Hepatica Shoot and Competition

The Hepatica Shoot and Competition was a four-day event held over two consecutive weekends in the early spring. The event was begun by long-time HGCC club members Merlin Becker and Norm Jarvis to encourage the club membership to get out and shoot during the early spring. As such, the competition caters to those members who enjoy nature photography.

Hepatica is a small but attractive woodland flower that grows in high-quality woodland areas. There are several species of hepatica, including the sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) and the round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica americana). Sharp-lobed and round-lobed refer to the shape of the three lobes of the leaves. The flowers themselves, usually only one-half to one inch in diameter, are typically blue to lavender, but can also be white or even pink. Hepatica can bloom as early as mid-March, but in Ontario they bloom later, from mid-April to mid-May depending on snow-cover and spring temperatures. The challenge with this flower is due to its small size, sensitivity to the sun’s warming rays, its unique color, and a two week blooming window.

The Hepatica shoot was usually organized for the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. The site of the shoot varies, but is typically within a one-hour drive from Kitchener-Waterloo, and sometimes takes place on a location near the Niagara Escarpment. Since the shoot takes place so near to the end of the club year, the competition part takes place the following fall; only those images taken the previous spring are eligible for entry. Each photographer may submit at most two images to the Hepatica competition.

Starting in 2009, the club decided to change the Hepatica competition. Instead of the subject always being the Hepatica flower, each year a different wild flower will be the subject for the competition. The only stipulation, the images have to be created during the same year as the competition. Refer to the current club year program for the subject.

Subject by year:
2010/2011 Season – Trillium
2011/2012 Season – Dandelion
2012/2013 Season – Trillium
2013/2014 Season – Tulip
The competition has not been run in recent years.


The Hepatica Cup is awarded to the photographer with the best image of a hepatica (or alternate flower) shot on the designated date(s).