Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge will soon open its submission period of its eighth annual photography contest. The refuge will begin accepting submissions on Aug. 1 and the contest deadline is 4 p.m. Aug. 31.

According to the photography contest rules, the contest is meant to increase awareness and appreciation for Hagerman. Friends of Hagerman President Sue Malnory said people should take advantage of the opportunities at Hagerman because it offers more than 11,000 acres of wildlife habitat that is open to visitors 365 days per year and charges no admission and no parking fee.

“Hagerman was established for the protection of migratory waterfowl and to begin attracting them, a group of Canada geese, with their wings clipped, were kept in a large penned area, as “decoys” for migrating geese,” Friends of Hagerman President Sue Malnory said. “While most folks think of the wintering geese as the migratory stars, Hagerman is actually a migration station, with wintering geese and ducks, shorebirds and American White Pelicans passing through in spring and fall, various songbirds coming ‘south’ for the winter and other songbirds as well as wading birds coming in summer to nest.”

The photography contest is split into four categories, wildlife, landscape, flora and macro and artistic.

“Examples of wildlife subjects found at Hagerman include birds — over 335 bird species have been identified at the Refuge since it was established — as well as mammals,” Malnory said. “Popular birds to photograph are the herons and egrets, large wading birds that are fairly easy to shoot and are very photogenic. But, owls, hawks and various songbirds can make some great photos. Deer are probably the most popular mammals to photograph, and some of the larger mammals at the refuge such as otter and beaver are elusive and seldom seen. Bobcats, raccoon and squirrels are possibilities, as are coyotes and others, but we have never had a winning photo of a feral hog.”

Malnory said photographers can also take scenic landscape shots of the lake, creek, pond, prairie and woods.

“Flora and macro is a little more specialized and a closer look at flowers, trees, and shrubs in their natural habitat,” she said. “This category includes images of insects, plants, and animals taken with specialized macro equipment, settings or close up images taken with a telephoto lens. We have had a great wildflower season at the Refuge and the Butterfly Garden is still blooming away for those who missed it. Butterflies, either in the garden or out on the Refuge, are a popular subject.”

The artistic category allows people to play with photo editing, Malnory said. She said photographers have no limits on special effects applied to their subjects.

“The refuge is a great place to recharge, …” Malnory said. “The Nature Photography Club meets bimonthly for technical presentations, photo sharing, and schedules informal group shoots between meetings.”