A great travel photograph will make a viewer want to pack their bags and head out the door.
That's the consensus of the panel of three judges for The Oregonian's 2007 Travel Photo Contest, which kicks off today.
Grand prize is a vacation for two --round-trip airfare from Portland and seven nights, including meals, in a private cabana at St. George's Caye Lodge off the coast of Belize.
First-place winners in the contest's three categories will receive a $600 vacation at either Sunriver, Salishan or Tu Tu' Tun resorts in Oregon or Skamania Lodge in Washington.
Second-place winners will receive a $300 getaway to one of those four resorts.
Third place winners will receive a $200 gift certificate to Pro Photo Supply.
The three categories are A Sense of Place and People of the World (which includes photos taken anywhere outside Oregon or Washington) and the Pacific Northwest (photos taken in Oregon or Washington only).
Deadline to enter is Friday, Feb. 16. Winning entries will be published on Sunday, March 25.
For complete contest rules and entry form, visit the newspaper Web site.
And the judges are. . .
Judging the contest this year are Susan Seubert and Mark Downey, both Portland-based photographers, and Mike Davis, photo editor for The Oregonian's feature sections.
"A great travel photograph begins with stellar content, color, light and composition," said Seubert, 36, who carved out a freelance career in photography after attending the Pacific Northwest College of Art. "Then it makes you want to go to that place and be there at that moment in time."
Seubert's numerous clients include National Geographic Traveler, Travel+Leisure, World Traveler and The New York Times. Seubert, who mixes travel photography with portrait, gardening and artistic conceptual work, won the Life Magazine Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Cover of the Year for a 1999 Garden Design cover.
Besides making you want to go the place, a great travel photograph should make you want to look around, adds Downey, 47, who owns Lucid Images Gallery in Northeast Portland, where his work from 20 years circling the globe as a travel photographer is showcased.
"It's a matter of combining evocative and informational elements to incite the viewer to want to explore the area you are portraying," said Downey, who was named the 2004 Travel Photographer of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including National Geographic, Islands and Conde Nast Traveler, and he has published photo books of Myanmar and the Philippines.
To create great images of people you encounter while traveling, Davis suggests thinking beyond the person.
"A great photo of people should have a backdrop," said Davis, 50, a former picture editor for the White House and National Geographic. "It should convey a sense of who the people are and how they are connected to the place."
Davis was twice named Picture Editor of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association, and also has earned the association's highest honor, the Sprague Award, given to a photojournalist who advances the profession by conduct, initiative, leadership and skill.