Photographers and Videographers Are Invited To Make a Splash With Their High-Impact Water Power Imagery

DOE Water Power Technologies Office’s Photo and Video Contest Open to Photographers and Videographers of All Skill Levels

Aug. 16, 2023 | By Tiffany Plate | Contact media relations

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A poignant image can often elicit emotion, inspire action, and enlighten viewers—no words necessary.

A large multi-level dam nestled in a steep tree-lined gorge, with a snowy mountain peak in the background.

This photo of the Diablo Dam beneath Pyramid Peak in North Cascades National Recreation Area, Washington, won second place in the Overall Hydropower category in the Water Power Technologies Office's previous Make A Splash contest. Photo by Pablo McLoud

Imagery’s powerful potential is the inspiration behind the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office’s (WPTO) Make A Splash Photo and Video Contest, now open for submissions. The contest, which is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), accepts photos and videos of water power technologies, research and development activities, and infrastructure. The contest also seeks to capture the landscapes, people, and communities rooted in water power. A total prize pool of $31,500 will be distributed over six photo categories and three video categories.

The contest encourages amateur and professional photographers to take a closer look at all that water power has to offer, and to help make water power more visible as a source of renewable energy.

“As a communicator at NREL, my task is often to take complicated research subjects and make them both understandable and impactful,” said Taylor Mankle, multimedia coordinator for NREL’s water power team. “Taking photos or videos of our researchers and their work can be the simplest and most effective way to demonstrate just how innovative and inspiring renewable energy can be. I’m looking forward to seeing how competitors take this challenge and run with it!”

The contest is open now through Nov. 17, 2023. Contest judges will select three award recipients per category: the grand prize winner will receive $2,000, second place will receive $1,000, and third place will receive $500.

A man wearing a hard hat waves through an opening at the top of a metal structure containing a turbine.

An image of a mechanical engineer working on a hydropower turbine won first place in the Jobs/Economic Development of Water Power category in the previous Make a Splash Contest. Photo by Andy Baumgartner

Spark your imagination! Use these example reels, photos, and expert tips and tricks as inspiration for your own photos and videos.

Photo Categories

Entrants will be able to submit up to 20 photos (total) across the following categories:

  • Conventional Hydropower and Pumped Storage
  • Small, Distributed, or Low-Impact Hydropower
  • Marine Energy
  • Powering the Blue Economy
  • Faces of Water Power
  • Communities Powered by Water.

Video Categories

Entrants will be able to submit up to six videos (total) across the following categories:

  • Clip or Timelapse: Marine Energy
  • Clip or Timelapse: Hydropower
  • Clip or Timelapse: Faces of Water Power

In the foreground is a round wave energy converter with metal piping and cables on top. Five attached buoys lead to a boat in the background.

This image of a small wave energy converter on Lake Washington in Seattle was a second-place winner in the Overall Marine Energy category in the last Make A Splash Contest. Photo by Curtis Rusch

The winning photos and videos will be featured on WPTO's website and in outreach efforts such as presentations, newsletters, educational materials, social media, and other engagement opportunities. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges, and winners are expected to be announced in January 2024.

Ready to take your shot? Learn more on the Make A Splash Contest, get inspired by submissions to the 2018 contest, and learn more about NREL’s hydropower and marine energy research.

Tags: Water