DFG Remembers Talent, Generosity of Wildlife Artist Harry Adamson

Media Contacts:
Andy Atkinson, DFG North Central Region, (530) 846-7500

Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Renowned wildlife artist Harry Adamson, whose artwork was reproduced on California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) stamps, passed away April 22. He was 95.

 Adamson’s detailed, lifelike portrayals of waterfowl are well-known to collectors. He was first commissioned by DFG in 1989 to produce the art for the now-defunct Native Species stamp. A profile of Adamson written by Dennis Pottenger in an issue of DFG’s Outdoor California magazine that year describes the first time Adamson encountered a peregrine falcon “knifing through filmy white clouds” in 1934. The event clearly made an impression on Adamson, whose painting of a peregrine falcon graced the DFG stamp more than half a century later.

 In 2008, when DFG returned to art competitions to select the duck stamp art, the department sought the assistance of Adamson to help promote the program and encourage artists to participate in the competition. Adamson created an original oil painting of mallards in flight and donated the use of the image for the 2008 California Duck Stamp.

 Adamson and his wife, Betty, were also wetland conservationists who admired the waterfowl that frequent the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County and were depicted in many of Adamson’s paintings. They led the effort that contributed to the construction of two observation hides at the wildlife area that allow people to be among wildlife in a natural setting.

Harry Adamson was a great conservationist whose efforts will continue to be recognized and admired, both in his art and his accomplishments,” said DFG Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Manager Andy Atkinson. “The observation hides are a direct result of the Adamsons’ passion for the wetlands and wildlife of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. These facilities allow thousands of school kids and visitors to experience waterfowl migration every year and will be part of their legacy.”

 An obituary posted on www.harryadamson.com states that Adamson ultimately donated paintings and prints worth almost $3 million to raise money for various conservation projects and causes. The 1989 Outdoor California profile concludes with Adamson explaining that he would “paint ‘till I can’t anymore.” According to his obituary, Adamson was still painting at age 94 until his health began to weaken.

Adamson’s art can be viewed online at www.harryadamson.com and www.bluewinggallery.com,

DFG Director Bonham Selects Wildlife Photograph of the Year

Media Contacts:
Troy Swauger, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8932
Karen Killebrew, California Watchable Wildlife, (530) 878-1330

The grand prize winner has been announced in the California Wildlife Photograph of the Year competition. Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Director Chuck Bonham chose Kelseyville photographer Lyle Madeson’s dynamic image of two raptors fighting for a hitch as the best photograph submitted in the yearlong contest. Madeson’s photo, along with 11 other monthly winners, will be displayed for the next week outside the Governor’s Office at the Capitol.

“What I especially like about this photograph is how it represents action, which is a real attribute of wildlife,” Bonham said as he announced the winner at a press conference on the Capitol steps. “The shot reflects the nature of wildlife, in that with all of the tribulations facing wildlife in our great state, our fish and animal resources are often caught in the middle of a rock and a hard place—or in this case, a raptor’s talon or another raptor’s talon.”

Co-sponsored by California Watchable Wildlife and DFG’s Outdoor California magazine, the Wildlife Photograph of the Year contest attracted more than 200 photographers who submitted nearly 800 images. The top three monthly winning entries appeared on the pages of the magazine and on the California Watchable Wildlife website (www.cawatchablewildlife.org). The first-place winners were then submitted to the Director, who chose the grand prize winner.

Madeson recalled how he captured the ultimate struggle between bird and fish and bird last spring during a nature photography trip to Clear Lake State Park. He watched the osprey pluck a Central Valley native hitch from the mouth of Kelsey Creek and fly off to a nearby post. Apparently threatened by other raptors in the area, the osprey launched off with its catch firmly in its talons.

“It was coming straight at me and I had it in my viewfinder when it all happened,” Madeson said. “I was shooting at 10-frames-per-second and I wasn’t sure what happened until I looked at the display screen on the back of my camera when I saw the red-tailed hawk. I hadn’t even seen it come in.”

For taking top honors, Madeson received a cash prize, a pair of Nikon binoculars and a California State Parks membership. California Watchable Wildlife, known by the iconic binoculars on brown background, sponsored all of the prizes.

For the monthly contest, a panel of judges critiqued each photograph based on creativity, technical excellence, overall impact and artistic merit. Judges included professional photographer David Rosen, original Watchable Wildlife steering committee member Bob Garrison and Outdoor California editor Troy Swauger. Grand prize selection was based on the same criteria.

Wanted: Talented Artists to Design 2012 California Upland Game Bird Stamp

Media Contacts:
Shannon Roberts, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8932
Karen Fothergill, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3703

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will be sponsoring an art contest to select the design for the state’s 2012 upland game bird stamp. This is the third design that will be featured in the “Encore Edition” since returning to the use of original artwork for the stamp’s image in 2009.

The contest is open to all U.S. residents over the age of 18 . Entries will be accepted from Oct. 22, 2011 until the Jan. 31, 2012 contest deadline. The species to appear on the 2012 upland game bird stamp is the Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata). The design must include at least one adult Band-tailed Pigeon. Designs will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

An upland game bird stamp is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The money generated from stamp sales can only be spent on upland game bird related conservation projects, education, hunting opportunities and outreach. Hunters are no longer required to physically attach the stamp to their license, but the stamps are still produced and mailed to purchasers upon request.

DFG sells about 200,000 upland game bird stamps annually, which includes sales to collectors who value them for their artist depiction of upland game birds. In addition to the stamps, DFG typically issues signed, limited edition prints that are valued by art collectors.

The upland game bird stamp contest will be judged by a panel of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. The winning artist will be selected during a public judging event to be held in the spring of 2012. A date has not yet been set for the judging.

For contest information and entry forms, please visit the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/upstamp.

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