Your Best Shot 2010

A collection of the best images submitted by our readers this year.

FEBRUARY 2010: 3rd Place

BOGDAN CHESARU, 31, PHOTOGRAPHER, CONSTANTA, ROMANIA “This image is from my series of macro photographs of light on soap bubbles. To make it, I dipped a wire frame into a soap bubble mixture, and held it above a dark surface. I then positioned a studio light so that its outp¬¬ut reflected across the bubble’s entire surface.” ( Tech specs: Canon EOS 30D with 100mm f/2.8 Canon EF Macro lens. 1/200 sec at f/13, ISO 200.

FEBRUARY 2010: 1st Place

ARNEL GARCIA, 46, PHOTOGRAPHER, SAN DIEGO, CA “When I lived in Manila, I captured this at the annual Black Nazarene procession in the Quiapo district. During the procession, which travels through the narrow streets of downtown Manila, barefoot devotees struggle to touch the rope pulled along through the procession, or the image of Christ itself. If you’re not participating, you can easily get trampled. A friend of a friend let me use the second floor of her store to shoot from—but I wanted a more immersive image. Forsaking safety concerns, I hung from the fire escape with an ultrawide-angle lens, extending my body as far as I could into the crowd.” ( ** Tech specs:** Canon EOS 20D with 17–40mm f/4L Canon EF lens. Exposure, 1/100 sec at f/8, ISO 400. RAW image processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

MARCH 2010: 3rd Place

**Lauren Geldenhuys, 26, Photographer, Cape Town, South Africa ** “One evening on the farm where I worked as a trainer for stage and film animals, I heard our five donkeys playing outside my door. This one, Roley, gave me a quizzical look, to say, ‘Why not join in? We’re having fun!'” ( Tech specs: Canon EOS Rebel XTi with 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 Canon lens; 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200.

MARCH 2010: 2nd Place

Doug Roane, 45, Physician, Billings, MT “I took this at sunrise in a remote area of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park on an Alaska photo backpacking tour. As the sun cleared the clouds over the mountains, I had my moment. To get all this dynamic range, I bracketed and blended six exposures.” ( Tech specs: Tripod-mounted canon EOS 5D Mark II with 16–35mm f/2.8L II canon lens; 1/30–0.7 sec at f/22, ISO 100. Composited in Adobe photoshop CS4.

MARCH 2010: 1st Place

Stefan Edwards, 46, Security Consultant, South Wales, U.K. “I work full-time on a reconstruction project in Iraq, so on my short visits home, I try to fit in a photo class. I shot this in a macro workshop at the instructor’s home, where he had a tabletop studio and animals and insects to photograph. The setups were all very simple, with the choice of two studio strobes, and usually comprised a plain black fabric background, a potted plant, an animal such as a praying mantis or a frog, and a spray bottle of water to try to draw some interest out of the subject by spraying it just before shooting. I used just one strobe for this shot, positioned to the lizard’s left. When the lizard went to lick off the water I’d sprayed, I was lucky enough to capture it.” ( **Tech specs: **Nikon D300 with 105mm f/2.8G Nikkor VR lens. Exposure, 1/200 sec at f/20, ISO 200.

APRIL 2010: 3rd Place

Jack Levy, 58, Account Executive, Weston, FL “One very sunny day, a buddy and I went to Monkey Jungle, a South Miami habitat. Walking in one of the outdoor areas, we noticed this large iguana sitting in a tree, and I started to photograph it from different angles until I found one I liked. I used my Nikon SB-600 Speedlight to keep my subject bright against the background, and opened up to f/2.8 to blur out the tree.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D300 with 70–200mm f/2.8G VR Nikkor lens and SB-600 speedlight. Exposure, 1/2000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 800.

