2014 Challenge, Week 47 Nature & Wildlife – Litter & Trash

This week we’re going to break all the rules of nature and wildlife photography. We’re going to focus on the human impact on nature and urban nature. We’ll still keep true to the editorial perspective of Nature and Wildlife photography. However if you feel like giving things an artistic twist of your own, go for it.

Steve Troletti Photography: Montreal -  L’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012 &emdash; Trash Littering the banks of Montreal's Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park

Plastic pollution of our oceans seems to take center stage as the media reports clouds of micro plastic particles in the Pacific Ocean. This plastic pollution comes from somewhere, our own shores. We don’t just pollute the Pacific Ocean, we pollute our rivers and lakes as well. As portrayed by the image above, plastic trash is present under many forms.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

Not all trash pollutes equally. Glass containers are a menace to people as much as they are to our wildlife and our environment. When glass containers find themselves broken they’re an accident waiting to happen.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

This 6 pack holder may seem like harmless pollution. It’s actually a deathtrap for many young animals such as geese, ducks and mammals such as Red Fox kits. The young get these loops around their necks and/or bodies. They usually die of a slow suffocating death as they grow into the plastic ring. Always cut the rings before disposing of similar items.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

We all need personal hygiene items but there’s a time and place for them. Many of these items don’t just litter and pollute our green spaces. Some, such as condoms, also represent a health hazard to people and pets.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

Fast food containers seem to invade natural habitats. They’re all marked with a responsible message inviting users to dispose of them properly. Luckily they’ve evolved from styrofoam to cardboard minimizing the impact caused by such litter.

Steve Troletti Photography: Montreal -  L’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012 &emdash; Trash Littering the banks of Montreal's Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park

Styrofoam containers are still used for worms and different bait. In fact most of what’s sold for fishing is packed in plastic. Trash from fisherman seem to be scattered along all the rivers I visit in North America

Fishing line may be one the of the most devastating item left by humans along our shores. Animals of all sizes, especially birds suffer greatly. Waterfowl, especially their young get entangled in the line. I’ve even seen a full grown Great Blue Heron entangled in fishing line in a tree. Luckily, wildlife agents were able to rescue it in time. Not an easy task with such a large bird. For those interested I’ve written a small blog on the impact of fishing lines and hooks on Double-crested Cormorants; http://blog.trolettiphoto.com/double-crested-cormorants-birds-suffer-waste/

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Welcome to l’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Bienvenue au parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation

From night time parties to picnics, hikers to back packers, it seems there’s always a bad apple willing to leave their mark in some of the most beautiful places on earth. When you spend as much time in nature as I do, you just can’t help but notice the negative impact mankind leaves on our planet. These examples barely skim the surface. These images are but a sample of what individuals like you and I can do to our natural spaces with only a handful of trash

For this challenge try and apply all the techniques we’ve practiced over the year to come up with more than a snapshot, create a striking PHOTOGRAPH that sends a message. Although we usually only ask for a photo, I’d like to see a small paragraph that describes the impact and emotion of your photograph, further adding to the editorial value of this assignment.

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

DSCF0981You can still get the Photochallenge.org 2015 Calendar and help out Trevor and his family in this time of need. The Photochallenge.org 2015 Calendar has been created with the generous support of our member submitted images.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to all who helped make this calendar a reality and to all who have purchased a copy.

The Photochallenge.org 2015 Calendar is available for purchase online @ LULU.COM

2014 Challenge, Week 43 Nature & Wildlife – TWILIGHT

Twilight as defined by Wikipedia is the illumination of the Earth’s lower atmosphere when the Sun itself is not directly visible because it is below the horizon. Twilight is produced by sunlight scattering in the upper atmosphere, illuminating the lower atmosphere so that the surface of the Earth is neither completely lit nor completely dark. The word “twilight” is also used to denote the periods of time when this illumination occurs.

The further the Sun is below the horizon, the dimmer the twilight (other things such as atmospheric conditions being equal). When the Sun reaches 18 degrees below the horizon, twilight’s brightness is nearly zero, thus evening twilight ends, and night begins. When the Sun again reaches 18 degrees below the horizon, night ends and morning twilight begins. Owing to its distinctive quality, primarily the absence of shadows and the appearance of objects silhouetted against the bright sky, twilight has long been popular with photographers, who refer to it as ‘sweet light’, and painters, who refer to it as the blue hour, after the French expression l’heure bleue. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight )

This may demand a little more planning on your part as you will only have limited opportunities to do this and each opportunity lasts but only a few minutes. True that the end of the Twilight hours give us a deep blue sky to work with, there’s also a multitude of colors that can be produced in front of your eyes. The above image of the silhouetted tree has them all, from a soft golden glow to our deep blue sky.

