California Native Plant Society

The CNPS Vegetation Program - Photo Collection

The Vegetation Program is establishing a new request for donations of photographs of plant communities in California.

The Need for Slides and Digital Images of Plant Communities

The CNPS Vegetation Program’s Photo Collection is being used to illustrate the variety of vegetation types found throughout the state and to underscore the value of protecting California's rare and increasingly threatened plant communities. We also are aiming to have a set of images that principally represent all of the different plant communities found around the state. We plan to incorporate these images into vegetation publications and resources, such as the next edition of the Manual of California Vegetation (which will be produced by late 2007 and will describe over 500 alliances/series).

We are interested in receiving representative views of vegetation, including multiple images of plant communities that may vary throughout their ranges and of rare plant communities. We are interested in clear diagnostic photographs from which you can see the typical patterning of the vegetation type.

Request for Slides/Images

If you have high quality slides or digital images of the any of the plant communities on the following lists, please consider donating the digital images or the original slides or high-quality copies to our collection.

For donations of digital images the resolution should be at least 2048x1536 pixels.

  • Images wanted (alphabetical by Scientific Name)    PDF (61k) | Word (556k)
  • Images wanted (alphabetical by Common Name)    PDF (61k) | Word (556k)

Generally, use the html files for online viewing. To save the PDF file for off-line viewing or printing, right click (or option click) on the link and choose "save file as..."

When considering images for possible inclusion, please remember that we are focusing on vegetation and not individual species. Even if you have a great shot of the dominant species of the vegetation in which the type is named for, it is the natural groupings of plants we are striving to show (see example below). Some stands may be small enough to require a close up camera lens (such as communities within alpine meadow or fell-field vegetation sites), while others may include a large panoramic shot (such as forest types).

Donation Guidelines

When you donate slides to the CNPS collection, please label the slides clearly as illustrated and discussed below. When you donate digital images, please provide a text document that covers the information (see below). Providing all the information in a uniform pattern helps us manage the collection and helps others to use your images more accurately. Please take the time to ensure the value of your gift.

All images donated to CNPS are considered a gift to CNPS for possible inclusion into the collection. Images donated may be used in the revised Manual of California Vegetation, which CNPS intends to republish. Although they should be tax deductible, CNPS cannot estimate or set a value to your donation. Donated slides become the property of CNPS and cannot be returned once included in the collection. CNPS cannot accept use limitations placed on donated images.

Practical time considerations prohibit individual notification to the photographer when the images are used. CNPS will make every effort to require users to give photographic credits whenever your image is duplicated or printed, as follows: "(your name) / California Native Plant Society".

  1. Print the information clearly and carefully, with waterproof, fine-point black pen on the slide, or please type the information in a standard text file (see example below) for digital photos.
  2. Follow the list of label descriptions below for denoting information on digital and slide images. A form is provided for your convenience.
  3. With your donation please include a note with your name, address, and phone number. We may need to contact you directly if we have questions about your images. Also provide a statement that the donations are copyright free with your signature as written below:

    I donate these slides or digital photographs to CNPS without any limitations as to their use by CNPS.

    Signature: ___________________________________ Date: _____________
    Or click here for a the Form for Submission of Vegetation Photographs to CNPS (Word 29k).
  4. Would you like slides returned to you if we decide not to use them? Please let us know when you donate.
  5. When sending images, they can be digitally emailed to or mailed to the main CNPS office with attention to “Vegetation Photo Collection”

Description of Labels (typed up for digital images, or written on slides):

  1. Photographer's Name: We require photographic credit be given if the photograph is copied or printed by the borrower, and for maintaining our records of your donation.
  2. Scientific name: Full scientific name of the plant community (including subspecies or variety of the nominate taxon if applicable). This provides subject identification, and images are managed using the name.
  3. Date of Photograph: Day, month, and year the photograph was taken. This improves the photo's value as a scientific record of the plant's existence and condition. Please note: The photo developer dates on the slide (or date recorded on the digital file) may be misleading.
  4. Location: Be as specific as possible, including nearest named place or area, county, state, and elevation.

Additional Labeling (for writing on slides):

  1. Label only on one side of the slide - the side visible when hand viewing the correctly-oriented slide.
  2. Place a red dot in the lower, left-hand corner (when hand viewing the correctly-oriented slide). This standard method will indicate proper orientation during use.

Slide labeling standard

Example image that suitably represents the vegetation:

Suitable representation

This image of a Scirpus californicus stand in Contra Costa County shows sufficient information on the vegetation stand, its relationship with surrounding environments, and its extent. The balance between being able to identify the main species in the stand and the characteristics of the stand is met.

Unsuitable representation

This photo of a Scirpus californicus stand shows too much detail and does not give a good sense of the complete relationship of this vegetation to its surroundings. It could be used as an ancillary, close-up image, while the previous image provides sufficient representation of this vegetation type.


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