APRIL 2010: 2nd Place

Ben Ryan, 38, Radio Producer, Brisbane, Australia “This was taken at Woody Point on Moreton Bay. I had heard about the wreck, so I went to capture it one morning, when sea mist was rising off the bay. I’d recently read about making landscapes with three main elements, so I positioned the tripod low to put the rock in the foreground. The ship is the second element; for the third, I waited 15 minutes for the right cloud to drift by.” ( Tech specs: Pentax K10D with Sigma 10–20mm f/4–5.6 lens. Exposure, 1/10 sec at f/13, ISO 100. Converted to b&w using channel Mixer in Adobe Photoshop.

APRIL 2010: 1st Place

Greg L. Davis, 38, Photojournalist, Sanford, NC “I’ve been an aviation photojournalist for about 20 years, first for the US Air Force for eight years and now for many aviation magazines. I was the first civilian allowed to fly with a military pilot in this new Navy aircraft, the T-6B trainer. We’d been in the air doing loops and other training events, but I knew my moment had arrived when we were heading towards the training base and the sun was slipping under the horizon. It illuminated the other plane and provided ‘golden hour’ light. I only had about 3 or 4 minutes to shoot the cockpit, using an off-camera flash. But this image will now be a cover shot for two aviation magazines.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D3 with 16mm f/2.8d Fisheye-Nikkor, SB-800 Speedlight flash. Exposure, 1/80 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200.

MAY 2010: 3rd Place

Ilya Malyshev, 29, Financial Consultant, Moscow, Russia “This railroad track is near my home in Moscow, and every time I’ve passed it I’ll look down, wondering how to capture the perfect geometry of its lines. One clear, fall night, around 1 a.m., I decided to give it a try. I went to a pedestrian bridge above the tracks and mounted my Mamiya camera on a tripod. Framing was tricky because I had to shoot through a fence, but I managed.” ( Tech Specs: Mamiya C330 with 80mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure, 30 sec at f/8 on Kodak T-Max 100.

MAY 2010: 2nd Place

Gempa Tri Muryono, 25, Student, Melbourne, Australia “I’m from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and while home on holiday I went to the local carnival for Sekaten, an annual festival. I wanted to accentuate the light and the colors, so I positioned myself under this air balloon ride and panned with the motion, using my SB-900 flash to keep the ‘7’ bright. It took many tries, but fortunately the operator didn’t charge much to keep running the ride!” Tech Specs: Nikon D700 with 14–24mm f/2.8 Nikkor AF-S lens; 1/2 sec at f/10, ISO 800. Minor adjustments, Adobe Photoshop CS4.

MAY 2010: 1st Place

Prize Phillip Wise, 30, Wedding Photographer, Bend, OR “This shot was taken a few blocks from downtown Cannon Beach, OR. My wife and I go every year for about a week. This year we were staying on a part of the beach that was new to me, and I went out to watch the sunset, bringing my camera with me. It was a very windy and rainy night. There were an unusual number of birds around that week—mostly pelicans, but some seagulls, and they were all gathered on the beach. Just as the sun was setting, the clouds opened up, and I don’t know why, but the birds all took off at once. I crouched down to capture it, setting my camera to Matrix metering and underexposing a bit. Fortunately, the weather had kept everyone away, so I had a clear view. It was amazing to see.” ( Tech Specs: Nikon D700 with 17–35mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens. Exposure, 1/320 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100. Minor adjustments in adobe Camera raw and Photoshop.

JUNE 2010: 3rd Place

DEBBY BARICH, 51, POSTAL CARRIER, EUGENE, OR “I’ve been photographing Oregon’s spring flowers for years—and my picture of peonies was a 1st-place Your Best Shot winner in June 2009. These are calla lilies, which I noticed one day on my postal route and returned later with my husband to photograph. We held an off-camera flash in a 16-inch softbox, and used a cardboard reflector for fill light.” ( Tech specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 105mm f/2.8 Sigma lens and Sunpak 622 Super Pro flash. Exposure, 1/160 sec at f/22, ISO 100.