Twilight RiverNot all images need to have a silhouette. This river was photographed as the sun had just set. Although a long exposure for a handheld image, everything is lit in an array of warm colors.

dsc_2820.jpeg

Remember, we’re not looking for a sunset or a sunrise. We’re looking for the light and the effect of this light just prior to sunrise or past sunset. The window of colors will be short and a bit of planning and technique may make all the difference. To keep track of where and when the sun will set and rise you may want to refer to the Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) ( http://app.photoephemeris.com ) free to use on the web app.

Crematorium

If you want to challenge yourself and produce an image similar to the one above, you’ll need a few tools.

  1. Steady tripod
  2. ND (Neutral Density Filters) ; optional http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_density_filter
  3. Graduated Neutral Density Filters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduated_neutral_density_filter
  4. Camera Shutter Remote

Since the light in the sky will be brighter you may want to put graduated neutral density filters to good use. This will reduce the sky’s illumination, balancing it with the poorly lit subject, I.E. the ground and water. The ND filter will also increase your exposure time by evenly reducing light coming through your lens, giving you a silky look to your water.  The Tripod and shutter release will help you keep everything stable as you may be exposing for a few seconds to a few minutes.

You may also want to refer to this article from weatherscapes.com. Sunrise and sunset phenomena: what to discover, when, and where: http://www.weatherscapes.com/techniques.php?cat=optics&page=twilight

As this is Nature and wildlife, keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer! Nature and Wildlife photography can also be a great family activity.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2014 Challenge, Week 39 Nature & Wildlife – WATER MEETS LAND

Bodies of water are always contained by a border of solid ground. Our shorelines and river banks are often home to some of the greatest diversity of life on earth. It also offers us some of the most extraordinary scenery.

Heather meets the sea

Seascapes in their own right offer some of nature’s most grandiose and breathtaking views. With ever changing topography and the variety of climate zones around the world, the possibilities are endless.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Fall on the back river / L’automne sur la rivière des prairies

Rivers themselves offer their share of amazing sights. With Fall hitting the Northern Hemisphere, textures and colors are changing rapidly further enhancing our images.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Killdeer / Pluvier kildir

Many Shorebirds rely on the solid footing of the ground below their feet as they feed along the shoreline and shallow bodies of water.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Bathing Goldfinch

From small passerine birds to large hawks and eagles, shorelines, river banks and streams offer the ideal environment to keep up on their daily hygiene.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; American Bullfrog / Ouaouaron

Amphibians rely on an habitat founded on the relationship between land and water. This habitat is crucial to their survival on a day to day basis.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Dragonfly and exuviae / Libellule sortie de son exuvie

The dragonfly relies on the relationship between land and water for procreation. The larvae lives in water but the dragonfly comes out of it’s exuviae on plants above the water.

(DOLOMEDE) Dark Fishing Spider and egg sac

(DOLOMEDE) Dark Fishing Spider and egg sac

The giant Dolomede, Dark Fishing Spider is an other great example. It’s entire life is spent along our rivers and streams using rocks, trees and vegetation for cover. It relies 100% on it’s water habitat for feeding on fish and insects. It may also be it’s downfall as trouts enjoy a good size spider as a meal.

The ingredients for a successful challenge image are simple this week. You need some naturally occurring water, some point of reference to land (dirt, sand, rocks, plants, etc…) and maybe a living creature if you can blend it all in together.

As this is Nature and wildlife, keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2014 Challenge, Week 35 Nature & Wildlife – Textures and Patterns

One may ask, where do I find textures and patterns in nature? The answer is quite simple, EVERYWHERE! This may in fact be one of the most eye opening experience for new photographers. In many cases it’s as simple as pointing your camera in a random direction. (Surrounded by nature of course)

bark patternFind yourself up-close and personal with a tree and you’re apt to find textures and patterns.

