Our Favorite Reader Photos from the "Wildlife & Nature Photography" Assignment


Barry Cain shot this aggressive image while on safari in Botswana in the Okavango Delta area of Africa. “We followed these lions for quite some time,” Cain recalled. “Wildlife is unpredictable, it’s best to be patient. I’m not sure what set them off but this confrontation lasted about 20 seconds and then they went their separate ways. I was using an 80-400mm lens on my Nikon D4. We spent two weeks in Africa and it was the best trip of my life so far.”
© Barry Cain

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Ok, maybe not tigers this month but the other two made the cut in some of the winning photos for this assignment. Wildlife and nature are favorite subjects for Shutterbug readers and, as expected, we reviewed a ton of amazing images from readers in these categories. The tough part was narrowing it down to just six favorites but we think we’ve picked some fabulous images to spotlight here. What do we like about these shots? They’re more than just photos of animals or nature that are in focus. All six of our favorites offer a fresh and interesting perspective on the natural world while telling some kind of story. This was a very competitive assignment and these shots truly stood out.

Last Meal Before Hibernation
“Kodiak were catching the last of the salmon run at Brooks Falls, Alaska,” Michael Benson explained. “This sow had just caught a fish at the mouth of the Brooks River and was enjoying her meal.” He shot the image with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and a 600mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x extension at ISO 400, 1/1000 second, f/5.6.
© Michael Benson

Dandelion Glow
“I found this dandelion and brought it home to shoot in my home studio,” David Terao wrote. “I backlit it with a snooted mini-spot lamp fitted with a blue gel. A second lamp was used to the left to bring out the details of stem and involucre (inside the round head).” He shot it with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera and a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. Exposure was 0.4 seconds at f/29 and ISO 200.
© David Terao

Hide And Seek
“These kit foxes were playing in a culvert which appeared to be their makeshift den,” Chad Letain said. “They would run from one end to the other playing a little game of hide-and-seek back and forth. I was able to get just close enough without bothering them or their mother.” He shot this adorable image with a Canon EOS 6D and a 400mm f/5.6 lens at 1/400 second, f/5.6, ISO 1600.
© Chad Letain

Whale's Tail
“I took this photo on a whale watching cruise off of Cape Cod,” Hollie Adamic noted. “The humpback whales we encountered were very people friendly and stayed with our boat for quite a while diving and breaching. It was breathtaking.” The striking black-and-white image was shot with a Canon EOS 60D and a Tamron 18-270mm lens at 23mm, f/9, ISO 100, 1/800 second.
© Hollie Adamic

Female Iguana
Theo S. Lesinski shot this in-your-face image of an iguana while traveling in Costa Rica. It was captured with a Nikon D750 and a Nikkor 28-300mm lens at 78mm, f/4.9.
© Theo S. Lesinski

Picture This! – Our Next Assignment
Capturing Action

Today’s camera gear is faster than ever and much of it is tailor-made for capturing any sort of motion or movement. So then why do so many photographers struggle to shoot compelling images of action? Part of it has to do with timing and part of it has to do with composition. Your camera and lens can only do so much and there’s more to a great action shot than simply capturing the moment and making sure it’s in focus. For this assignment, feel free to photograph anything from basketball to dance to wildlife, just as long as there’s some kind of action in the scene. For the winning images, we’re looking for great composition, effective use of backgrounds and scenery, and powerful emotion: human, animal, or otherwise.

Free Fall
I shot this image of Bello Nock, a renowned clown and acrobat, during a dress rehearsal for the Big Apple Circus in New York City. Below Bello, in the part of the scene you don’t see, is a small trampoline, which he proceeded to bounce off of until he reached greater and greater heights, all while maintaining hilarious and unusual poses. I like this shot because it really looks like he’s floating in midair. I captured it with a Nikon D4S and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 135mm, f/2.8, 1/5000 second, ISO 12,800.
© Dan Havlik

How To Submit Online
1. Go to www.shutterbug.com and register. Scroll down the page and on the right side you will see a box for entering your username and your password. If you have already registered and/or submitted images for the Galleries you can skip this step. Respond to the activation e-mail. Registration is free. You will use your username and password whenever you visit or, with some systems, it will automatically load for you when you visit www.shutterbug.com.

2. Check the assignment and closing dates in the magazine. When the magazine is printed we will create an appropriate gallery for your images. The limit is two images per assignment.

3. Select and prepare your images. We only accept files at a maximum 5MB size, JPEG format. Save the JPEG at a quality level of 10 or higher. Note that file size in your image folder directory will determine upload size, not the “opened” file size, as JPEG compresses at 1:4 at higher quality ratings. If your images do not load it probably means you have exceeded the file size or have not used JPEG format.

4. Click on the Galleries tab on the homepage. In the Category section use the drop-down menu to select the Picture This! assignment. Note that images are simultaneously loaded into the assignment category as well as your own personal gallery. When the Picture This! assignment deadline date has lapsed the assignment gallery will be removed, but your images will still reside in your own gallery.

5. In the Description box add title, camera, lens, exposure information, and your full name. Also add any other comments or anecdotes you think relevant. We reserve the right to edit comments as needed.

6. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page. This uploads the image.

7. You retain copyright on the image.

8. We will choose the images after close of the due date.

9. Please feel free to comment on images submitted by other readers.

Please Note: If the photograph includes a minor or a recognizable individual or group you are guaranteeing that you have a signed model release form, and especially a parental or guardian release form for minors. You should keep a copy of that release in your files. Scan that release and keep it handy. If an image is chosen for publication, failure to provide a form when requested will eliminate the image from consideration. You can find release forms at http://asmp.org/tutorials/model-release-minor-child.html and other resources on the Internet. By uploading images you attest that the model release form is valid, that any depiction of a person is with their consent, that you have a model release form available on request, and that all images you submit have been made by you.

Deadline for submission: August 1, 2016.
Images will appear in our November 2016 issue.

Our next topic: Low-Light Noir
Deadline: September 1, 2016
Publication Date: December 2016

Please Note: By submitting you agree to give us the right to show the image(s) on the web and for publication. You give us publication rights in the magazine and on the website(s) of TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC.

Want to see images selected for past picture this! Assignments? Go to www.shutterbug.com and click on picture this! In the “more articles…” box on the homepage.

If you have any questions or problems e-mail us at editorial@shutterbug.com with Picture This! in the subject line.