JUNE 2010: 2nd Place

ALLISON FELT, 17, STUDENT, MENLO PARK, CA “When one day I was taking portraits of a friend in her backyard, I suddenly noticed the way the sun shone through her eyes and illuminated her eyelashes. I’m interested in close-up photography and had extension tubes, so I decided to try to capture a profile view of that magical quality of light. A large aperture gave me shallow depth of field and created the fuzzy background bokeh.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D80 with 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens and Kenko extension tubes; 1/125 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100.

JUNE 2010: 1st Place

BYRON YU, 33, PRODUCT MANAGER, TORONTO, ON “I’ve been through Chicago’s O’Hare airport many times, and I’ve always been amazed by this tunnel. On my recent stopover from Las Vegas with my fiancée, I made sure that I was prepared to photograph it—we had only 30 minutes between flights. In the corridor, I put my camera on my little tripod as I stepped onto the walkway, set it for a 10-second exposure, and shot it in one go.” ( Tech specs: Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 5D and 21mm f/4 Super-Angulon Leica lens with adapter; 10 sec at f/4, ISO 100. Minor adjustments in Adobe Photoshop.

JULY 2010: 3rd Place

PETER KOECK, 72, TEACHER, FALKÖPING, SWEDEN “In my small town in southern Sweden, there are always a lot of snails in wet weather, and I’ve photographed them hundreds of times over the years. Last July, I was out with my camera after the rain, and this tiny, lonely snail on my cottage door caught my interest. I liked the way its red contrasted with the blue door. Fortunately I had plenty of time to compose—snails don’t move very fast.” ** Tech specs:** Canon PowerShot A720 IS; 1/50 sec at f/8, ISO 80.

JULY 2010: 2nd Place

JORDAN EDGCOMB, 24, STUDENT, LARAMIE, WY “Last March I was in Tanzania, visiting friends who were doing volunteer work, and we went on a three-day safari in the Serengeti National Park. At one point, we passed a group of elephants and stopped to watch. These two just started nuzzling up to each other—I knew it would make a great shot.” ( Tech specs: Canon EOS-1D Mark II N with 500mm f/4L Canon EF IS lens; 1/320 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400. RAW image processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4.

JULY 2010: 1st Place

TANAWAT LIKITKERERAT, 42, PH.D. CANDIDATE, BALTIMORE, MD “At the end of a 14-day diving trip in July 2004, I did a night dive in the Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi, Indonesia. I’d seen pictures of stargazer fish before, and though I knew they aren’t hard to find in the area, I didn’t run across one until this night. My dive buddy spotted him first, and then it was my turn to shoot. This ugly guy was buried in black sand, waiting for prey, when I aligned myself on my knees just in front of him. It was hard to expose because it was so dark, but I had two strobe lights set to TTL and also had a small diving flashlight attached to my underwater housing. Shooting film, I only had 36 shots to a dive. I bracketed and left the rest to luck.” (foto Tech specs: Nikon N90S in Nexus Underwater Housing with two Sea & Sea YS-90 strobes. Exposure, 1/125 sec at f/8, on Fujichrome Provia 100. Scanned and edited in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

AUGUST 2010: 3rd Place

JESSICA MIKULIAK, 36, NURSE, WASHINGTON D.C. “One much-needed day off, I spent wandering around the National Gallery of Art. In the underground passage between the buildings, there’s a moving walkway, and the patterned lights caught my eye. I held my iPhone up to the tunnel wall edge and snapped a few pictures. Later, I really liked this one, and so I cropped it in Picasa and uploaded it to Facebook. My dad, a pro photographer, saw the photo and suggested that I enter it into the Popular Photography contest. It was quite a compliment—I’ve spent my life around art, but usually I’m not the artist.” Tech Specs: Apple iPhone, cropped and enhanced in Picasa.