Hoenderloo ForrestTake a step back from a tree and you get a pattern of trees. In this case the image is complemented with texture, the texture offered by the ground covering.

P1010137Get close to a rock face and and again you’re bound to find texture, patterns and perhaps both. Pay close attention to lighting. Textures often change with lighting. You may want to experiment with a flash, a reflector or take advantage of the sun’s own light at different hours of the day.

Moning in Bac Son ValleyAs was demonstrated with the trees, Not only can we get up close with rocks, the same may apply as you take an exaggerated step back. You may just be presented with a pattern of mountain peaks and textures from the ground to the sky above.

free_high_res_texture_132Leaves are an other great example of texture and patterns in nature. Converging, leading and non leading lines make up complex series of patterns and textures. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Zoom in and out of your subject exploring the different facets of nature.

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity.

With this nature and wildlife theme, keep man made objects out of your images. Nature has enough to offer on its own to satisfy every aspect of this theme.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2014 Challenge, Week 31 Nature & Wildlife – SHADOWS

One of the least practiced forms of Nature and Wildlife Photography may very well be SHADOWS. Nature can be so pretty in itself, full of colors and textures that we often fail to notice the SHADOWS it casts.

20100213 - IMG_6941One of the most classic examples may very well be the insect SHADOW visible through the translucency of a leaf. An advantage of this technique is that it works particularly well at mid-day. This is when the light from the Sun is generally to harsh for regular nature and wildlife photography.

Spider LeafIt doesn’t necessarily have to be through the leaf. Nothing seems to give the heebie-jeebies like the SHADOW of a spider. You don’t have to include the actual subject. However it’s always nice to find a way to compose your image with the subject and the SHADOW.

Hoenderloo ForrestWant BIG SHADOWS, trees will cast BIG SHADOWS. It can be the full SHADOW of a single tree or an entire forest. Naturally the lower the position of the Sun in the sky, the longer those SHADOWS will stretch.

In the strong sunshineFlowers and plants will cast shadows as well. This lily Pad is a great example with the flower casting a shadow on it’s own leaf.  An other composition that works better around mid-day.

Shadow on Flower BedDon’t forget, photographers cast SHADOWS to. You may or may not want your own SHADOW as part of your image composition.

TO CONTROL SHADOWS: In nature the Sun is your source of light. As it travels through the sky, its angle relative to subjects on the ground will change. This in effect will cast a different shadow at a different time of day. The earlier in the day, the more stretched out to the West your SHADOW will be. The later in the day, the more stretched your SHADOW will be to the East. The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. A mid-day summer Sun however will cast a shadow directly under your subject. Hope this helps you plan your Challenge a little better.

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity

As this is Nature and wildlife, try to keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images as much as possible. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2014 Challenge, Week 28: LANDSCAPE – B&W

I’m filling in for Trevor this week. Keeping inline with his LANDSCAPE theme’s, I chose to propel us back to the time of Ansel Adams.  No one can argue that he is one of the great pioneers of B&W Landscape Photography. Unless you’re still shooting film, digital photography brings to us B&W in a totally different light.

Himalaya, Nepal (front page Explore)

For purists, film remains the best media for B&W Landscape Photography. Film grain adds to the character of an image, while noise is a digital photographer’s nightmare. Film photography also requires mastering colored filters. To boost contrasts and darken skies yellow, orange and red filters are used. If you don’t shoot B&W images in-camera, you may want to consider using these filters in your workflow during digital post processing.

Olympus

When you set out to shoot in B&W you should get into the B&W mind-set. While color images rely on colors to create impact, B&W images are more about tones and texture. Look for scenes with higher contrasts and good separation of your subject and basic image elements.

timberline

Ansel Adams relied on the principles of the Zone System to get his exposure just right. The Spectrum of BLACK to WHITE was broken down into graduated blocks from 0 to 10 with 18% gray in the center. This is similar to today’s gray scale and can be applied to digital photography just like it was in the film days. It’s important to get your mid tones exposure just right not to burn details in your blacks and your whites. You can read a little more on the ZONE SYSTEM on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_System

The peakSome scenes may be difficult to control. Bright skies and snowy mountain tops can easily overexpose under some conditions. In the old days we used to dodge a scene with our hand or with an object in front of the lens. This permitted us to restrict the amount of light in a specific area of a scene. Today we have the graduated neutral density filters. I find them to be one of the most valuable landscape photography tools in my bag. Graduated Neutral Density Filters on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduated_neutral_density_filter

Riviere-des-prairies / Montreal Back River - INFRARED

One of my personal favorites for B&W Landscape photography, Infrared filters. The most common filter is the 720NM filter such as the Hoya R72. Different digital cameras will block infrared light at different levels. You can experiment with different filters from 560NM and up. This is great for long exposures and gives a unique look to your images. Your in-camera result will be a reddish image. A basic conversion to B&W is all you’ll need. I took the above image with a 560nm filter on a non converted Nikon DSLR.

