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1. The goal of the sacred groves photo contest
- Raising awareness of the diversity, value and rarity of various endangered sacred natural sites.
- Guiding people to the sacred sites, to visit and document them.
- Recording the locations, state of, uses of, and meanings of the sacred sites.
- Collecting beautiful images to introduce others to the sacred sites.

2. Participation rights
Participation is open to all except for persons related to those organising the contest.

3. Schedule
3.1 Competing entries can be uploaded from 10 May 2016, until 31 October 2016 to http://www.maavald.ee/en/image-contests/2016#submit-your-image
3.2 Winners will be announced at the end of 2016.

4. Prize categories and prizes
Monetary awards
4.1 The Grand Prize (1,300 euros) – the winner will be selected from among all entries.
4.2 Youth Grand Prize (200 euros) –  the winner will be selected from among the entries submitted by those up to, and including, age 16.
4.3 The Ural Peoples’ Prize (300 euros) – the winner will be selected from images recorded among the Kindred People category.
Special prizes
4.4 Sacred grove
4.5 Tree (sacred tree or group of trees)
4.6 Stone (sacred stone, group of stones, bank, and cave)
4.7 Water body (sacred spring, creek, river, waterhole, lake, marine area)
4.8. Nature conservation (a protected species or individual object in a sacred site, also a sacred natural site situated in the protected area)
4.9 Offerings at a sacred site
4.10 Practices (compliant with historical practices of a sacred site)
4.11 Pain of the sacred grove (pre-existing desecration and other pre-existing damages of a sacred site)
4.12 Story (messages or stories of experience or traditions, added to a photo that reveal the meaning of the location)
4.13 Sacred site under heritage protection (a sacred natural site entered in the Registry of Cultural Monuments and recorded by a school youth [a pupil or an undergraduate student at university])
4.14 A sacred site of Old Võromaa
4.15 A sacred site of Virumaa
4.16 A sacred site of Saare
4.17 A sacred site of Mulgimaa (the best image of a historical sacred natural site recorded in Tarvastu, Paistu, Halliste, Karksi and Helme parish)
4.18 A sacred site of Jõgeva county
4.19 Sacred sites of the world (sacred natural sites, their sites or shrines, and the use of sacred sites elsewhere in the world)
4.20 The organiser has the right to set up additional regional, and other, prize categories during the contest.
5. Substantive conditions and obligations of entries
5.1 A historical (traditional) sacred natural site must be captured/recorded in the photo: a sacred grove, tree, stone, hill, bank, cave, water body, cross-tree etc., or a part of it. In addition, living and non-living natural things, items, facilities, practices and other events in the sacred site, or pre-existing damages in the sacred site can be captured/recorded.
5.2 The captured/recorded place or item must be recognisable.
5.5 3 Cup-marked stones (cult stones with small cup-marks) can be classified as a sacred natural site only as an exception, provided that the related tradition of the sanctity of the stone in question is directly known.
5.6 4 A tumulus, cemetery, sauna, shrine, swing, chapel, church or other facility, also including natural objects without a related tradition, can be considered for entry into the contest if it is situated in a sacred natural site.

6. Technical conditions of the entries
6.1 Each participant may submit up to 20 digital images in the contest.
6.2 Photos recorded as diapositive, or negative film versions must be presented digitalised.
6.3 Entries must be presented in jpg format.
6.4 The longest side of the image must be between 3,000 to 7,500 pixels.
6.5 File size can be up to 15 MB.
6.6 Cropping, full or partial brightness correction, contrast and colour, and image sharpening is allowed.
6.7 It is not allowed to add or remove elements, except for the removal of dust spots.
6.8 Digital gluing of panoramas and increasing the dynamic range (HDR=high dynamic range) is allowed.
6.9 Photo processing should be based on good practice; images should be formed realistically and naturally.
6.10 Contest entries must be accompanied by a description of the photo taking process, the  tradition(s) related to the site, or other data about the sanctity of the location. The description should reveal why the photographer considers it a historical sacred natural site.

7. Judging
7.1 The jury is comprised of recognised photographers, experts, artists and other specialists.
7.2 The jury will select the best picture from each prize category to be given an award.
7.3. Judging will consider:
7.3.1 Accurate location – is the captured image a historical sacred natural site?
7.3.2 Dimensions – are the dimensions of the image in accordance with the rules?
7.3.3 Impression – is it a remarkable photo?
7.3.4 Message – does the site, or sites, evoke feelings, questions, or thoughts?
7.3.5 Technical execution – do the sharpness, colours, contrast and other technical characteristics seem natural?
7.3.6 Document – how much information does the image provide about the state, meaning and use of the sacred site?
7.3.7 Additional value – is the image somehow pleasantly surprising?
7.4. The jury presumes that in the course of capturing the image, the natural and cultural heritage or the site was respected and good historical practices were followed.

8. Use of images
8.1 The organisers have the right to use the participating images free of charge, to introduce the contest in the media, publications, public events, websites etc., with reference to the author.
8.2 The awarded pictures can also be used free of charge, for other aims that promote the protection of sacred sites, with reference to the author. Other entries of the contest can be used for these aims in agreement with the authors.
8.3 The participants of the contest will have the opportunity to publish the pictures under the free license Creative Commons 3.0 that allows everyone to use pictures free of charge for non-profit purposes, provided the reference to the author of the picture is given.

9. Organiser liability
The organiser is responsible for the lawful use of the submitted entries, while keeping the locational data of the endangered sacred sites undisclosed.

10. Author responsibility
10.1 The participant is responsible for the accuracy of the presented data about himself/herself and the photos. The participant confirms that he/she is the author of the submitted entries and agrees with the terms of the contest.
10.2 The author shall present an original file, slide or a negative for comparison, as well as information about the shoot should the organiser ask for it.

Additional information
Historical sacred natural sites were originally naturally occurring places of land or water areas that our ancestors used for prayer, to bring offerings, for healing and other practices related to their native religion before the 20th century. Newer cross-trees are also considered among sacred sites. Natural objects (landform, water bodies, stones, vegetation etc.), situated in the location of the sacred natural site, and their facilities (e.g., a campfire site, dance grounds and burial grounds) are associated with the worship of the sacred site, are all part of the sacred site.


References in English

Estonia’s sacred natural sites and good practice

National Registry of Cultural Monuments

Sacred Natural Sites. Guidelines for Protected Area Managers

Film: Hiite lummus (2013 - Charm of sacred groves - English subtitles)

The website of Maavalla koda


References in Estonian

A small guide to the sacred groves on the Maavalla Koda website

Database of the sacred natural sites

National Registry of Cultural Monuments

Map of cross-trees

Estonian Institute website of sacred groves

About sacred sites on Maavalla Koda

Creative Commons 3

Contest organisers: Hiite Maja Foundation, Maavalla Koda, University of Tartu Centre of Sacred Natural Sites. Contact person: Ahto Kaasik, tel. 56686892, See e-posti aadress on spämmirobotite eest kaitstud. Selle nägemiseks peab su veebilehitsejas olema JavaSkript sisse lülitatud.