This year’s “banner bloom” at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was one for the books and if you captured pretty pictures of Mother Nature at work, now is your chance to share them.
The Anza-Borrego Foundation, in partnership with Borrego Art Institute and Kesling’s Kitchen, recently launched the 2018 Anza-Borrego Desert Photo Contest to find incredible photos of views, blooms, and memories taken by visitors to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP).
The theme of the contest focuses on the unique and natural beauty of the park. Submissions will be accepted in across six categories: plants of ABDSP; desert bighorn sheep of ABDSP; animals (not sheep) of ABDSP; landscapes of ABDSP; people enjoying ABDSP; black & white photos of ABDSP.
All photos must be taken within the boundaries of the park; the deadline for digital submissions is 12 p.m. on Dec. 1. Contestants can submit up to 10 photographs for the contest, across different categories.
According to the competition rules, judges will conduct an initial review of the submissions and choose approximately 200 photos to move onto the next round. Those photographers will then have to submit a printed version of their work, along with a $5 entry fee.
Judges will conduct a final review of the prints in early 2018. On Feb. 3, 2018, judges will make their critiques, choose the winners and award first, second and third-place ribbons and a grand prize to the “Best in Show.”
All winners will receive a one-year gift membership to Anza-Borrego Foundation; the winning photos and honorable mentions will be displayed at Borrego Art Institute from Feb. 3 through Feb. 28, 2018.
There will also be a voting period open to the public for the “People’s Choice” winners in each category, from Dec. 20 through Jan. 26, 2018. The work of those winners will be featured in the Anza-Borrego Foundation’s social media.
NBC 7 saw many breathtaking photographs of ABDSP earlier this year -- around late February to mid-March -- during the park's famous "Desert Bloom" season.
This year, thanks to a perfect a trifecta of healthy rainfall and mild temperature and winds, the desert saw a vibrant "Super Bloom" that brought forth colorful fields of yellow, white and pink wildflowers.
Just before the season began, NBC 7 spoke with Ernie Cowan, president of the Anza-Borrego Foundation (ABF), about the blooming process and he said it was "all coming together."
Cowan said the western edges of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – the Badlands – is a well-known wildflower zone, as well as Henderson Canyon Road, and Di Giorgio Road.
For big horn sheep sightings, he recommended the mild, 3-mile walk or hike along Borrego Palm Canyon.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California, is located about 90 miles east of downtown San Diego. The park makes up one-fifth of San Diego County, while the rest lies in Imperial and Riverside counties, spanning Borrego Springs and Shelter Valley.