AUGUST 2010: 2nd Place

ATANU PAUL, 47, PHOTOGRAPHER, KOLKATA, WEST BENGAL, INDIA “I took this photo while traveling through a village near Bishnupur, in the Bankura District of West Bengal, India. I was standing on the roadside, absorbed by all the green, when this girl appeared, picking her way through the field. I did not have time to plan, just to compose.” Tech specs: Nikon D40x with 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 Nikkor lens. Exposure, 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200.

AUGUST 2010: 1st Place

KYLE JERICHOW, 25, CAPTAIN, U.S. ARMY, FAYETTEVILLE, NC “On mid-tour leave from Iraq, I took my now-wife on a safari in Tanzania. This was one of the last photographs I took on the trip, as we were leaving the Ngorongoro Crater to head back to our hotel. Joe McNally once wrote, ‘Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left a location.’ I’m thankful I didn’t pack up. The minute we stopped to look back, the view of the crater was breathtaking, and that’s when I stood up out of the truck and captured this.” ( Tech specs: Canon EOS 5D with 24–70mm f/2.8L lens. Exposure, 1/8000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.

SEPTEMBER 2010: 3rd Place

ALEXANDER PETKOV, 41, AIRPORT EMPLOYEE, CHICAGO, IL “Walking by the lake in a park near home, I was drawn to the contrast between the cloudy gray sky reflected in the water and the bright green shrubs around it. Later when I checked the shot on my computer I noticed the trees in the reflection, and to create a subtle horizon I flipped the image upside-down.” ( Tech specs: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3; 1/320 sec at f/4, ISO 80. Adjustments in Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.

SEPTEMBER 2010: 2nd Place

BEN HATTENBACH, 40, LAWYER, LOS ANGELES, CA “As a part-time wilderness photographer, I spent two weeks in Alaska last winter focusing on arctic landscapes. My wife was too sensible to join me, so it was just me, my rental car, and a frozen bunch of bananas. This shot of the aurora borealis was taken just south of the Brooks Range, about 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It was about –35° F, not counting windchill—it was so cold that I was only getting 25 shots out of each battery. I almost froze to death, but it was worth it.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D700 with 14–24mm f/2.8G Nikkor lens. Exposure, 20 sec at f/2.8, ISO 800. Converted from RAW in Nikon Capture NX2.

SEPTEMBER 2010: 1st Place

BRETT COHEN, 42, NETWORK ENGINEER, PHILADELPHIA, PA “Italy had always been on my short list of places that I wanted to photograph, and I had the chance to visit Tuscany this past May with a friend. We were driving through some back roads in San Quirico d’Orcia when I spotted this hill—I really liked the way that the trees were lined up in a row. I was able to find a hill across that put me nice and eye-level.” ( Tech specs: Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 70–200mm f/4L EF IS Canon lens. Exposure, 1/2 sec at f/16, ISO 100. Converted from RAW in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

OCTOBER 2010: 3rd Place

Samm Belaguin, 40, Architect, Legazpi City, Philippines “I had just bought my first DSLR. On a flight to Cebu City, I was reading the manual and learning how to use it. My view of Mayon Volcano was obstructed by the aircraft, so I shot that instead.” Tech Specs: Nikon D5000 with 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 Nikkor lens; 1/500 sec at f/11, ISO 200. Minor edits in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

OCTOBER 2010: 2nd Place

**Erich Chen, 25, Photographer, Los Angeles California ** “I had only minutes before my friend’s children got antsy lying together in a crib. Their mom was making them laugh—it was all timing.” ( Tech Specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 50mm f/1.4 Canon lens; 1/125 sec at f/2.8, ISO 500. Converted to b&w in Photoshop CS3.

