MDC challenges all photographers with the Columbia Bottom Sunflower Photo Contest

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Saint Louis
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SPANISH LAKE, Mo.—It’s the middle of another sunny St. Louis summer.  But the sunshine isn’t just coming from the sky at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake.  The fields themselves are awash with sunshine as the sunflowers are now in full bloom.  The magnificent sight draws sunflower watchers and photographers from all over. 

MDC is issuing a challenge to photographers of all levels with the 2022 Columbia Bottom Sunflower Photo Contest.  Photographers are invited to enter their best photos by posting them to their favorite social media sites using the hashtag #ColumbiaBottomSunflowers.  Users can submit as many photos as they like but must use the specified hashtag.  MDC invites photographers using any gear, including smartphones, point-and-shoots, or interchangeable lens cameras.  The contest will run until Aug. 15.

Each week, MDC staff will evaluate the tagged photos and pick up to 10 weekly winners, depending on number of submissions, each of whom will receive a prize.  There will also be an additional three larger prizes awarded from among the very best of all the weekly winners.  Contest winners will be contacted through their social media sites. 

MDC photographers offer the following tips to help create the best photos.  Try going during the early morning, or later into the evening.  The light is usually much better during these times than the harsher, midday sun.  Soft, cloudy days can also make for some pleasing light.  Don’t forget to fill the frame with your subject—close-up photos tend to be much more engaging than subjects seen from a distance.  Consider pulling out a macro or closeup lens.  There are amazing details to be discovered in the sunflowers, and a host of tiny and cool insects and pollinators.   Capture fun or off-beat poses with yourself, family, and friends.  And finally, be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment.

So, fill up Facebook and inundate Instagram with Columbia Bottom sunflower photos. 

MDC reminds visitors not to pick the sunflowers.  Vehicles should park in designated parking lots or on the shoulders and avoid blocking roadways or gates.  MDC also reminds visitors to pack out any items they bring with them for the consideration of others.

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located at 801 Strodtman Road.  The area can be reached by taking the Riverview Drive Exit from I-270 and travelling north approximately three miles.  Signs posted will help direct visitors to the multiple sunflower fields on the area. 

Columbia Bottom is open every day from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour past sunset.