Festival Contest
golden turtle


Competition Stages, Rules and Organizers

The organizer and the right holder of the Golden Turtle Contest, exhibitions and all facilities and events related thereto is the MY EQUATOR Charity Social Support Fund.

Anyone may submit his/her works to participate in the competition, except for the competition organizers and the professional jury members. Authors from any countries can participate in the contest without restrictions. The official competition languages are Russian and English.

Decisions to award the Semi-Finalist, Finalist or Winner statuses to artwork shall be made by members of the Professional Jury and the Jury of Peers and may not be appealed.

Basic Concepts

Author (photographer) shall mean a person who made a photograph and presents his/her work to the competition, has full copyrights and powers to decide on all organizational issues related to the participation of the work in the competition.

Photography (work, picture, image) shall mean a picture taken by a photocamera that complies with the competition conditions and is owned by the author.

Graphics editor shall mean any computer program (Adobe Photoshop, Apertura, CorelPhoto-Paint, etc.) that was applied for the digital processing of a photograph.

RAW. The RAW format shall mean any data obtained directly from a matrice without processing. This format shall confirm the authenticity and integrity of a frame. For any frames made by film cameras, an additional procedure for providing the original will be announced.

The main stages of the contest

  • Completion of the artwork registration 30.06.2017
  • Completion of the preliminary selection 30.07.2017
  • Receiving originals and RAW-files 31.07.2017 – 13.08.2017
  • Semi-finals 14.08.2017 – 25.08.2017
  • Finals 26.08.2017 – 31.08.2017
  • Special nominations 01.09.2017 – 07.09.2017
  • People's Choice Award 01.09.2017 – 14.09.2017
  • Award Ceremony 13.10.2017
  • Exhibition in Moscow (23 days) 14.10.2017 – 05.11.2017
  • Exhibition in St. Petersburg (16 days) 08.11.2017 – 23.11.2017

Authors and Works Registration

The authors and the works shall be registered at the Golden Turtle Competition web-site in the respective section by a special form.

The author shall complete the registration procedure, then he/she is given a login and a password that are sent to the e-mail address specified in the course of registration.

Then, the author may begin to upload his/her own artwork, edit it, delete it, etc.

At the beginning of the registration, the author shall choose the nomination to present his/her work in.
Then, the author shall upload the works subject to the following technical requirements:
  • The image format shall be JPEG;
  • The dimensions shall be 1,400 pixels horizontally for horizontal works; 1,400 pixels vertically for vertical works; the file size shall be no more than 600 KB;
  • The works shall not have any additional graphic elements such as author badges, copyright marks, added boxes, etc.

To participate in the competition, the author shall provide the following information on his/her work:

  • Author's name;
  • Description of the shooting conditions (the shooting idea, features of interest, difficulties of the process, specific behaviour of the subject);
  • Description of the device used (the camera model, the lens, the name of any other equipment may be specified optionally);
  • The shooting parameters (optical exposure, aperture, photo sensibility, etc.);
  • The species of the animal in the picture.
Additional Requirements
  • The author may submit to the competition no more than 20 works; in the Landscape nomination, no more than 5 photographs may be submitted.
  • One photograph may be presented in one nomination only.  
  • The photographs sent shall be made no earlier than three (3) years prior to the date of the work registration for participation in the competition.
  • No images of pets and livestock (cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, sheep, horses and other domesticated animals) are accepted to participate in the competition.

Image Correction

  • It is allowed to cut an image, but no more than 50% of its original size.
  • Any image correction is allowed that contributes to true representation of real life.

Artwork Originals

In case a work becomes a semi-finalist, the work shall be assigned the semi-finalist status and the author shall be sent an email of the status assignment and a request to submit the RAW file and the large format of the file submitted to the competition, specially prepared for printing.

The files shall be submitted within 14 calendar days from the date of sending the respective letter.

The author shall provide the organizers with the files through a special form in his/her personal online account.

Requirements for the files to be provided:

1. RAW files;  

2. Images prepared for printing that meet the following requirements:  

  • The format is JPEG or TIFF; the resolution is 300 dpi;
  • The work framing shall be the same as in the web-version submitted to participate in the competition and evaluated by experts and the jury.
  • The name of the file containing the image shall match the work name (e.g., “Penguins on ice”, not IMG_1234.jpg).

If it is not possible to prepare a quality image for the exhibition, the work shall not be displayed but shall remain a finalist.

