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Observing the Arctic Photo Contest


The U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) Observing the Arctic Photo Contest is governed by the following rules, terms, and conditions. By participating, entrants agree to these official rules and the decisions of the judges, which are final and binding.  USARC reserves the right to change these rules or cancel the photo contest at any time, at its sole discretion.


The contest is open to anyone except commissioners, employees, or contractors of the USARC, contest judges, and members of their immediate family (parents, spouses, children, or siblings living in the same household). All photos must have been taken in Alaska or the greater Arctic region within the last five years.


Email digital images to, with “Observing the Arctic Photo Contest” in the subject line, and with other information described below in “Entry Procedures.” USARC can receive email attachments up to 10 MB.  For larger images, please email the image to using Entries may also be mailed to Photo Contest, 4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510, Arlington, VA, 22203 on a CD or USB flash drive labeled with the photographer’s name. Transparencies (slides) and prints will not be accepted.


Images must be in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color format, JPEG files. Images 1600x1200 pixels or larger will be accepted for the interior of the report, but only images 2550x3300 pixels or larger will be eligible for the cover of the report.

Images that have been digitally altered, beyond standard optimization, will not be accepted. Acceptable adjustments are to color, contrast, brightness and sharpness; cropping; removal of dust and scratches; and use of HDR (High Dynamic Range), where multiple exposures of the same scene are combined for a greater tonal range, and similar processes for extended depth of field. Do not oversharpen images or hypersaturate the color.

Entry procedure

1. Each entrant may submit up to ten (10) entries.

2. The digital images must be accompanied by the following information:

3. No materials will be returned 


USARC will determine the winning photos and runners up on the basis of creativity, photographic quality, and effectiveness in expressing each category’s theme. USARC will only contact entrants of the winning photos and runners up. All decisions made by the judges are final.


The deadline for receipt of entries is 5:00 PM (AKST) January 16, 2015.

Rights, Permissions, and Legal Conditions

In submitting an entry, entrants explicitly grant to USARC nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to use each photograph and description (including the photographers submitted biography and photo credit) in any and all media now known or hereafter created, including but not limited to publication in brochures, blogs, websites, public displays, and presentations. The entrant agrees that the USARC may publish winning or non-winning entries, in its reports, on its internet site, or in any other form or format, and may reproduce and distribute printed versions of the work. Entrants retain other rights to publish and distribute their submitted images. By submitting one or more entries, entrants are attesting that they have created the work, that they own all rights to the work, and consent to use of the submission by the USARC. Entrants also agree that their photos may be used by USARC in future USARC publications and materials (with appropriate attribution and copyright information included). USARC will not use any submitted images for profit, or transfer its rights to submitted images to any third party. If USARC receives a request from a third party to use a submitted image, USARC will refer that party to the entrant.

Entrants agree to release and hold harmless the USARC and its staff from any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, or losses of any kind resulting from participation in this contest, including infringement of intellectual property rights. The USARC and its staff assume no responsibility or liability for any damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, or losses of any kind arising in whole or in part from this contest.

USARC is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by the entrant, by any technical error, or by any human error that may occur in the processing of submission to the photo competition, including but not limited to any misprints or typographical errors. USARC assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries. USARC is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer equipment, servers, providers, computer on-line systems, software, or failure of email on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, including injury or damage to entrant’s or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or uploading images or information in the photo contest.

It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that any entries have been taken with the permission of the subject. Entrants are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any applicable local, state, national, or international laws and for securing any relevant permits that may be required. Applicable permissions and permits must be made available to USARC upon request.

All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. In the event that the selected winner of any prize is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and USARC, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another winner. Should there be no entries of sufficient quality in a particular category, USARC reserves the right not to award a prize for that category. Likewise, should there be no entries of sufficient quality for the cover of the report, USARC reserves the right not to select an overall winner or to award the corresponding prize.

United States law applies and the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Courts shall prevail.