Home Contest Rules Winners & Entries Thank You Ocean California Coastal Commission Contact


Welcome to the Annual California Ocean and Coastal Amateur Photography Contest, sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, California’s Thank You Ocean Campaign, and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts of California.

Congratulations to the 2017 Photo Contest Winner


“Polar Bear Brr,” Cayucos, by Danna Dykstra-Coy

See all the other 2017 winners and honorable mentions here
About the Photo Contest

This contest features photographs that reflect the importance that the coast and ocean has for California residents and the role that the Coastal Commission, Natural Resources Agency and Ocean Protection Council have played in preserving coastal and marine resources.

Entry is free and open to all amateur photographers. An amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns less than 50 percent of their income from photography. Photographs in this contest feature the following subjects:

  • The scenic coast and Pacific Ocean off California,
  • People and the California coast, and
  • California ocean and coastal wildlife.

Photo Contest Exhibit

We are pleased to announce that a selection of winning photos from previous years is currently on exhibit around the state. Come check out the winning photos in person!

2018 Contest Timeline

  • Contest Opens: June 8, 2018
  • Submission Deadline: 5:00 pm PDT July 20, 2018
  • Voting Deadline: 5:00 pm PDT July 27, 2018
  • Announcement of Viewers’ Choice Award: early August 2018
  • Announcement of Judges’ Choice Award: September 2018


Four winners will be announced for this contest. Online voters will select a “Viewers’ Choice” winner, while a panel of professional photographers, naturalists, and Coastal Commission staff will select “Judges’ Choice” winners for first through third place.