cormorant Eating a Spotted Sea Trout.

"It's a perfect picture taken at a perfect time," said refuge law enforcement officer (and photographer) Jim Mathiesson, another of the three judges. "You can clearly see its blue eye, and the water looks like it's exploding!"

In third place was Jason Boeckman from Fort Myers. His shot portrays a River Otter.

"It stood out for me out for all the photos," said artist and contest judge Jolie Black. "It's cute. It's not perfect, but I like the way its coat catches the blue. It looks like he posed for the picture, and I think it shows an aspect of the refuge a lot of people don't see."

"We always choose three judges for the contest," said Terry Baldwin, contest chair. "A refuge staff member, a professional photographer, and a member of the Sanibel community."

The three winners received cash awards from DDWS at the presentation on Saturday -- $100 for first place, $75 for second, and $50 for third. Each honorable mention winner received a $25 award, which reflects a refund of the contest entry fee.

The winning photographs and 12 honorable mention award entries will be on display in the Refuge Education Center throughout the year.

To view the other top-ranking entries, visit and click on "Photo Contests." Stay tuned for news about blank note cards featuring all the winning images, which will be available for purchase in the Refuge Nature Store this season.

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order):

"Ding" Darling Days 2014 sponsors included ROSEATE SPOONBILL: Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grille; GREAT EGRET: Matzaluna: The Italian Kitchen, 'Tween Waters Inn; GREAT BLUE HERON: 97.7 Latino & Juan Radio, Arthur Printing, Bailey's General Store, Mike & Terry Baldwin, Casa Ybel Resort, Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry, Intech Printing, Island Sun, Jerry's Foods, Mike & Cannella Mullins, Ocean's Reach Condominiums, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Jim & Patty Sprankle; REDDISH EGRET: Big Red Q Quickprint, Caloosa Tent & Rental, Casa Ybel Resort, Sally and Rich Ennis, Gulf Breeze Cottages, Sabal Signs, Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, West Wind Inn; SNOWY EGRET: Barefoot Charley's Painting Co., Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, Jerry Edelman & Maryanne Daly, Florida Weekly, George & Wendy's Seafood Grille, Good Wheels, Grounds by Green Ways, Island Therapy Center, Over Easy Caf, Panther Printing, Sanibel Art & Frame, Wendy & George Schnapp, She Sells Sea Shells, Winston & Barbara Spurgeon, Suncatchers' Dream.



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