Dear Nature lovers,
welcome to the Nature club. It has a long history here on dA, and large number of members, which makes it rather difficult to maintain even with the group system now working. Because of that, before you start participating in the group, please be so kind to read all the info admins have provided for you - remember that we are not full time paid admins, but volunteers who care about the Nature and wish you all have a place to promote your work.
The blog is long, but if you wish to have your work accepted, you need to read it all - we won't be answering any notes with questions about the stuff already written in the blog just because you think it's too much to read. We took time to prepare this for you and maintain this group, so you can do as much as read it and respect our work.
JOINING and LEAVING
Joining the group works automatically - you just need to click on "join the group" button on the front page, no need for any messages as we don't see them and we can't answer them. All Nature lovers are welcome. If you wish to leave the group, you have to find the button "leave the group" and if you don't wish to see deviations coming to the group, you have to remove the group from your deviants list. Please don't send us any notes regarding joining or leaving, as it's all explained here and we don't do it for you.
SUBMITTING STUFF TO GROUP GALLERY
Number of submissions per period is automatically limited thanks to dA group system, so you don't need to worry about it nor do we. As we are a huge group, 1/month is best we can do as we don't wish to suffocate watchers. Remember that declined submissions also count, so be careful to follow all the guidelines: submissions that don't follow all the guidelines are declined, and as we have huge number of members we can't explain everyone why - answer is always in these guidelines. If you can't find the answer, the only way to get it is to ask in the submission process box which appears in your message box when you send something to the group. There you click on the comments and type your question, so that admins can contact you. Don't send notes, or ask such stuff on the front page of the group, as we can't track down your submission that way. It may take days for your image to be accepted/declined, as it takes more than one admin to vote and we all have our daily jobs or studies to attend to first.
Our gallery is now organized to contain all folders photography-animals, plants & nature gallery has plus photography-macro-nature folder. This is primarily photography club, but we do accept all other media types too - they should all go to "nature in other media" folder. Bear in mind that this is Nature club so all those works in other media must looks as natural as possible - we don't accept anthro or fantasy stuff, there are plenty of other clubs/groups for that.
Image quality is important here, so blurry images will not be accepted and don't tilt horizon as that is not acceptable either. Images should be no smaller than 600 pixels on the shorter side, and no longer than 1200 pixels on the wider side - exception are wallpapers of course. Smaller images are not enjoyable, and too big ones get either too big for viewing in the full view or are resized by browsers and loose quality that way. Avoid people in the images, and human-made stuff (houses, concrete walls, cars, wires, asphalt roads etc...). If you photograph your pets, try to do it either in the garden/park, or if you do it inside or in urban environment, shoot from the close so that it's not visible. Animals in zoos are acceptable, but not if it's obvious they are in unnatural environment, and especially not behind bars or wire. Also, no watermarks please - they ruin the photo and we can't say what's really in the photo and if it's properly focused. They can be removed if someone wants to steal your photo anyway.
Only images that belong to APN category and macro-nature are acceptable. Some exceptions can be made with certain categories if the focus is on natural elements, and people and man made stuff is not in the photo or at least not major element in the image. But as there are many miscats in this gallery, in every folder there are explanations of what is and what is not acceptable, which will briefly be written down here too. So, first you have to submit your image in the correct dA category (miscats are declined and reported as such), and then submitted to the same folder in the group. We are aware that some photos can be submitted to more than one category (like photo of a fly on the flower can go to invertebrates or flowers and plants), when you assign a category to the image, you should submit it to the folder with the same name here or it will be declined.
Macro-nature: Many people put stuff in the macro gallery which does not belong there. First of all, it's not enough to shoot with macro lens or in macro mode. I've seen even landscapes placed in that category - I sometimes shoot distant objects with my macro lens, but that's not macro photography. So what is? Macro photography is shooting in 1:1 mode (at least, if you use rings or a microscope you can get better enlargements). That means that you have to shoot from the minimal working distance of your macro lens (or very close to that) to get a macro shot. Otherwise, if you get a bit further, you get a close-up, and that's just not it. Also, it has to be focused very precisely and if you have a watermark in the middle of the photo it might not be accepted as macro shots can be completely ruined by the watermark. I know it's a way of protection, but such images are useless here and won't be accepted.
