Here Are Our 8 Favorite Reader Photos from "The Four Seasons" Assignment

“Wintertime in Hallstatt,” Onur Cepheli writes. “The silent small town of Austria, Hallstatt is a place where you can even hear your heartbeat! You can look down to Hallstatt from its classic village viewpoint and postcard angle to see its charming landscape any season of the year.” The image was captured with a Nikon D800 and an AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR lens at 20mm, f/8, ISO 100. The image is a 26-second exposure. © Onur Cepheli

There’s a thin line between seasonal photographs being cliché or stunning. We, obviously, asked you to come up with something stunning for this assignment. As the name suggests, we wanted your images to showcase any of the four seasons: spring, summer, winter, or fall. (Or if you were feeling adventurous, you could submit images for all four seasons, or even try to show all four seasons in one image. We weren’t sure how that would look but one of our reader favorites this month absolutely nailed it!)

We all have our favorite seasons to photograph, with fall being a perennial choice thanks to all those gorgeous autumn leaves. Winter has its deep snows; summer, its sunshine and beaches; and spring, its fresh flowers and plant life. But like we said, we wanted you to try to resist the clichés in your images for this assignment.

We wanted images of the Four Seasons we have not seen before because they should be coming from your own unique point of view. These eight winners from readers delivered.

(Note: To enter your photos in Picture This assignments, visit Shutterbug's Galleries.)

Summer Monsoon Storm
“Summer is the rainy season in Colorado, creating incredible cloud formations and dramatic light reflections on the valley floor,” Christoph Stopka notes. “In this photo, I captured a monster storm rolling down from the Rocky Mountains into the wide Wet Mountain Valley outside of Westcliffe, Colorado. Gigantic sheets of rain were drifting over the valley while openings in the enormous clouds allowed streaks of sunlight to paint the verdant green pastures on the valley floor. This image with all of its drama reminds me of paintings by Albert Bierstadt.” Stopka shot it with a Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 24-120mm lens at 86mm, f/8, 1/80 second, ISO 64. © Christoph Stopka

Arch of a Rainbow
“Above my house sits this old farm,” Joshua T. Moore notes. “When I noticed the rainbow, I took off to that farm. It is the only area nearby that has a beautiful open field. For me, this was the first time I’d ever seen a fully arched rainbow. Living in an area with more mountains than mailboxes, you usually just see a piece of a rainbow. I captured this full rainbow by taking three separate images and stitching them together in Lightroom.” This composite spring image was captured hand-held in Church Hill, Tennessee, with a Nikon D7100 and an 18-55mm lens at 18mm, f/8, 1/80 second, ISO 250. © Joshua T. Moore

Eldredge Road Maple
Steve Loveless shot this multi-season composite portrait of “a perfect, mature maple tree” in Benzie County, Michigan. “I appreciated the general isolation and lack of visual clutter so the magnificence of the tree is front and center,” Loveless says. “Each frame is a three-shot handheld horizontal stitch shot captured with a Nikon D700 and a Tamron 28-300mm lens at 28mm.” © Steve Loveless

Fall: Japanese Maple Leaves
Brian Grandfield did not provide a description for this exquisite fall image of Japanese maple leaves but we feel it speaks for itself. © Brian Grandfield

“Drought-busting winter rains had a very colorful side effect here in California: a super bloom of wildflowers,” Douglas Croft explains. “The Carrizo Plain National Monument was one of the areas that became ground zero for the bloom.” He shot the image with a Nikon D500 and a Nikkor 18-300mm lens at ISO 400, f/16, 1/250 second. © Douglas Croft

Water, Dressed in Its Winter Best
“I live in North Dakota, where snow is a semi-permanent fixture on our winter landscapes,” Karen Seginak writes. “It can be easy to get frustrated with the many challenges its persistence can create, but when examining the ephemeral, exquisitely unique beauty of it on an individual snowflake level, all wonder in its magic is quickly restored. Winter-adapted mammals have great insulation against the cold, and I’ve found that their hair makes a perfect substrate for holding such tiny treasures. This little frozen gem paused briefly on my horse’s tail for its portrait.” © Karen Seginak

Bob Larson explains that this image is a combination of two shots he captured while pulled over to the side of the road during a “wicked” snowstorm. “Both shots were taken from a tripod in front of the car, one with me in the driver’s seat taken with the timer, the other with a manual zoom applied while the shutter was open to create that ‘Star Trek’ effect,” he says. The two shots were later combined on his computer to make this image. He shot the sequence in Prescott, Arizona, with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i and a Sigma 10-20mm lens. © Bob Larson