#LoveYourLagoon Photo Contest Rules

First Place 2016 Adult Division: John Scales "Jumping Fish"

3rd Annual #LoveYourLagoon Digital Photo Contest

San Elijo Lagoon CONSERVANCY is committed to connecting communities, and protecting nature—and we want to see through your lens how you #loveyourlagoon. Do you cherish having nature accessible in an urban area? Maybe you come alive as you walk or run the trails. How do you live nature? Capture those vibrant moments that express what inspires you to #loveyourlagoon.

Open to all photographers all ages. Participants must have a valid email address.

#LoveYourLagoon Photo Contest is presented by San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, in partnership with MiraCosta College visual arts judges. This Photo Contest is in no way endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook.

All photos must be taken within the boundaries of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve to qualify. Plants and animals depicted should be in their natural setting. All photos must be suitable for family viewing.

The Photo Contest begins at 12:00 am PST on January 1, 2018 and ends at 11:59 pm PST on March 31, 2018. Entries submitted before or after the Entry Period will not be eligible.

Prizes will be awarded in two divisions, with a People’s Choice Award for overall best entry. Share your inspired moments in the lagoon's natural landscapes, and its plants, animals, and your personal interactions:

  • PEOPLE & NATURE (1 Winner)
    Capture your best and vibrant moments at San Elijo Lagoon. These selections will be judged by MiraCosta College Visual Arts faculty partners.
  • PEOPLE'S CHOICE (1 Winner)
    1 winner will be chosen by public vote. In the case of a tie in People's Choice, judges will certify a winner


  • April 9: First Place winner announced & Honorable Mentions selected by judges will be showcased for public vote.
  • April 9-16: Public voting period occurs for People’s Choice Award.
  • April 16 at 12 pm: People’s Choice winner announced.



  • Recognition: Cover Photo for Lagoon Tidings member magazine summer 2018 edition
  • Framed Image on Display at San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy headquarters
  • Catered Trailside Breakfast & Tour for 6 
  • Social media recognition


  • Recognition: Back Cover Photo for Lagoon Tidings member magazine 2018 fall edition
  • Framed Image on Display at San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy headquarters
  • Social media recognition

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. 

  • Files must be in JPEG, PNG, GIF format. File size should not exceed 1024 KB.
  • Filenames MUST include your name and brief content description. Example: FirstNameLastName_Mockingbird.jpg

All images must be submitted though our secure photo submission website. There is a $5 entry donation per photo. Maximum of 5 photos per person. Digital images that are sent via email will not be accepted. 

Judging decisions are final. Please do not inquire about the status of entries. Staff, and staff family members of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, and family members of Photo Contest judges, are not eligible to participate in this contest.

Thank you for sharing your experiences in San Elijo Lagoon! 

This contest is offered to recognize talent in photography. Photographs submitted must be the original work and exclusive property of the photographer. If you submit a photograph to enter the Photo Contest, you grant San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy a royalty-free, nonexclusive right to use the photographs without compensation in official conservancy communications that support our mission, including, but not limited to: SanElijo.org website, printed publications, news media communications, and conservancy-sponsored social media sites. San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy will always endeavor to include the photographer's name when using a photograph for any purpose. The Conservancy will not sell your photographs.


Return to Photo Contest Page

First Place Honorable Mention photographs, for People's Choice, will be selected by judges based on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit and subject matter relevance to San Elijo Lagoon. The People’s Choice award is determined by which of the Honorable Mention images receives most public votes. 


As an avid nature and landscape photographer for more than 40 years, Cheryl Pronchick has had a lifelong love affair with photography. With a one-woman show at a Long Beach gallery and with degrees in Anthropology from MiraCosta College and UC San Diego, she views photography as a form of anthropology, observing and recording all the wonder and beauty so accessible to us all.


The San Dieguito area has been home for Susan Asato for 26 years. Asato's photos have been awarded by San Diego County Fair, Orange County Fair, Carnegie Museum (Museo), and various on-line competitions. Her favorite photo genres include nature, still life, macro, abstract and portrait, but she "will shoot pretty much anything that doesn't shoot back."