Assignments: January/February 2013

The Best Of The Assignments Submissions From
This Article Features Photo Zoom

Photographer: Marcus McAdam
Location: Blaven (Blà Bheinn), Isle of Skye, Scotland
Situation: The summit requires a five-hour climb over fairly difficult terrain (there are no paths), but deep snowdrifts added complications, and it took me almost seven hours. I sat at the top in a thick cloud, unable to see anything, and was starting to wonder if I had wasted my time. Just as I was about to give up, the cloud lifted and the sun lit up the valley below. I quickly took the shot, but when reviewing it on the screen, I realized the image needed a strong focal point to polish it off and thought a climber surveying the world beneath him would do the trick. Having not seen anyone all day and knowing the light wasn’t going to last, I had to act fast. I set the self-timer on the camera and attempted to get into position before the 10 seconds elapsed. To get from the camera to where I needed to be wasn’t straightforward, as I couldn’t traverse any of the area in frame or I would have disturbed the snow. I got nowhere near on the first attempt, but continued trying—each time getting slightly closer. Finally, I managed to crouch down into position just as the shutter went off. See more of McAdam’s work at

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 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.

In this issue, I’ve pulled a selection of wintry photographs. Getting out into the cold and hiking for images takes dedication, but it’s worth it. Snow and ice transform a scene. Familiar elements take on a surreal look. Moving water is halted, jagged rocks are softened into snowy pillows, and once leafy trees become bare sticks. It’s a time of quiet and solitude, and I find that the process of nature photography slows down, allowing for contemplation and reflection.
—Christopher Robinson, Editor

Photographer: Carolyn Derstine
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Situation: We live along a creek, and when it freezes, I enjoy wandering along the banks looking for interesting designs in the ice to photograph. My white balance was set to Daylight, but the ice was in the shade. The resulting blue color is natural and I thought worked well to show the “coldness” of this scene. On that particular outing, the ice designs were just fantastic, and I got many wonderful images. Other than getting quite cold (but not realizing it because I was “in the zone”), I had a wonderful photo shoot on that very cold winter day!

Photographer: Michael Warwick
Location: Yosemite National Park, California
Situation: I read the weather report and learned of the possibility of a rare winter-like storm passing through Yosemite in May. I took the chance and opportunity that a unique weather situation might occur and planned my photo locations accordingly. The evening snow made Yosemite on a spring morning look like a winter wonderland, only with the waterfalls near peak flow.