Photo scavenger hunt and all-comers contest: Creatively compose images to win money

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It’s time to prepare yourselves for the photography contests at this year’s OWAA conference in Billings, Montana. There are great prizes, as well as a cash bonus for winners of the photo scavenger hunt and a $300 cash prize for the second annual all comers, Essence of the Conference Contest.
First, the photo scavenger hunt. All the photos must be taken between July 14 and 5 p.m. July 17 when you must turn in your images, but I’m providing the subjects now so you’ll have time to let your creative juices marinate. The subjects are purposefully vague, have fun with them.

  • Gear. This is an annual standard. Create an image suitable for an advertising layout for one of our supporting members’ products.
  • Beer. Billings has tons of breweries, which you should scope out July 15 when OWAA offers buses downtown for dinner. You’ll also see plenty of it at the hospitality suites.
  • The Yellowstone River. How could we not do this? You’ll be within walking distance during Water Day.
  • Center. There are a million ways to deal with this concept. Pick one.
  • Shiny. This may be the most fun of all.

Now for the second annual all-comers, Essence of the Conference Contest, where you’ll capture conference in a single photo and 15-second video. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Eligibility: Anyone registered at conference is eligible including spouses, partners, children, representatives of supporting businesses, speakers, etc.
  • Authorized equipment: Any equipment is acceptable, from pro gear to cell phones.
  • Deadline: 8 a.m. July 18. Confirm successful upload at the registration desk.
  • Requirements: One photo and a 15-second video that encapsulate the conference in some creative fashion.
  •  Submissions: Upload your submissions onto Facebook, using the identifier #owaa2016. You will probably have to upload them separately. If you are unsure how, our office staff will assist you at the registration table.
  • Limitations: None. The only sideboards for this contest are your own creative limits and common decency. However, if the judges don’t want to show a submission to the banquet audience it will not be considered for the prize.
  • Prize: $300 cash to be awarded at the Honorary Awards Banquet.

The most critical issue in this contest is providing a creative video. There are dozens of applications for your cell phone but if you are new to this process you might consider SPLICE, a free application that Mark Freeman has successfully used in his newspaper business for several years. After all, if Mark can do it….
Regardless of your application choice, spend some time working with it prior to the conference.
For those new to shooting and uploading video on their phones, allow me to provide the bare bones, paint-by-numbers approach to your preparation.

  • Download an app for your smart phone. If you have an iphone or something Apple-related, get SPLICE. It’s free and easy to use. For Androids, get Power Director. Also free and easy. For a time for exploring on your own.  Windows phone, download MovieEditTouch. Also, free and easy.
  • Check out the tutorials, either on the manufacturer’s website or on YouTube.
  • Practice.
  • There you have it. Easy. See?

You might consider mixing still photos with short videos. You’ve only got 15 seconds to work with. Good luck. ♦
— Pat Wray is the recipient of the 2015 Circle of Chiefs award. He is a freelance writer and book author residing in Corvallis, Oregon, with his wife and two hunting dogs. His most recent book is “Corvallis Reflections.”

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