First Fed has launched its annual Proudly PNW Photo Contest, which is open through August 29. This contest has invited participants to share Pacific Northwest nature photography for a chance to win cash prizes and a spot in First Fed’s centennial calendar in 2023.

“The purpose is to celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. We encourage everyone to visit the contest online, view the photos, and vote for their favorites,” says First Fed’s Senior Director of Digital Marketing Jennifer Bolton. “It’s an opportunity to see and appreciate our beautiful region.”

Participants may vote on a Fan Favorite image. This photo by Mathew Nichols was the Fan Favorite of 2021. Photo credit: Mathew Nichols

This year, 30 contest winners will receive a total of $2,500 in prizes — 16 more winning entries than last year. The grand prize winner will be awarded $300 and the calendar cover. An additional 12 winners will receive $100 each and be awarded monthly features.

The 16 extra spots are for runners-up who will each receive a $50 prize. The winning photos not selected for the calendar may appear in other First Fed items, such as holiday and thank you cards.

These additional spots were added in response to the high quality of submissions in last year’s contest which attracted 1,200 entries. “We were delighted by the quality and variety,” remembers Bolton.

Pacific Northwestern Pride

Photographers may submit images taken any time within the last 10 years in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia.

“When honoring the Pacific Northwest, we love celebrating both big and small moments,” Bolton says. “Mount Rainier and ferry boats on the Puget Sound are iconic images for us. But even a neighboring tree can be breathtaking, like our October 2022 winner.”

First Fed encourages photographers to recognize the beauty all around them, as in this October calendar image by Alan Schwartz. Photo credit: Alan Schwartz

Contest guidelines call for unedited photos, submitted with prior permission from any identifiable individuals, if a shot features people.

Bolton recommends that photographers not use a filter. “We would prefer to get the images unfiltered and without any kind of special touch-ups, because that’s truer to the natural beauty they’re seeing in front of them,” says Bolton.

A variety of photos showcasing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest in all its forms, big and small, are encouraged. The categories for the contest are:

  • Animals: We love seeing animals in nature.
  • Forest: Trees in national, state, or local parks.
  • Home or hometown: Share photos of favorite spots or skylines of your hometown.
  • Mountains: Majestic mountain peaks, any time of year.
  • Sky: Sunrises, sunsets, stars, lightning storms.
  • Stone: Natural rock formations, rocky beaches.
  • Water: Sound, rivers, ocean, boats.
  • BONUS: Historic First Fed: Help us celebrate our 100th anniversary by sharing photos of First Fed team members, branches, event sponsorships, or swag.
First Fed encourages wildlife photography like this image photographer Kathy Wade captured while visiting the San Juan Islands. Photo credit: Kathy Wade

This year, the contest has a special bonus category for photos of First Fed’s branches, team members, and brand.

“We’ll be celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2023,” says Bolton. “We’re excited to put together this calendar to commemorate this extra special year.”

First Fed Philanthropy

Since it was founded in 1923, First Fed has branched out across the peninsula and up to Whatcom County – from Forks to Ferndale.

Since 2015, First Fed Foundation has given back to community organizations.

“First Fed is very committed to the communities that we serve,” Bolton says. “We’ve been recognized as a top corporate philanthropist by the Puget Sound Business Journal for every year that we’ve applied.”

This image by Isaac Gautschi was the December feature of 2021. Photo credit: Isaac Gautschi

In Whatcom, First Fed is known for sponsoring local organizations and events like the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema, Ferndale Uncorked, The Other Bank, Whatcom Hospice Foundation, WWU Foundation, and Lydia Place.

“We also encourage volunteering. Our team members are compensated for three days of volunteer time.” says Bolton.

Contest and Community Growth

First Fed’s contest continues to grow in popularity every year. To enter, participants can simply upload their image and enter their name, email, and image title for a chance to win.

The contest grand prize winner is featured on the calendar’s cover, where this image by Jaidyn Backus appeared in the 2022 calendar. Photo credit: Jaidyn Backus

Bolton encourages everyone to submit their photos. “We also encourage you to view the entries and vote for your favorites,” she adds.

The winning photos will be announced in September 2022. “People look forward to seeing the photos because they’re a mini vacation through our beautiful region,” Bolton says.

First Fed is a member FDIC and equal housing lender.


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