17th Annual Readers’ Photo Contest Action/Sports, Animals, Architecture, Candid/Humor, Landscape/Scenic, People, Still Life, Travel/Places. Published Jan 08, 2011 12:03 AM Galleries SHARE GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Alexis Burkevics, 52, systems engineer, Chatsworth, CA “I’ve long wanted to photograph the ‘Wave’ formation at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. But it’s permit-access only—they let only 20 people in a day—and I wasn’t able to get a permit online. So one day a friend and I set off for Arizona to try in person, and against all odds my number was drawn from the lottery. We hiked more than 2.5 miles over slick rock and sand hills to reach the Wave, and, once there, we stayed until after dark—I’d brought a red headlamp, to light-paint the wave. Moments later we were surprised by a lightning storm, and ended up being stranded overnight.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 15mm f/2.8 Canon EF fisheye lens; 25 sec at f/2.8, ISO 3200. Alexis Burkevics ACTION/SPORTS WINNER: Abdulaziz Alasousi, 31, police officer, Kuwait City, Kuwait “I was at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, in March 2010, photographing the competitions. I’m an amateur, not a professional, and since I didn’t have press access I had to shoot from the seats from a limited angle. Instead I relied on my monopod and telezoom lens to capture the action. This athlete’s name is Blanka Vlašic, a Croatian high-jump champion. A winning shot in more than one way—Vlašic ended up taking first place.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV with 500mm f/4 Canon lens; 1/800 sec at f/4, ISO 2000. Abdulaziz Alasousi ACTION/SPORTS RUNNER UP: Mitchell Diamond, 20, Student, Salt Lake City, UT “During September 2009, I was fortunate enough to work with Nitro Circus on their television show and movie, ‘Nitro Circus Country Fried.’ The purpose of this segment in the movie was to bring the metaphor of racing as a battle to life. Chad Reed is a Supercross and Motorcross champion, and rode through various segments of simulated track rigged with various explosives. Getting to know the director of photography and cameramen, I was able to stand closer to where the cameras were and had more flexibility with different angles. This shot is my favorite of the series because of all of the chaos that was captured in that frame.” www.mitchdiamond.com Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III with a EF300mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens; 1/640 sec at f/6.3, ISO 250. Mitchell Diamond ACTION/SPORTS RUNNER UP: Abdulaziz Alsousis, 31, Police Officer, Kuwait City, Kuwait “I took this pic in a local league in Kuwait of beginning swimmers. I hoped to capture the effect of the swimmer’s speed—I was pleased that it was a success.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV with 70–200mm f/2.8 lens; 1/25 sec at f/6.3, ISO 250. Abdulaziz Alsousis ACTION/SPORTS RUNNER UP: Ying-Chun Pan, 69, Retired Civil Engineer, Houston, TX “I spent four days in Omak, WA last year, photographing the Omak Stampede rodeo, which is held every year in the second week of August. The Omak Suicide races are part of the event, and they involve horses and riders racing down a 225-foot, 62-degree slope into a river that they have to swim across. One race takes place each evening, except for the last one which takes place in the afternoon. The evening races were held in relative darkness, leaving my photos of the races were blurry and noisy, but the experience enabled me to plan for the final race.” Tech Specs: Nikon D300 with 200-400mm f/4G VR IF-ED Zoom-Nikkor lens; 1/2500 sec at f/11, ISO 800. Ying-Chun Pan ANIMALS WINNER: Chris Heisey, 47, writer/photojournalist, Mechaniscsburg, PA “This past May, shortly after Mother’s Day, I took a trip to the National Zoo in Washington, DC, and visited the outdoor exhibit of the Great Ape House. As I was photographing the gorillas, crowds of nearby kids from field trips were literally bumping into my tripod! At one point, this mother took her baby gorilla into a concrete tunnel to escape the heat and had this tender moment. It hangs on my wall in honor of my own mother, who passed away recently but who always supported my photography.” Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Nikon D3 with 200–500mm f/5-6.3 Tamron AF lens and Nikon SB-900 Speedlight flash; 1/250 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1000. Chris Heisey ANIMALS RUNNER UP: Richard Friedle, 61, Amateur Photographer, Cherokee Village, AR “Walking along the Flathead Trail along South Fork River in Cherokee Village—which is a good are for butterflies, birds, deer, and other critters—I came up on these swallowtails mating in flight. They landed just long enough for me to find a good angle and snap a few quick shots. This photo has also been featured on RedBubble.com, the EyeFetch.com Hall of Fame, and DailyAwards.com.” Tech Specs: Sony Alpha 200 with 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 lens; 1/160 sec at f/5, ISO 400. Richard Friedle ANIMALS RUNNER UP: Brandi Mueller, 27, Scuba Instructor, Honolulu, HI “I was diving in Fiji, off the northern end of the main island—Viti Levu—and came across this adorable fish hiding in his anemone home. He would come out, look at me, look around, and then go back into the anemone as if to play peek-a-boo with me and my camera. I took quite a few shots, and this was my favorite—using my two strobes, I was able to bring out the pinks, purples, and greens. He almost looks like he’s trying to blend in with his home in hopes that I couldn’t see him.” www.tierrasirena.com Tech Specs: Nikon D90 with 60mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens, Ikelite underwater housing and strobes; 1/200 sec at f/18, ISO 1600. Brandi Mueller ANIMALS CATEGORY RUNNER UP: Kathy Cline Kathy Cline ARCHITECTURE WINNER: Eva Gryk, 46, medical technologist, New Britain, CT “I’m always on the lookout for unique architecture to photograph when I’m traveling abroad, and on a group tour to the Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, in southern Italy, I quickly noticed this beautiful stairway, which leads to the Renzo Piano-designed Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church. The leading line and optical illusion created by the walls and ceiling were the perfect photo op—I had just a few minutes to compose and capture the image before hurrying to catch up with the rest of the tour.” Tech Specs: Olympus SP-560 UZ; 1/250 sec at f/4, ISO 100. Eva Gryk ARCHITECTURE RUNNER UP: Evan Slavik, 28, Real Estate Investment/Grad Student, Los Angeles, CA “I woke up early one morning to find fog covering the windows of my apartment, which is on the 20th floor of a building about 3 blocks from the new Ritz Carlton building shown in this photo. Only the top of the building was visible, and I realized there would be a great opportunity to photograph once the sun came in and the fog had cleared. I ran up to the roof of the building and stood on the helipad with my tripod—as the wind started to pick up, the fog cleared more quickly, and the sunlight’s reflection off the glass became more visible. Every few seconds, the scene changed, and I captured many unique images that morning.” Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 7D with 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM Canon lens; 1/500 sec at f/8, ISO 100. Evan Slavik ARCHITECTURE RUNNER UP: Tim Grimshaw, 32, IT Support Analyst, New York, NY “This photo was taken while creating a series of images that I called ‘Manhattan – A Closer Look,’ which is (mostly) black-and-white images of iconic views of New York City, which I photographed using a tilt-shift lens. For this shot I wanted to include the Guggenheim museum because of its abstract shapes— I wanted to get as few distractions in the picture as possible, and to use the tilt-shift lens to create a narrow band of focus. I walked around the museum a few times looking at the outside before settling on this angle. I like the simplicity of the image: This is one image of mine that I’ve printed out large, and have hanging in my apartment.” www.orangeblob.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS-1D Mark III with 45mm f/2.8 TS-E Canon lens; 1/800 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200. Tim Grimshaw ARCHITECTURE RUNNER UP: Manuel Jiminez, 45, Professor/Photographer, Anasco, Puerto Rico “I was visiting Seattle for first time. I wanted to take a different view of the Space Needle, so I went shooting from different angles. I tried the classics: The city skyline, night shots, and full height. All OK, but none special. At one point, while waiting for the observation deck elevator, I glanced upwards with my camera in hand, and there it was: a different view. It was cloudy, so the sky gave me that gloomy background, with soft light and a near-natural monochromatic look. From the first instant I knew this picture would become a keeper—it actually became my favorite memory from that trip.” Tech Specs: Nikon D90 with 18–105mm f/3.5–5.6 VR Nikkor lens; 1/1000 sec at f/8, ISO 320. Manuel Jiminez ARCHITECTURE RUNNER UP: Randy Turoff, 60, University Teacher/Writer, San Francisco, CA As a native New Yorker [now located in San Francisco], I revisited some of my old haunts and some new ones this past summer. I took this Grand Central shot from a high balcony in the Main Hall, keeping a tight and steady vertical focus on the most interesting