GB.USA.07.0025

Composition, separation of elements and good exposure control become all the more important in B&W landscape photography. Many techniques we’ve already covered in previous challenges will come in handy. In addition you’ll need to decide if you’re going to take B&W images in-camera or post process your color images to B&W. For those who post process there are additional tools such as Nik’s Silver Effects and Topaz Lab’s B&W Effects. These tools can help you get the best out of your B&W conversions.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

 

2014 Challenge, Week 27 Nature & Wildlife – RED, WHITE and BLUE

Already the 4th of July weekend for a good part of you participating in the 2014 PhotoChallenge. Having participants from all over the world, with varying climates and apposing seasons, makes these Nature and Wildlife PhotoChallenges a real Challenge for me. I don’t want to exclude anyone, but while summer is in full swing in Los Angeles, people are coping with winter in Cape Town. I figured a good way to integrate 4th of July Weekend in this week’s theme would be to apply the colors that most closely signify this National Holiday, RED, WHITE and BLUE.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Mating Rainbow Lorikeet / Acouplement de Loriquet à tête bleueI don’t expect everyone to find all three colors at once in nature. Even these mating Rainbow Lorikeets from Down Under are lacking the basic white. This week’s challenge is to focus on one, two or all three of these colors in one nature or wildlife image. No man made object or purely domestic animal such as a cat or dog.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Male Northern Cardinal / Cardinal rouge mâleTry and isolate your subject so that the color/colors you choose for this week’s challenge are predominant in your image. The Northern Cardinal above is a good example of using the RED for the subject while complementing the image with the WHITE snow.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Snow Goose Landing / Oie des neigesBlue skies make for blue water. Add a white bird such as a Gull or this Snow Goose and again you’re easily using two of the three colors for this week’s PhotoChallenge.

Steve Troletti Photography: Butterflies / Papillons &emdash; Blue Morpho Wings Open on red flowers / Morpho Bleu les ailes ouvertes sur fleurs rougeA Blue Morpho Butterfly on REDdish flowers. The Blue Morpho also has a touch of white along the top of its wings. Be attentive with butterflies as they may appear to have dull colors when their wings are closed. However, once they open their wings, their’s a good chance you’ll find a totally different colored butterfly.

Steve Troletti Photography: Insects / Insectes / Insecta &emdash; Ruddy Darter / Sympétrum rouge sangYou can find Dragonflies in RED, WHITE or BLUE, maybe all three together. This Ruddy Darter is just what we’re looking for. Insects come in a multitude of colors. They can also be there one day and gone the next. It’s not because you don’t find them on a specific day that they won’t be there the next.

Steve Troletti Photography: Flowers, Plants and Trees /Fleurs, plantes et arbres &emdash; Phallic Flower / Fleur phallique - AnthuriumFlowers come in all imaginable colors as well. This Anthurium has bright REDs and a WHITE Spathe. Against a bright blue sky this would have been the perfect image for this week’s challenge.

Circular Polarizer Filter

Circular Polarizer Filter

A good tool to use for this PhotoChallenge may be a Polarizer Filter. It will enhance contrast between colors and may reduce unwanted reflections over water or on your subject. If you’re going for BLUE Skies it will give you Rich BLUE Sky when used properly. Here’s a quick link on Wikipedia regarding the use of Polarizer Filters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarizing_filter_%28photography%29

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Please be extremely considerate of nesting birds and their nests. Keep a good distance away, not to overly stress the birds. The birds choose their nesting area carefully. Breaking and removing branches to take a better picture will only render the nest more vulnerable to predators.

Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity

As this is Nature and wildlife, try to keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images as much as possible. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

To fully take advantage of the sunlight, early mornings and late afternoons will provide a lower angle and softer light to work with.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.