Pics of the Parks contest snaps back this summer

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published May 31, 2017


OAKLAND COUNTY — The third annual Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department Pics of the Parks contest has begun, and soon the picturesque parks will be flooded with shutterbugs looking for the perfect shot to capture their love of the county’s natural spaces.

The free contest welcomes participants of all ages to submit photos now through Sept. 4 of their experiences in Oakland County parks. The photos must fall into one of five categories: parks, artistic, recreation, kids and dogs — that’s right, PARK’D. In the fall, prizes will be awarded in each category for first through third place, along with a Best in Show honor decided by 95.5 FM radio personality Spike, from “Mojo in the Morning.”

The goal of the contest is to entice residents to visit the parks and discover all of the amenities the 13 locations have to offer. And the collection of top-notch entries doesn’t hurt the department’s marketing budget, either. 

“You can see last year’s photos on the cover of our 2016 Parks Report,” said Dan Stencil, executive director of the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department. “There’s a little bit of self-serving incentive for us in that respect, because these are some really great photos and some unique pictures we can use.”

While Spike is tasked with selecting the top pic, the Oakland Camera Club will adjudicate the rest of the entries. Last year, 35 amateur and professional photographers entered 135 images. 

“I was honored to be a judge for this contest. There were so many creative and beautiful photographs that it was a real challenge to determine the winners,” OCC member Bruce Michelotti said of last year’s competition in an email.

The contest has become so popular since it started just a few years ago that Stencil said he’s brainstorming different ways to grow the effort.

“I’m wondering if maybe next year we’ll want to use photos from this year’s contest as part of a scavenger hunt,” Stencil mused. “Maybe if you can find the spots from the photos, maybe 10 out of 15 or something, you could be entered into a drawing for a prize.”

Submissions can be from any season, so pictures taken last fall and winter will be eligible. For more information or to enter the contest, visit