The Simsbury Camera Club adheres to the PSA definiton of Nature photography as detailed in the newly revised (as of January 2022) documentA Guide for Nature Photographers and Judges available at this link - pdf (Updated Sept 2021)
Please refer to this document for a complete discussion of rules and regulations, but first, please read this SCC condensed version for a more concise overview.
SCC Condensed Version of PSA Nature Photography RulesThis in intended as a summary supplement to, not a replacement of, the PSA Guide to Nature Photographers and Judges
Definition - Nature photography includes images of all naturally occurring animals, plants, geologic structures, bodies of water and the cosmos. It excludes plants and animals that have been modified by man whether it be by cultivation, hybridization, breeding or domestication.
In general, no "hand of man" elements are permitted in images, unless those elements are an integral part of the nature story (see pages 8-10 in the PSA document for examples). Scientific tags and collars are allowed. Images from controlled environments such as zoos are permitted if devoid of human elements.
Ethical Practices - Photographers are required to keep as utmost in importance the welfare of animals and plants and their natural habitat. Any human activity that results in undo stress, injury or even death of the subject or their prey is considered unethical. A list of forbidden practices such as removing young from a nest, live baiting and use of unnatural restraints among others are detailed in the PSA document. Please see pages 1-2 in the PSA document for a complete discussion. Drone photography has been specifically disallowed as it is viewed as stressful to some animals.
We will rely upon the integrity of our membership to adhere to these standards. Judges are not charged to be detectives, nor should they have to be.
Desirable Features - The presence of a nature story is a very valuable asset for an image in this competition in addition to technical excellence (sharp focus, appropriate depth of field, optimal exposure and lighting as well as composition). Capturing subjects in activity that gives the viewer a glimpse into their lives (nest building, foraging for food, flying…) and, especially, capturing the interaction between or among nature subjects (parent/offspring, courting rituals, predator/prey…) should be considered valuable features when judging an image.
Post Processing - The overriding principle of Nature photography is that "Nature images must convey the truth of the scene that was photographed". Cropping, blending of multiple images of the same scene that differ from one another only in exposure or plane of focus as well as stitching to make a panorama are allowed as are sensor dust removal and noise abatement. Borders, while permitted, should be thin and unobtrusive if used at all.
Post processing prohibitions specific to Nature images include removing, replacing or duplicating components in the image, blurring of the background and excessive darkening or vignetting to obscure the background.