Terms of Park Pics Contest

Banner of winning photos from 2022


The San Mateo County Parks Foundation (“Foundation”) invites photographers to enter its Third Annual Park Pics Digital Photography Competition (“Contest“). BY ENTERING THE CONTEST, YOU ARE ACCEPTING AND AGREEING TO ALL RULES, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS (“TERMS”).

The Contest is open to participants regardless of residence or citizenship, so long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation. Employees of the San Mateo County Parks Department and employees or board members of the San Mateo County Parks Foundation are not eligible to participate.


Surf San Mateo by Stan Sarkisov

Surf San Mateo by Stan Sarkisov, People in Parks 2021 Finalist

  • Starting February 8, 2024, enter up to three images (per entrant) by uploading your photo(s) to our online entry form. More than one photo may be entered into each category but no more than 3 total photos will be accepted per entrant. Each photo may only be entered into one category.
  • We will accept photos taken between December 21, 2023 and the deadline of March 25, 2024. We are looking for winter photos so please adhere to the timeframe! Photos taken prior to December 21, 2023 will not be considered.
  • Photos submitted to other local contests are not allowed.
  • We do NOT accept entries submitted via email or through the postal mail. However, if you are unable to access our online entry form, please contact Leslie at leslie@supportparks.org for alternate submission options.



  • The deadline for submitting entries is 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time on March 25, 2024. Online entries can be uploaded starting on February 8, 2024. Winners will be announced in the spring of 2024.
  • The Foundation reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s).


Up Close with Nature finalist

Hidden Surprises by Scott Gilgallon, Up Close with Nature 2021 Finalist

  • Landscapes and Waterscapes (all ages): photos that celebrate the beauty of the trails, vistas, natural landscape, and coastline of the 24 San Mateo County Parks
  • Up Close with Nature (all ages): photos that spotlight the flora and fauna in San Mateo County Parks
  • People in Parks (all ages): photos that highlight the many ways that people (and sometimes their pets!) enjoy the County Parks, from hiking and picnicking to flying kites or plogging
  • Each category winner will receive a $125 REI gift card.
  • The People’s Choice award winner will receive a $175 REI gift card and Foundation swag.
  • Winners will be contacted to submit a paragraph describing the story behind the photo and/or biographical information.
  • Prizes are non-transferable; no substitutions allowed. All federal, state or other tax liabilities are the responsibility of the winner. All details of any prize not specified herein shall be determined solely by the Foundation.


  • We are looking for digital images of nature, capturing the enjoyment, diversity, and character of our parks and trails. Your images must be taken in one of the San Mateo County Parks open to the public. Your images may show wildlife, plant life, natural landscapes, natural features, or people interacting with nature.
  • If you choose to include people in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted and must be able to provide copies of those releases to the Foundation upon request.

    2021 Landscapes & Waterscapes finalist

    Steps To A Heavenly Place by Ana Lopez, Landscapes and Waterscapes 2021 Finalist

  • Entrants must not submit images that involve the handling or disruption of wildlife and/or plants, willful harassment of wildlife, damage to the environment by the photographer or their subject, or infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.
  • All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization will be disqualified. Acceptable methods for standard optimization include removal of dust, cropping, and reasonable adjustments to color and contrast. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are acceptable.
  • No photograph that the Foundation deems to be an attack on any person or discernable business, product or industry will be accepted, nor will any photograph be accepted that may be deemed offensive, libelous or otherwise objectionable at Foundation’s sole discretion.
  • All entries must be entirely the original work of the entrant.



  • Images should be submitted in .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format, at least 2,000 pixels wide (or tall if a vertical image) and no larger than 10 MB. Please submit your image at the highest possible resolution (but no larger than 300dpi). We will not consider submissions that do not meet these guidelines.
  • red shouldered hawk on branch

    Waiting for My Meal by Michael Pagano, 2022 Up Close with Nature Finalist

    Entries must be submitted as digital files. Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still maintain the right to grant us a license (see “Your Rights” above). Upon request, you must be able to disclose to the Foundation when and where the photo appeared previously.

  • A panel of Foundation and Parks staff, board members and/or consultants will select the finalists and winners in each category as well as the Aspiring Photographer finalists and winners in each category. Photos will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit.
  • The People’s Choice Award will be chosen from all finalists by popular vote on our website. Details to be announced.


  • You will retain all rights to any photograph submitted—including ownership if applicable—other than those rights licensed in these rules. By entering the Contest, you hereby grant to the Foundation:
    (i) a nonexclusive, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly display, and publicly perform the photographs you submit to the Contest, and
    (ii) the right to use your name in promotions and other publications.
  • Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. The Foundation will not be liable for any errors in attribution other than to make reasonable efforts to correct such errors. The Foundation has final approval of any language that appears on its web site, in its newsletter or e-newsletter, or in its brochures with any of the photos, and will not promote or endorse third-party products or services.



  • Questions and inquiries about Contest rules or procedures can be emailed to leslie@supportparks.org.


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