details. I particularly liked the chandeliers framed by the wrought iron encasement, and then the showy splash of color through the window reflections from above. The complexity of the architectural elements, along with the reflections, really made this photo pop for me. New York was more beautiful than ever.” www.randyturoff.com Tech Specs: Nikon D3000 with 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 Zoom-Nikkor lens; 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100. Randy Turoff CANDID/HUMOR WINNER: Jamie Felton, 51, stay-at-home parent, Lake Worth, FL “Visiting the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge to take bird photos, I noticed lubber grasshoppers congregating in one area. They are beautifully colored and, in my opinion, they have cute faces. I spent a few hours surrounded by a small army of them, trying to capture them. When this little hopper saluted me, I couldn’t help but think he looked like he was on a field phone calling in orders.” www.feltonphoto.com Tech Specs: Sony Alpha 700 with 50mm f/2.8 Minolta Macro lens; 1/200 sec at f/14, ISO 320. Jamie Felton CANDID/HUMOR RUNNER UP: Nicole Dugan, 42, Public Relations, San Francisco, CA “My son Farley has always been a bit of a walking cartoon—a facial contortionist now the age of 4-years-old. One day, curled up on the floor in his room, we discovered a pair of ‘spy glasses’ in a book his older brother had received. Farley immediately, knowingly, put them to action— I’m not sure he had any idea how funny he was. The expression in this shot screams of Bill Murray—and he’s never even seen “Caddyshack”! Fortunately my camera was reach, and the late-morning natural light coming through the western-facing windows were ideal for photos. I used a wide aperture to mask the kiddy-clutter strewn about the room. The photo so perfectly captures Farley’s goofy personality—a playful kid with a knack for comedy.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D with 50mm f/1.4 Canon EF lens, 1/100 sec at f/2, ISO 250. Nicole Dugan LANDSCAPE/SCENIC WINNER: Kati Mai Seiffer, 36, operations manager, Westford, MA “On a photography field workshop in Monterey, CA, one of our sessions was on shooting long exposures after sunset. This was a technique I’d never tried and was anxious to learn, so I arrived at our location an hour before sunset and spent time walking up and down the coastline. Eventually I ended up rock-hopping out to get a more interesting composition. I was surprised and pleased by this result. But by then the tide had come in—and I had to rock-hop 100 feet back to shore.” www.katimaiphotography.com Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 40D with 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L Canon IS lens; 30 sec at f/32, ISO 100. Kati Seiffer LANDSCAPE/SCENIC RUNNER UP: L. Blair Shamel, 57, Biomedical Business Consultant, Poway, CA “The photo was taken during a Yosemite winter vacation/photo shoot. We had returned each night to this “Tunnel View” site, which is known for iconic photos. This evening, we stayed long after most other visitors had departed to thaw out from the cold, and captured the valley illuminated by the full moon. The photo was taken about two hours past sunset. The full moon had just risen above the mountain peaks. The 25-second exposure turned the valley clouds into a ghostly mist and allowed the darkened trees to maintain their structure and a bit of color in the moonlight.” www.pbase.com/bshamel Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 7D with 24–105mm f/4L IS Canon lens; 25 sec at f/4, ISO 320. L. Blair Shame LANDSCAPE/SCENIC RUNNER UP: Rhonda Pataky, 33, eBusiness Service Delivery Manager, Beachwood, NJ “I took this photograph while hiking on the Limberlost Trail in Shenandoah National Park. Moments prior, I’d been captivated by a bear who didn’t seem too bothered by my presence. After he made his way through the woods, the path ahead seemed darker than it had been before. The brightness of the sky filtered through the trees and the leaves began to whistle. I was able to capture this shot moments before the storm began.” Tech Specs: Nikon D80 with 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6 Zoom-Nikkor lens; 1/60 sec at f/4, ISO 200. Rhonda Pataky LANDSCAPE/SCENIC RUNNER UP: Janny Guadalupe, 50, Site Supervisor, Middletown, NY “I was in my backyard, the first week of April, during with extraordinarily warm weather. The flowers in the apartment complex I supervise had bloomed, and I wanted to document their beauty. I sprayed water over this flower to make it look as if it had just been in a shower, then captured the perfect moment.” Tech Specs: Nikon D5000 with 55–200mm f/4–5.6 Nikkor lens; Exposure info not saved. Janny Guadalupe LANDSCAPE/SCENIC RUNNER UP: Edward Bechtel, 59, Aerospace Engineer, Woodland Hills, CA “Bryce is known for its dark skies and low light pollution. This was my second trip in two months, trying to capture the Milky Way while dodging bad weather. This image was a single 30-second exposure, taken from Sunrise Point on a moonless night. A 2 million-candle power flashlight was used to paint the opposite canyon during the exposure and the ISO was kept below 3200 to minimize noise. Shortly after this shot was taken the August Monsoon clouds arrived masking the stars. Everyone should experience the Milky Way first hand.