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Welcome to the 16th annual California ocean and coastal amateur photography contest, sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, the California Thank You Ocean campaign, and Fairmont Hotels of California. The 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.

The photo submission deadline was July 18, 2014
but you can still vote on your favorite photos!

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.

Photographs must be taken from a public place. Plants and animals depicted in photos should be native species in their natural settings. Photographs may be in color or black and white and must be the original work and exclusive property of the photographer. Entrants may submit a maximum of five photographs. Individuals voting may vote only once per photo. Please see the Contest Rules for complete list of rules.

Contest Timeline

  • Contest Opens: June 9, 2014
  • Submission Deadline: 11:59 pm PDT July 18, 2014
  • Voting Deadline: 11:59 pm PDT August 1, 2014
  • Announcement of Viewers’ Choice Award: mid-August 2014
  • Announcement of Judges’ Choice Award: September 2014


At least four winners will be announced for this contest. Online voters will select one “Viewers’ Choice” winner, while a panel of professional photographers, naturalists, and Coastal Commission and Thank You Ocean staff will select “Judges’ Choice” winners for first, second, and third place.

Winners will select from the following donated prizes:

Photo Contest Exhibit

We are pleased to announce that our photos are currently on exhibit around the state. Come check out these winning photos in-person!

2013 Ocean and Coastal Photo Contest Winners

View previous photo contest winners and entries