Assignments: December 2012

The Best Of The Assignments Submissions From
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Photographer: Tien-Chien Chen
Location: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Situation: I’ve always wanted to visit Bryce Canyon during winter when the snow complements the red canyon, adding many more layers like icing on a cake. During a November trip, the region was hit hard by a storm. I spent a day scouting in the blizzard and returned to the rim the next morning. The sun finally broke through the passing storm, and the entire amphitheater was flooded with heartwarming light. While hoping to capture the ambiance, it’s really a sight that no image can do justice.

THE WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS AT OUTDOORPHOTOGRAPHER.COM give you a chance to submit work to the magazine and to your fellow nature photographers. I spend some time every day looking through the galleries for photos to publish in this section of OP, and I also look at Assignments to choose the daily Photo Of The Day. While the image has to stand alone, I find that I particularly enjoy submissions where the photographer has told some of the story of how the photo came to be. Some photographs are fully previsualized while others prove that luck is what happens when opportunity and preparation intersect.

We’ve made a number of improvements to the galleries throughout the OP website. Go to the Assignments section of to browse the submissions and submit your photos to the current Assignment. By submitting, you’re automatically in the running to be chosen for Photo Of The Day and for the Assignments section in the printed magazine.

—Christopher Robinson, Editor

Photographer: Joseph Thomas
Location: Mount Goliath, Colorado
Situation: The rising moon assisted by the lights of Colorado’s distant Front Range cities illuminate the remnants of an ancient bristlecone pine tree. Mount Goliath is home to one of two bristlecone forests found in the state. I photographed this well-hidden tree a few years earlier and came back this night to get a star shot. Arriving late with a vague recollection of its exact location, I wandered around the mountainside in the darkness for about an hour before finally relocating my old acquaintance. Focusing was somewhat tricky in this low-light situation. I had to use Live View, shine my headlamp on the tree and focus manually. My goal was to juxtapose the twisted limbs, which were gradually sculpted by winds over countless centuries, against ephemeral clouds that were shaped by the same force in mere seconds. All this plays out before the seemingly unchanging cosmos, giving a sense of time moving on many scales.

Photographer: Craig Bill
Location: Lake Tahoe, California
Situation: I had just driven completely around Lake Tahoe. When I started, it was snowing on the other side, but by the time I reached this sunset spot, the snow had melted and the clouds were breaking up. I wanted to use a slow shutter speed to get the water to look silky and mysterious, but I also wanted to get the breaking clouds ablaze in the recently departed sun. The problem was, the sky was too bright, even with graduated filters, to get the water to look the way I wanted. I photographed the sky detail first and then waited for more than an hour to get low enough light to shoot at slow shutter speed exposures. I fused both together to reveal this dynamic scene.