Welcome to the first Friday of February and our fifth Photos of the Day gallery of 2022. We’ve got another hand-picked selection of awe-inspiring work, shot by you, our gifted readers. This week’s selection includes a tender moment at the farm show, a dreamy oceanscape, a powerful pet portrait, a unique photographic technique for capturing birds in flight, and more.

But first, do you think you’ve got what it takes to have your photos featured in a future Photos of the Day gallery? If so, there are three ways to enter: Upload your shots to our official Pop Photo of the Day Flickr group, post them to Instagram using hashtag #PopPhotoOfTheDay, or post them to Twitter using #PopPhotoOfTheDay. For more details, head here.

And with that, it’s time to dive into the photography!

Lead image by Aaron Smith. See more of Aaron’s work here.

Sharing a tender moment

A photo by Jennifer MacNeill
See more of Jennifer’s work here. Jennifer MacNeill

I love this candid photograph by Jennifer MacNeill of what appears to be a father and son enjoying a tender moment at a farm show. Her use of a shallow depth of field draws my eye right to the boy’s joyous face, which is displaying the most genuine of smiles. She absolutely nailed the focus and the moment. And the composition is both simple and effective. The color palette is also lovely—the red railing in the foreground really makes their matching blue plaid shirts pop!

Long live the King

A portrait of the cat, King, by Flickr user Bud.
Check out more of Bud’s work here. Bud

With a name like “King,” no wonder they lived to be nearly 20-years-old. Unfortunately, King is no longer with us, but their memory lives on within this striking B&W portrait. Flickr user, Bud made the photo using a Pentax K-5 and a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens stopped down slightly to f/3.5. And it really is a powerful image, from the piercing eyes to the slightly disheveled fur, King has an attitude and confidence that can only come from a life well-lived. The monochrome also works beautifully here, just look at those highlights on the whiskers and ear hairs. It’s also mindfully composed, I like the negative space along the left and top—in short, it’s a pet portrait fit for a king.

Misty lighthouse

A misty ocean scene by Eduard Gorobets.
See more of Eduard’s work here. Eduard Gorobets

Is there anything more soothing than a photograph of the ocean, especially one with a lighthouse in it? Eduard Gorobets most likely made the above image using a tripod-mounted camera and a reasonably long exposure. Dragging one’s shutter in a scene with moving water leads to a smoothing effect, as seen in the shot above—and the longer you leave the shutter open, the smoother the water will appear. Beyond the peacefulness of the sea, the tones in this image are also absolutely stunning, from the orange glow of the lighthouse light to the faint purples and blues of the rocks to the pastels in the distant sky. This is one awesome shot.

Vatican tunnel vision

A photo from inside the Vatican Museum by Philip Wood
See more of Philip’s work here. Philip Wood Photography

There is a ridiculous amount of fine details in this architectural interior, captured by Philip Wood at the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy. Seriously, open it in a new page and have a look around, it’s really cool. And though Philip didn’t paint the gorgeous frescos decorating the walls and ceiling, he did do a fabulous job finding, framing, exposing, and editing this image. It’s a seriously great composition. Thanks, Philip, now I have a new place to add to my museum bucket list!

Bird’s-eye zoom

A zooming photo of a bird by Imagecaptor.
See more of Imagecaptor’s work here. Imagecaptor

I picked this photo, by Flickr-user Imagecaptor, because it successfully uses a technique you don’t often see applied to bird photography. That technique is zooming in or out while snapping the frame—in this case, it appears the shot was zoomed in. If done correctly, the resulting image will have a tunnel vision effect, making anything central in the frame look even more dramatic. And unlike panning, you don’t necessarily need to use a slow shutter speed when using the zooming technique—Imagecaptor captured this one at 1/1000 sec.

Roanoke nights

A nighttime cityscape by John Ernst.
See more of John’s work here. John Ernst

We’ll close out this week’s readers’ gallery with a highly-detail nighttime cityscape because, well, I love cityscapes. This one was captured by John Ernst, looking out at Roanoke, Virginia. John used an 8-second exposure to achieve the light trails in the shot, but managed to keep the ISO at its base of 50, which is why there’s so much fine detail (and lack of grain)! I don’t know if this was captured from atop a building or some other structure, but the perspective from above is also really cool. And I love those mountains off in the distance, well beyond the city limits. Nice work, John.