Marcia Rivers Smith’s photo was the 2020 winner for the “Green” theme and named Best of Show in the Edmonds Rotary Photomarathon.

Marcia Rivers Smith’s photo was the 2020 winner for the “Green” theme and named Best of Show in the Edmonds Rotary Photomarathon.

Edmonds 12th annual photomarathon to challenge shutterbugs

In the contest, photographers have six hours to take pictures inspired by six prompts that are open to interpretation.

EDMONDS — You’re invited to go the distance in a photography contest with a time limit.

The Rotary Club of Edmonds is hosting its annual photomarathon June 12. You’ll have just six hours to take photos inspired by six prompts that are open to interpretation. The contest is not limited to the Edmonds area.

Now in its 12th year, the Edmonds Rotary Photomarathon asks you to view your community through a new lens.

Photomarathons aren’t new to Rotary International, but Edmonds’ is just one of two in the United States. The other photo contest is hosted by a Rotary Club in Miami Beach, Florida.

“I had heard of a photomarathon in Barcelona,” said Pat Thorpe, who organizes the event. “I thought, ‘What a great idea! We’ll do one here.’ Everybody thought I was crazy at first — but it’s such a fun event, people love it and it’s good exposure for Rotary, so we do it every year.”

The six photography themes will be announced at 10 a.m. June 12 via Zoom, the Photomarathon website and Facebook page.

Last year’s themes, for example, were: “Pattern,” “View From My Window,” “Green,” “Beside,” “Look” and “A Good Laugh is a Mighty Good Thing.”

The winner of last year’s “Pattern” photo prompt was Diana Scheel.

The winner of last year’s “Pattern” photo prompt was Diana Scheel.

“They’re very abstract topics so that people interpret them in different ways,” said Thorpe, who has been a member of the Edmonds Rotary Club since 1989. “That’s the whole point of it.”

Photos must be captured during the six-hour competition. However, this contest, just like last year’s, is not limited to Edmonds or its residents. Family and friends from out-of-town are welcome to join in on the fun.

The deadline to submit photos is 4 p.m. June 12. While you may pick and choose which prompts to enter, you may only submit one photo for each theme.

“It’s always six topics, six photos, six hours — but you can take as many photos as you want,” Thorpe said.

Winners will be selected for each of the six themes, as well as an overall winner. Prizes will include gift certificates to local restaurants.

Last year’s winners were: Diana Scheel for “Pattern,” Rick Good for “View From My Window,” Marcia Rivers Smith for “Green,” Bill Callen for “Beside,” Chris Fleck for ”Look” and Bill Callen again for “A Good Laugh is a Mighty Good Thing.”

Bill Callen’s photograph won for the “A Good Laugh is a Mighty Good Thing” prompt last year.

Bill Callen’s photograph won for the “A Good Laugh is a Mighty Good Thing” prompt last year.

Last year’s “Best of Show” was awarded to Marcia Rivers Smith, of Preston, for her “Green” submission. Her photo shows clothes on a clothesline that were all in different shades of green, with the greenery off her deck as a back drop.

“I always hang my clothes out on a line when I can,” she said. “I try to be kind to the environment and not use electricity to dry sheets and towels when it’s nice enough. I was hoping the judges would get the ‘green’ theme — apparently they did.”

Smith was invited to join in on the photo fun with her sister and niece, who both live in Edmonds. Lisa and Maia Aikens had entered the contest in 2019. When mother and daughter found out the 2020 contest was open to all, they spread the word.

A hobby photographer, Smith takes mostly nature pictures. She uses a Canon Rebel SL2.

Smith plans to sign up for the photomarathon again. This year she’s limiting herself to taking photos of what she can find at home. Trying to take photos for all six themes in six hours from all over Preston got stressful for her.

“I will take it easier this year and just take photos in a category where I get an inspiration,” she said. “More fun, less stress.”

Registration is $25. Proceeds from the contest go toward the Edmonds Rotary’s scholarships for graduating seniors and community service projects.

This year’s judge will be Larry Vogel of My Edmonds News. An Edmonds resident, Vogel has been a photographer and writer for 12 years.

You’ll be notified by email if your photo has won after June 30. The winning photographs will be featured in a exhibit later this year.

Go to for the contest rules and to see examples of winning photos.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046;; @sarabruestle.

If you go

The Edmonds Rotary Photomarathon is scheduled for June 12. The contest is a fundraiser for Edmonds Rotary Club scholarships and community projects. The six-hour event features six photo themes that are open to interpretation. Registration is $25. Visit for more information.

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