The work originals shall be used by the organizers for various purposes, including, but not limited to:
  • Printing of photographs required for the work of the jury;
  • Preparing the final photo album (each author whose work(s) is(are) presented in the photo album is entitled to receive One (1) author's copy of the album);
  • Preparing exhibition copies of the artwork;
  • Making an archive of the competition finalists, etc.

Reasons for Refusal

A work shall not be accepted to participate in the Golden Turtle Photo Contest, if:

  • The work does not meet the requirements specified in these Regulations;
  • The experts, the jury members and the organizers have a reason to believe that the picture was taken by cruel and unethical methods of treating animals;  
  • The work description includes foul language;  
  • The frame is a compilation of several frames (except for cross-linked panoramic pictures allowed in the Landscape nomination);
  • Shooting was made in a zoo or other similar places (except for the Man and Nature nomination);
  • The presented frame is an awardee/winner of other major wildlife photography competitions.

The competition organizers reserve the right not to accept any works that are not of a certain qualitative and technical level, without specifying a reason.


The author shall be the right holder of the works he/she submits. By sending his/her works to the Golden Turtle competition, the author allows the competition organizers to use the materials submitted by him/her for any purpose related to the competition and further exhibitions.

The participant warrants that his/her work does not infringe intellectual rights of any third parties. In case any third parties make any claims, the participant shall be fully liable for his/her work.

The competition organizers are entitled to:

  • Post the works on any section of the sites under the Golden Turtle trademark and in official social networks groups;
  • Provide the works in printed or digital form for evaluation by the competition jury;
  • Showcase the works of finalists in printed or digital form at exhibitions of the Golden Turtle Festival;
  • Use the works of finalists in any print and electronic media to inform the public on the holding of the competition and its results;
  • Use the works of finalists for preparing photo albums, information booklets, digital carriers and other products that accompany the competition and exhibitions and are their integral part;
  • Use the work of finalists in the future for holding special events dedicated to the competition promotion;
  • Use the works of authors for charitable purposes complying with the statutory activities of the MY EQUATOR Charity Social Support Fund, the organizer and the right holder of the Golden Turtle Competition, exhibitions and all facilities and events related thereto.
  • Make proposals to the authors for commercial use of their photographs.

The competition organizers undertake to specify the name of the work author while using it in any way.

Any commercial use is possible with the author’s consent only.

Exhibition copies that are printed at the expense of the Golden Turtle Competition organizers for displaying at the exhibition shall remain with the organizers and may be used by them for the statutory activities of the MY EQUATOR Charity Social Support Fund.

Submission of work originals shall be an automatic agreement with the competition rules and the conditions stated above.

Stages, responsible parties, deadlines and rules for assessing the artwork

Stage 1 — Registration of works

Done by: the administration of the photo contest; online

Timeframe: from the start of the registration until June 30, 2017

Rules: Done based on the approved and published standards (see: http://www.wncontest.ru/en/photo/rules/). All selected works receive the REGISTERED status (a.k.a. accepted into the competition). The authors are notified of the status update. 

Deliverable: an image bank of registered artwork

Stage 2 — Preliminary selection

Done by: the members of the Jury of Peers; online

Timeframe: from the start of the registration until June 30, 2017


  • The Jury of Peers is formed from the competition finalists of the past years (5-7 people in each nomination), as well as the experts, who have declined the offer to join the professional jury, and preferred to submit their artwork to the contest as participants.
  • Participation in the Jury of Peers does not prevent the members from submitting their artwork to the contest as participants.
  • The assessment is based on a 10-point scale and is carried out in the member’s private online account.
  • The members of the Jury of Peers have an opportunity to change their assessments during the entire pre-selection period.
  • The members of the Jury of Peers do not have the opportunity to evaluate their own photos. Instead, the average score from the ratings of this photo of other members of the Jury of Peers is added to the score.
  • Based on the assessment results, the system automatically generates a TOP-100 list in each nomination out of the works, that received the highest total score according to the results of the assessment by all the members of the Jury of Peers.
  • The selected works receive the SEMI-FINALISTS status; authors are notified of the status update and receive a request to provide the full-size files (original artwork), the source files (RAW files) and the text descriptions of their works. All information received is published in the Jury of Peers members’ private online accounts.
  • The organizers of the Festival may decide to change the nomination for the works that received the highest score (in the event that the author was mistaken with the choice of the nomination).