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS 7D with 16–35mm f/2.8L Canon EF II USM lens; 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 2500. Edward Bechtel PEOPLE WINNER: Priska Battig, 38, occupational therapist, Oceanside, CA “My family and I spent a year in Montreal, where I was born, so my kids could learn French and get to know my relatives. I would take them to play at Parc Lafontaine, and this was my son Kai’s favorite spot to play on the playground—he called it ‘The Pirate Ship.’ I took the picture shortly before we moved back to California, so that he would have a way to remember it. Funny coincidence: I found out later that my brother, who makes custom metal sculptures, was the one who made the ‘ship’!” www.picsbypris.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF lens; 1/800 sec at f/2, ISO 400. Priska Battig PEOPLE RUNNER UP: Aida Yodites, 41, Stay-at-Home Mom, Murriet, CA “This was a typical ‘newborn’ photo-shoot. Baby Alyssa’s mommy was trying to put her to sleep, when the baby seemed to ‘wake up’ with a beautiful yawn and stretch. Natural window light coming in from the French-door windows of the room, and I felt so lucky to capture it. This picture means so much to my friend (baby Alyssa’s mom) and I, because this baby was actually premature, and the first couple weeks of her young life were extremely delicate—to have this photo of my friend’s healthy and hearty beautiful baby girl is very special.” purejoyphotos.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS Rebel T2i with Canon 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 Canon EF lens; 1/60 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100. Aida Yodites PEOPLE RUNNER UP: Chris Wraight, 50, Marketing, Southborough, MA “This picture of JD Fortune, lead singer of INXS, was taken at the Moscone Center, San Francisco on Sep 1, 2010. In September 2005, Fortune replaced the late Michael Hutchence in a nationally televised reality show contest. In 2009, he lost his spot in the band but in 2010 he has returned, to very favorable reviews. As an amateur, I don’t have credentials to bring my good camera gear into a ‘regular’ concert, but at an event like this there were no equipment restrictions, and I was eager to get some good photos of a world-famous band with their troubled replacement singer. I staked out my spot early and was jostled quite a bit, but overall the crowd was very friendly. At the time of this shot, the stage was bathed only in blue light and so I felt the B&W conversion really brought out the mood.” Tech Specs: Nikon D3s with 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6G Zoom-Nikkor; 1/500 sec at f/4.8, Chris Wraight PEOPLE RUNNER UP: Scott Beck Scott Beck PEOPLE RUNNER UP: Rebecca Danzenbaker, Account Management, Arlington, VA K”eelan (the subject of the photo), her mother and I spent that morning at a park in Alexandria, VA running around on the playground and taking lots of photos. Headed back to the car, we slowed down to play with some passing puppies, just under a tree that was shedding its red and orange autumn leaves. Noticing that Keelan was distracted by the dogs, Keelan’s mom picked up a handful of the leaves and tossed them in her direction. Keelan caught on at the last second and quickly ducked to escape the tide.” www.rebeccadanzenbaker.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS 40D with 50mm f/1.4 Canon lens; 1/2500 sec at f/1.4, ISO 320 Rebecca Danzenbaker STILL LIFE WINNER: Erika Skogg, 24, travel photographer, Brooklyn, NY “In the small Taiwanese port town of Nanfang’ao, fisherman arrive hourly, greeted by friends and restaurant owners as they deposit their catch. Passing the pails of fresh fish lining the nearby streets, I wanted to capture the sense of so many eyes staring at me.” www.erikaskogg.