Flowers, trees and plants: Plants and all their parts. Cut flowers and arrangements belong to still life gallery and are not acceptable here. We also won't accept images of wilted and dead plants and flowers - it is a part of the life cycle, but here we want to show plants in their best. Ferns and mosses are plants so they belong here too.
Fungi: this is a new category, so all your fungi photos must be transferred to fungi instead of flowers and plants category now.
Wild animals: here it equals with wild mammals, so I guess it's pretty self-explanatory. Some sea mammals may be submitted here and to aquatic life category, whatever you prefer. If shooting in zoos or shelters, avoid bars, concrete and any other unnatural environment. Also, no dead or stuffed animals. Needless to say, plushies (and many are submitted here) are not wild animals - they belong to still life gallery, or crafts if you make them.
Domesticated animals: All animal varieties that do not exist in the nature but are bred by men are domesticated animals. That means not all your pets will belong here although you have them at home. But cats and dogs definitely do, as well as horses, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, chicken and such. Please avoid people in the images, as well as all human-made stuff.
Aquatic life: all aquatic animals belong here, although some may be included in other categories too. Avoid people and human-made stuff in the images, and no images of whales and dolphins from aqua parks performing for the audience - we want to see animals in their natural environment, and their natural behaviour. Shells are acceptable, but in the natural environment too.
Birds: Pretty self explanatory, just again general warning to avoid people and human-made stuff in the image, and no images behind bars or of dead/stuffed birds.
Reptiles and amphibians: Be it in the wild, zoos or your pets, again avoid people and human-made stuff in the image. Guess you all know which animals belong here, but can't hurt to repeat: lizards, crocodiles and such, turtles and tortoises, snakes, salamanders, tads and frogs... hope I have not forgotten any of them, but you get the picture.
Invertebrates: this one gets a bit confusing for those of you who did not study biology enough, so quick recapitulation what belongs here - basically all animals that are not grouped in previous folders. mostly photographed are insect including butterflies, spiders, snails, and jellyfish as far as I have seen. but many other will belong here, as well as shells (although they are only outer skeletons).
Landscapes: First of all, this is one of the most misunderstood categories in APN gallery because people often put parks, gardens, cemeteries and even cityscapes in it. needless to say, these don't even belong to nature gallery so they won't be accepted here with possible exceptions of very naturally looking parks. A house in the distance may be ok, but in general as in any other category please avoid all human-made stuff and people in the image.
Waterscapes: similar to landscapes, only the main focus of the image is on the body of water. keep in mind that this is nature gallery, so only natural bodies of water come into picture, and in mostly natural environment - for example Thames is a natural river, but if you photograph Thames in London, that's not a waterscape but a cityscape. Fountains, swimming pools, harbours, marinas and some beaches (crowded with people, with loads of parasols, chairs etc) don't belong here.
Weather & Sky:
Weather: any atmospheric condition is weather, but sunny and clear is will be considered as the most common, so anything shot in sunny and clear weather should be in some other category. Here belong other weather conditions, like rain, snow, frost, thunderstorms, windstorms, fog etc. Don't wish to see cars covered in snow or rain in the city with people holding umbrellas in this gallery, focus on weather conditions in nature.
Sky: doesn't have to be the only theme, but has to be dominant. Jus blue sky isn't the reason to put the image in this folder, but has to be a bit different with clouds, sunrise or sunset or Moon and stars. Most commonly here we can see wires and antennae, be careful to avoid them or clone them out of the image.
Geology: main focus is on rocks, crystals stones and their formations, and also sand and dunes and fossils.
Nature-other: Now don't abuse this category because you're too lazy to decide where the photo belongs to - this is only for few things that really can hardly be placed in any other nature category. Good example is fire - but as well as in other categories man made stuff and people are to be avoided, so it can be in this example a photo of a fire in the natural environment, but not a candle or a fireplace. Stuff that should have been in another category will be declined as a miscat.
Thank you for reading this, and sticking to the rules which make this huge group manageable.