A Grey Afternoon (Jodie Randall)

Speeding towards the horizon, the overcast sky and silvery-green water looked as though it streched on forever. We scanned all around. We were close now, but so far there was still no sign of the creatures that we had come here looking for. There were four of us in the boat: me, my sister and two friends. My sister and I had been invited out in their RIB (Rigid inflatable boat) which resembles a speed boat, in the hope of seeing grey seals.

Paralleled by the mainland on one side and an island on the other, we were heading to the newly uncovered sandbanks revealed by the receeding tide.

Flecks of salty sea spray spattered my face. A flock of turnstones raced along with the boat beating their striped wings at top speed.

I’m unsure who first spotted the ashen face moving through the murky water, but the alarm was sounded and the engine quickly turned off. Excited mutterings echoed around the boat. The seal was stilll quite a way off, when our friend behind the wheel began singing a high pitched, out of tune song. ‘Opera’ I was informed was the way to make the seal come closer. I am unsure whether there is any truth in this theory, but on this occasion his eccentric ploy payed off. There we were in the little boat bobbing up and down in the current listening to our friends’ shrill song ringing out over the waves, eyes all fixed on the seal. I lined my lens up as best I could. Inexperienced at shooting on water, I pressed the shutter whenever the seal came into frame. We were moving, the seal was moving and the water was moving. Needless to say, success rates were low and I was beginning to feel slightly sick. Another snout and two more glossy black eyes appeared above the surface, coming to investigate the strange sounds emitting from our boat.

The one closest lifted its head and shoulders from the water looking over towards the land, then disappeared head first, allowing us a glimpse of its arching back and slate grey flippers.

As they departed we went to investigate the sandbanks. Three large mottled bodies lay spralled out on the banks. It was hard to believe that they were the same creatures that I had seen only moments earlier in their element, blending with the waves.


NBPS Flickr Contest (Image by Evan Pagano)


Shake It Off, originally uploaded by Evan 49.

yet again Evan, great job!
I love this moment you captured here. and that you got a couple water droplets in mid-air. The slightly disheveled look the bird has is fabulous, sometimes we see too many shots of the bird in flight, or looking clean and neat. This does the opposite and made for a great capture. The colors and depth of field work well in this image too, by having the image blurred in the background the viewers eye focuses more on the subject; and the natural subtle colors of the bird are very pleasing to the eye.

thanks Evan, keep shooting!

-Emma Canfield

Gabby on the Road to Amazonia

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know that I have left on a 10-month journey through Southeastern Peru on a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship. I am working as a photographer with the Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica as they create a corridor of protected lands around the newly constructed Interoceanic Highway, which stretches across Peru and Brazil. Using images and video, I will tell the story of conservation efforts around the highway.

My journey begins in the high Andes and will continue in the lowland Amazon, as I traverse the corridor from Manu National Park, Peru, to Madidi National Park, Bolivia. I will be staying in accommodations that will range from hut floors to bunks in research stations, traveling by canoe, car, and plane to my destinations.
If you are interested in keeping up with my journey, you can visit my trip website: http://www.roadtoamazonia.com. I’ll be posting pictures, stories, videos, and audio journals from the field as I tell the story of conservation in this beautiful and globally important region. You can subscribe to the blog using the RSS Feed Link on the website. —All the best to you in the coming year! Gabby Salazar

PS. Send in your Flickr shots and keep watching for students’ work and ideas that is scheduled to be featured on Nature’s Best Photography Students blog run by the Nature’s Best Team and student correspondents. Check out the newest NBP Students Online edition. The next two issues are also in the works now.

FOLLOW GABBY in South America: http://www.roadtoamazonia.com
Email: gabby.r.salazar@gmail.com; Website: http://www.gabbysalazar.com

NBPS Flickr Contest (Image by Tucker Lutter)


Tarantula!, originally uploaded by BackpackingBirder.

This is a really great shot. Despite the fact that the tarantula is centralized in the frame, it is really powerful. I love how the tarantula looks as though it is lit from below as well as above. The only thing I would change about this image is in lower left corner: this area seems a bit lighter than the rest of the image (darken it maybe to match the others,) and the light bits around the abdomen look a bit over-exposed. If you shot this in raw (or even if not, but you get a better outcome if you do), there is a great tool (called “recovery” in photoshop) that brings back details in the hot spots in a non-destructive way (instead of using the burn tool.) If you use the adjustment brush in camera raw, you can also bring back details and darken it up a bit to make it uniform with the rest of the image. I also like the almost monochromatic take to this image!

Thanks for the great image, and keep up the good work!
-Emma Canfield

NEW Online Edition

See the new Nature’s Best Photography Students Online Edition for September 2010 with features by young photographers Connor Stefanison and Jess Findlay, Johan Doornenbal, Timothy Brooks, and Tyler Benjamin. Be sure to check out the videos and websites.

Let us know how you like the issue by sending an email to: Brianna@naturesbestphotography.com.

Recent shot (connor stefanison)

Having just started school again, I’ve been pretty busy. I figure I’ll just do a quick post about a recent shot I took, which I really like. This is a Long-Billed Dowitcher, which I took at Burnaby Lake. Burnaby Lake is very close by, so it makes for a very easy place to go to for some decent shots. For this shot I used hip waiters and a frying pan tripod (panpod), to achieve the low angle.  I also used mountain biking arm pads to save my arms from being chewed up by gravel. Overall, if you haven’t tried shooting at eye level for shorebirds shorebirds, I would highly recommend trying it. A low angle can give a more intimate look and a nice looking background to an image.

On a final note: I just got my Canon 1D Mark3 camera back from being repaired at Canon. IT TOOK FOUR MONTHS!

NBPS Flickr Contest (Image by Timothy Brooks)


Flower, originally uploaded by timilini.

I really enjoy this image; I love the fact that you did a great job keeping the flower in focus and you were able to have the line from the stem flow in the same direction as the subtle strokes in the background of the greens and browns.
The luminance of the contrasting colors of the flower being lighter and standing out in comparison of the more muted colors in the background are great too.
Great job and keep shooting!

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