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D with 24–105mm f/4L Canon lens; 1/100 sec at f/14, ISO 500. Erika Skogg STILL LIFE RUNNER UP: Lorenzo Cassina, 61, Custom Hardware Designer, Weston, FL “I have a Poinciana Tree in my backyard. After an unprecedented flowering season this past spring, new leaves appeared in a bright green color, contrasting with the older and darker ones. One stormy summer afternoon in July, I was drawn to capture beauty of these new leaves, highlighted by beams of light filtering through the clouds, when I spotted this particular leaf dancing with the breeze. The setting couldn’t be better since she was standing before a deep dark background which made her more noticeable than any other. My greatest challenge was waiting for a break in the wind to capture the shot before the rain started. Without time to go and get my tripod I had to shoot handheld between blows of wind, but after several shots I was very satisfied when this one showed up so gracefully on my screen.” Tech Specs: Nikon D80 with 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6 Nikkor lens; 1/400 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100. Lorenzo Cassina STILL LIFE RUNNER UP: Jeff Stratter, 31, Sound Recorder at Sony Picture Studios, Pasadena, CA “Recently my girlfriend and I moved into a brand new apartment, and I wanted a center piece to provide it with a theme, a photo I could print on Plexiglass and backlight right where you come in the doorway. We both like wine, and I’d had this idea to do a wine splash photo for a long time in my head—this was my excuse to attempt it. I convinced a friend to assist me: it involved making a catch-all for any spilled wine in his place (which took the longest time), a white board to bounce the flash off, a gas siphon from an auto parts store to spill the wine from above, and a fedex tube cut with a hole to diagonally hold the wine glass for that titled look. The picture was a success and is now hanging as planned on my apartment wall. We filmed the process: the video is up on Vimeo.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Canon lens; 1/200 sec at f/8, ISO 100. Jeff Stratter Microsoft Data Center, Chicago STILL LIFE RUNNER UP:Richard Duval, 55, Photo/Marketing Consultant, Bothell, WA “On assignment for Microsoft, I went to photograph the company’s new Chicago-based data center for a media kit. I photographed container bays, piping, and cabling. But I still needed a signature image, and I found this with a shipping container of Microsoft servers—enclosed inside the sealed container the only light was coming from the blue and red LEDs from the 2,000 servers. It was used for the opening, and has also run in various publications including Forbes.com.” www.duvalimages.com Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Nikon D700 with 14–24mm f/2.8G Nikkor lens; 30 sec at f/22, ISO 400. STILL LIFE RUNNER UP: John Eaton, 68, Retired, Aptos, CA “This photo was taken as part of a project to document the plants and flowers I grow in our garden—which is my other major interest, after photography! When I took this photo, it was recently after acquiring my Zeiss 100mm macro lens. I was eager to explore its capabilities, and this cala provided an excellent subject. I photographed it in the garden using a tripod and natural light. It has become a very satisfying project and I have developed a portfolio of images that include not only the cala and other plants from my garden, including: columbine, tulips, ferns, roses, and poppies.” www.johneatonphotography.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 100mm f/2 Zeiss Macro lens; 1/20 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100. John Eaton TRAVEL/PLACES WINNER: Andy Lerner, 55, producer/director, Santa Monica, CA “I researched hotels near the Burj Khalifa tower for a one-night stopover in Dubai, hoping to get a good view. And this is the view I ended up with up on the 45th floor. I awoke just before sunrise and, using a Really Right Stuff Omni Pano system, photographed this scene from out on my balcony. At that hour, the city had an odd quality of light; it reminded me of The Wizard of Oz.” www.andylernerphoto.com Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Nikon D300s with 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6 Nikkor lens; all exposures 1/500 sec at f/7.1, ISO 250. Stitched together in Adobe Photoshop CS3. Andy Lerner TRAVEL/PLACES RUNNER UP: Tim Grimshaw, 32, IT Support Analayst, New York, NY “This photo was taken for my series, ‘Manhattan – A Closer Look’. I managed to get access to one of the large Park Avenue skyscrapers on a rainy Saturday afternoon (the rain wasn’t planned!) and make this shot looking up Park Avenue. I love using the tilt-shift lens because it feels slightly playful and gives you sometimes unexpected shots, and keeps me experimenting.” www.orangeblob.