Our Favorite Reader Photos from "The Great Outdoors" Assignment


The Valley of Mary
David Reynolds was on the road to Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska when he made a stop overlooking The Valley of Mary. “In the distance, the combination of the rain and sun created an ethereal effect,” he says. “In the foreground, the water flowing through the gravel bed is glacier melt from the various remaining glaciers in the mountains. The vegetation was the greenest green I had ever seen.” He shot the image with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 18-35mm lens at 18mm.
© David Reynolds

Outdoor photography is a favorite with Shutterbug readers so this was a very competitive assignment. But we were looking for more than just your summer vacation photos at Yosemite: we were seeking something both beautiful and different. We also asked you to keep your mind open for what’s considered “The Great Outdoors.” We were looking for everything from images of the majestic wonder in Denali National Park in Alaska, to the delicate pink-hued skies of Key West, to a stunning vista as seen right from your backyard. Most importantly, we asked you to remember to keep the “great” in the Great Outdoors with your photography submissions for this assignment. It was extremely difficult to narrow down our favorites, but here are seven from this Picture This! assignment that really stood out.

Fall Colors, Ridgway, CO
Alan Bogart captured this image of a snowstorm in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado with a Nikon D800E DSLR and a Nikkor 24-70mm zoom lens.
© Alan Bogart

Fire of the Heart
“You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it is burning in your own.” - Anonymous. “I have found this quote to be very true in many aspects of life, and tonight’s sunset picture, with this heart-shaped rain puddle in the Granite Dells in Prescott, Arizona, and the flaming colors of sunset hitting the rain, made me think of this,” Theresa Rose Ditson writes. It was captured with a Nikon D810 and a 14-24mm lens.
© Theresa Rose Ditson

Snowy Sunset In Northport, NY
Alissa Rosenberg said she captured this photograph in Northport, New York, after a snowfall was starting to clear out. “Although there is no snow on the beach, the snow was still sitting atop the homes and on the grass,” she notes. “This shot was taken during low tide and the ripples in the sand combined with the setting sun were just magical to me.” The image was captured with a Nikon D750 DSLR and a 16-35mm lens. “I also used my favorite purchase, a Joby GorillaPod tripod, so that I could place my camera very low to the ground to achieve this effect. This was my first attempt at focus stacking where this image is really comprised of three separate shots that were captured with focus in the foreground, middle, and one in the background. Then the images were blended in Photoshop so that it would be truly sharp throughout.”
© Alissa Rosenberg

Fire of the Heart
“You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it is burning in your own.” - Anonymous. “I have found this quote to be very true in many aspects of life, and tonight’s sunset picture, with this heart-shaped rain puddle in the Granite Dells in Prescott, Arizona, and the flaming colors of sunset hitting the rain, made me think of this,” Theresa Rose Ditson writes. It was captured with a Nikon D810 and a 14-24mm lens.
© Theresa Rose Ditson

The Grand View
“Late in the evening is one of the best times to go see the views of the Grand Canyon,” according to Jenny Lines. “This happened about 6:30 in the evening at the Cape Royal lookout. The road was actually closed earlier in the day because of controlled burns, but we were lucky enough to get up to the viewing points late in the afternoon. It was a perfect moment because most of the day was overcast, but right as the sun was starting to set the clouds parted just slightly to give you some very faint light beams.” She used a Nikon D7200 handheld with a 20mm Tokina lens at f/8, ISO 400, 1/250 second. “I used a Tiffen ND circular filter to cut down on some of the haze as well.”
© Jenny Lines

Sunrise Over NewFound Gap
“The sun was rising through the Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lighting up the sky with some brilliant color,” Joshua T. Moore recalls. “I left the house about 4 a.m. to get there just as the sun started to rise at 6:25 a.m. A storm had passed through the night before, so I knew the humidity would be low and I might have a chance to grab some clouds rolling through. I usually plan all of my shots around the weather.” He shot this with a Nikon D7000 and a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on a tripod. It was captured at ISO 250, f/11, with no filters.
© Joshua T. Moore

Picture This! – Our Next Assignment
Travel & Landscape Photography

What makes a great travel or landscape photo? Many things, of course, but we’ve found that the best images always tell some sort of story. Don’t simply post a pretty picture. Beautiful photos are all well and good but they’re a dime a dozen these days. To set your travel and landscape images apart, include some interesting elements in the frame that give a sense of place or context. We want to imagine we’re standing right there beside you, whether you’re taking a photo on a dusty street in Marrakesh, or turning your camera toward a vast plain in Montana.

Sudden Entrance
Most photographers like the versatility of a zoom or the portrait potential of a fast prime, but I love to bring a high-quality, wide-angle lens when I travel. While roaming the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, a few years ago while testing the Nikon D750, I fell in love with the AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED lens, which showed great range in helping me capture this “happy accident” photo of a girl running across this courtyard. I say “happy accident” because this girl appeared out of nowhere as I was shooting what, otherwise, might have been a rather static photo. The fast 20mm Nikkor was able to help me quickly grab the shot. My settings were f/7.1, 1/200 second, ISO 100.
© 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 Travel & Landscape: February 1, 2017.
Images will appear in our May 2017 issue.

Upcoming topic: Sunrises & Sunsets
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Publication Date: June 2017

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 assignments? Go here.

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