Readers Photo Challenge assignment: The call of nature

Spring is in full swing with warm weather and flowers blossoming which is the inspiration of the newest Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Nature.

It’s a broad subject encompassing landscapes, wildlife and more, so you can approach it several different ways.


Landscapes and seascapes tend to be shot with wide angle lenses, which is fine. They give an overall view of the scene but just remember to include a foreground which will help to lead the viewer’s eye into the photo. You can also try using a telephoto. Perhaps you won’t be able get an entire mountain range in your photo but you can a more detailed shot of a peak or two.

Animals are also good subjects for nature photos. In general, most photos of large wildlife require a telephoto lens. Many species of mammals, reptiles and birds can be skittish and you also don’t want to affect their behavior with your presence, so the only way to get a tight shot of them is through a long lens. The skills of a hunter, stealth, knowledge of your “prey” and most importantly patience, can be very helpful.

Photographing insects can also be a challenge. You have to think small when trying to capture bugs. Using a macro lens will help you get close up to the tiny critters. Try looking for them very early in the day when the cold of the morning will limit their mobility and make it easier for you to track them.

Speaking closeups, a macro lens are also good for photographing flowers as well as other details of the natural world. While overall photos of flowers are acceptable, getting as close as you can to the blossoms tends to make for better pictures.

As with almost any other pictures, time of day and lighting is important with nature photos. Early morning or late afternoon tend to be the best times. The light is warmer and comes in a more pleasing angles than the harsh straight overhead light of midday.

While your photos should be primarily of the natural world, that doesn’t mean that it has to be completely devoid of the presence of man. A small farm house or small rough-hewn fence in the distance can add just the right accent to an overall landscape scene. A person walking down a wooded path or on a scenic beach can add that same sort of accent as well.

We have some beautiful springtime weather in the forecast so get out there and answer the call of nature.

How to enter:

1. Email your entries to Type in “Nature” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between April 5 and April 19.

3. Entries are limited to no more than 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (e.g.: “John Doe of Stockton. Location: Victory Park, Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3 w/ 55-300mm lens”).

5. Please include a description of what’s your photo. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos, and if they’re related to you. (e.g.: Jimmy Doe, 8, of Stockton, boats on the deep water channel bear Buckley Cove in Stockton).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is Thursday, April 19. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on April 26 at

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