Deliverable: an image bank of the TOP-100 works in each nomination, published in the professional jury members’ private online accounts


Done by: the members of the professional jury; online

Timeframe: August 14-25, 2017


  • A professional jury (5 to 9 people) is formed out of professional photographers, winners and runner-ups of international photo contests.
  • Participation in the professional jury does not allow its members to participate in the competition as authors by submitting their artwork.
  • The assessment is based on a 10-point scale and is carried out in the member’s private online accounts.
  • The highest and lowest scores for each photo are not included in the final score.
  • The results of the assessment of each member of the professional jury are published in the member’s private online accounts of the contest semifinalists (the authors can only see the scores of the their own artwork).
  • Based on the target number of finalists for exhibiting during the Festival (the decision is made annually by the organizers of the Festival), a "passing score" is established.
  • All works in each nomination that have received a "passing score" and above undergo an additional check by the expert commission of well-known biologists and experts in the field of professional photo processing (2-3 people) to establish compliance with the ethical standards of interaction with the subject of photography and non-excessive use of photo editing software.
  • After passing this verification, all works in each nomination that have received a "passing score" and above become the finalists.
  • The authors are notified of the status update; the works are published in the professional jury member’s private online accounts without the scores assigned during the previous stages of selection.

Deliverable: the list of the finalists (100-150 photos), published in the professional jury member’s private online accounts

Stage 4 — THE FINALS

Done by: by members of the professional jury; online

Timeframe: August 26-31, 2017


  • The winners are determined through the use of the double-rating system.
  • Each of the members of the professional jury forms their personal TOP-3 rating of the best works in each nomination (1st place = 3 points, 2nd place = 2 points, 2rd place = 1 point).
  • The system automatically selects 3 works that have received the maximum number of votes from the members of the professional jury in each nomination, and forms a separate list of works that were included in the jury’s TOP-3 lists the most. If these lists coincide with each other, these works subsequently become the winners of the "gold", "silver" and "bronze" awards. In the event that these lists do not coincide, additional voting is taken amongst the works slotted for the 3 top swards. In the event that several works have received an equal number of votes, an additional vote is taken on them by all members of the professional jury.
  • Authors of artwork that has won in one or more nominations, as well as authors who won in two or more nominations themselves, are nominated for the Photographer of the Year award.
  • The winner of the Photographer of the Year award is voted on by the members of the professional jury.

Deliverable: a list of winners of the "gold", "silver" and "bronze" awards in each nomination, as well as the winner of the "Photographer of the Year" award (if established), published in the professional jury member’s private online accounts

Stage 5 — Special nominations

Done by:  the partners of the Festival, who have established special nominations

Timeframe: September 01-07, 2017


  • The partners of the Festival, who have opted for an appropriate sponsorship package, has the right to establish their own nominations (upon approval from the organizers of the Festival).
  • After the final selections are finished by the members of the professional jury, the partners of the Festival get access to all the finalists that did not become winners in the basic nominations and pick the works they wish to award (the level of access depends on the nomination).

Deliverable: an additional list of winners in the special nominations

Stage 6 — The People's Choice Award

Done by: the online community; on the contest website

Timeframe: September 01-14, 2017


  • After the selection is completed, a full list of semi-finalists, that did not qualify for the finals, is published on the contest website.
  • Votes are cast by sending a text message to a charitable phone number. All proceeds go to the statutory activities of the "MY EQUATOR" Charity Fund.
  • Through the People's Choice Award 10 more works qualify to be exhibited during the Festival.
  • The voting results are published on the contest website.

Deliverable: a list of additional 10 works to participate in the Festival exhibition published on the contest website

The advantages of the new Artwork Assessment System are its informational value and full transparency:

  1. Each contestant is able to see the scores for each of their works by each member of the jury, published in their private online accounts. This transparent approach gives participants an incentive for further improvement.
  2. After completing the assessment forms, each jury member has an opportunity to access the evaluation forms of their colleagues and compare their evaluation approach. This feature eliminates the need for additional personal correspondence.
  3. Making the assessment forms public helps avoid the "ghost voter" phenomenon, when the expert is formally listed on the jury, but does not take actual part in the evaluation.
  4. After the announcement of the winners, the TOP-50 ranking of the best works in each nomination are published on the contest website. This allows the participants to see their positions in the international professional community.