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS-1D Mark III with 45mm f/2.8 TS-E Canon lens; 1/125 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400. Tim Grimshaw TRAVEL/PLACES RUNNER UP: Eric So, 28, Web Producer/Wedding Photographer, San Pedro, CA “Who goes to Seattle for the first time and doesn’t stop by the Space Needle? On my last day of a business trip, I made my way over there to grab the standard touristy shot. Unfortunately for me, the clouds showed up after two days of sunshine and rain started to pour. I was totally unprepared to shoot out in the rain so I rushed right below the Space Needle’s walkway for protection. As I looked up at the Needle through the glass ceiling, I saw the rain create an almost painterly filter effect and knew that I had a cool shot coming. Not only was there a unique perspective of the Needle, but the rain effect told an awesome story about the typical Seattle day.” www.eric-so.com Tech Specs: Canon EOS 40D with 16–35mm f/2.8 Canon lens; 1/500 sec at f/9, ISO 640. Eric So TRAVEL/PLACES RUNNER UP: James Lee, 32, Software Developer, Atlanta, GA “I had planned to take photos of the Milky Way while camping in White Sands National Monument, NM. After setting up my camera one evening, the sun had already set and there was only a sliver of light left, but that residual sunlight painted the clouds brilliantly. I thought it would be perfect if I could capture this and the white sand dune too, but the sand was dark already. So during a 30-sec exposure I turned my LED headlamp on and used it to light-paint the dune. It was exciting to capture the white sands, black silhouetted mountains, red residual sunset and Milky Way, all in one exposure! To top it off, when I reviewed the image later, I saw there was a shooting star. This photo inspires me to push my creativity beyond just clicking the shutter.” Tech Specs: Tripod-mounted Nikon D700 with 35mm f/1.8G Nikkor lens; 30 sec at f/1.8, ISO 1600. James Lee TRAVEL/PLACES: Thomas Masat, 46, Merchandising/Design VP, San Francisco, CA “This was my first time to Kathmandu. Although I have traveled for work through India and Southeast Asia, I have never had a few days on my own with my camera. Every square and corner of Kathmandu and the surrounding towns is filled with color, religion, spectacle, movement, and light. It was overwhelming! I had a wonderful guide, and when I could afford to just wander and “see” I did, photographing and trying to avoid taking typical travel photos. As we passed this Stupa, the guide was telling me about the meaning of each colored prayer flag, and each of the 5 mantras printed on a particular color, and I happened to look up at the Stupa spire. Its white exterior was blinding in the noonday sun, but I realized the flags were acting like color gels in the bright light. The flags were translucent, I imagined, from the wind chanting the mantras, as the tattered cloths fluttered in the wind. To the surprise of my guide, and me, I dropped to the ground to get the right perspective, and took a few snaps.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70–200mm f/2.8 IS Canon lens; 1/3200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100. Thomas Masat TRAVEL/PLACES: Thomas Masat, 46, Merchandising/Design VP, San Francisco, CA “This was my first time to Kathmandu. Although I have traveled for work through India and Southeast Asia, I have never had a few days on my own with my camera. Every square and corner of Kathmandu and the surrounding towns is filled with color, religion, spectacle, movement, and light. It was overwhelming! I had a wonderful guide, and when I could afford to just wander and “see” I did, photographing and trying to avoid taking typical travel photos. As we passed this Stupa, the guide was telling me about the meaning of each colored prayer flag, and each of the 5 mantras printed on a particular color, and I happened to look up at the Stupa spire. Its white exterior was blinding in the noonday sun, but I realized the flags were acting like color gels in the bright light. The flags were translucent, I imagined, from the wind chanting the mantras, as the tattered cloths fluttered in the wind. To the surprise of my guide, and me, I dropped to the ground to get the right perspective, and took a few snaps.” Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70–200mm f/2.8 IS Canon lens; 1/3200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100. Thomas Masat MORE TO READ RELATED Check out these incredible images from the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards These winning images from the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards show birds in all their glory. READ NOW RELATED 10 iconic photographs worthy of your wall right now Bring fine art home with these wall decor... RELATED Stunning photos from the Smithsonian’s 17th annual photo competition revealed Bathing monkeys, squabbling birds, and more.