OCTOBER 2010: 1st Place

Ted Nguy, 47, Computer Engineer, Spring TX “This summer, our family visited my two brothers in Calgary and Edmonton, Canada, and also Banff and Jasper National Parks. Nine days out of the 10-day trip it was cloudy and drizzly, but the last day was wonderfully clear with blue skies. Having visited Lake Louise and Lake Moraine, I did not expect to find something as beautiful as this simple lake we passed on our way to the airport. I couldn’t resist stopping one last time to try to capture the calm, peaceful look of the Canadian scenery.” Tech Specs: Nikon D700 with 16–35mm f/4 Nikkor VR lens; 1/400 sec at f/11, ISO 200. Converted from RAW in Nikon Capture NX2

NOVEMBER 2010: 3rd Place

JANUSZ CEDROWICZ, 44, TECHNICIAN, CHORZOW, POLAND “I like to show small creatures from a human point of view, like this snail, which I discovered sitting on a flower in my garden one day. People think of snails as really slow, but by the time I set up my camera, it had already devoured an entire petal.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D700 with 60mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor. Exposure, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 400. Minor adjustments in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

NOVEMBER 2010: 2nd Place

ELISABETH POLLAERT, 46, PHOTOGRAPHER, LARCHMONT, NY “On a photo tour in Skoura, Morocco, I was playing hooky from our sunrise shoot and exploring our hotel in a restored kasbah. I captured this tableau by standing on a sofa. It’s been compared to a Dutch still life—my Dutch family would be proud.” ( Tech specs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24–105mm f/4L Canon lens; 1/125 sec at f/4, ISO 5000. Minor edits in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

NOVEMBER 2010: 1st Place

MAT HAYWARD, 38, MANAGER/PHOTOGRAPHER, SEATTLE, WA “The Seattle Seahawks were playing the Green Bay Packers at Seattle’s Qwest Field, and I was shooting from the sidelines behind the end zone, which is the biggest photo rush ever. I’d been shooting the game with a zoom lens, but I was anticipating a touchdown by the Seahawks, so I switched to my fisheye for a ground-level perspective. The touchdown happened as planned, and I was ready for the referee to signal the point as the Seahawks flags went up on either side of the field.” ([www.mathayward](http://www.mathayward Tech specs: Canon EOS-1D Mark III with 15mm f/2.8 Canon lens; 1/3200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 2000. Adjustments made in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

DECEMBER 2010: 3rd Place

NICKY BAY, 32, GAME STUDIO MANAGER, SINGAPORE “Another photographer told me about this shield-backed bug, protecting her eggs in a mangrove park. When I found them, they’d just hatched. I touched the leaf, and a few babies scampered away, then slowly moved back as if they’d gone to play and Mom was calling them home.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D80 with 180mm f/3.5 Tamron Macro lens; 1/100 sec at f/20, ISO 320. Minor adjustments in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

DECEMBER 2010: 2nd Place

MARK ROSENBAUM, 52, MARKETING DIRECTOR, GLEN ELLYN, IL “At Brookfield Zoo, where I drag my daughters about 25 times a year, they house the giraffes inside during winter—you can get close enough to almost pet them. I was photographing this calf when its mother came to nuzzle up against it. This photo was later published in the zoo magazine.” ( ** Tech specs:** Nikon D80 with 24–120mm f/3.5–5.6 Nikkor lens; 1/120 sec at f/8, ISO 800. Converted to b&w in iPhoto.

DECEMBER 2010: 2nd Place

JIM PATTERSON, 36, SALES MANAGER, SANTA CRUZ, CA “This image was taken in Monterey Bay near Carmel, CA, in the kelp forests bordering Point Lobos State Reserve. I’d heard reports of sea nettles down there, so one day I took my kayak out and anchored it to some kelp to dive. For the first 30 minutes, I barely saw any jellies—and then more and more arrived. I began shooting, using two Sea & Sea strobes for fill light. Soon, I was completely surrounded by jellies, but my fisheye lens let me find and close in on this individual.” ( Tech specs: Nikon D300 with 10–17mm f/3.5–4.5 Tokina fisheye lens, in Aquatica housing; 1/160 sec at f/6.3, ISO 200. Adjustments in Adobe Photoshop CS3.