Assignments: May 2014

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

1) Snow & Ice Assignment Winner
Photographer: Devin Krinke
Equipment: Canon EOS Rebel T2i, Canon EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS II, lens-cleaning kit, snacks

I was at the terminus of the Mendenhall Glacier on August 7, 2013, when I took this photo. Getting to this particular ice cavern required biking and hiking, so I carried very little gear. This photo was, without a doubt, previsualized. I photographed and inspected various parts of the glacier, then stumbled upon a very interesting ice cavern. The cavern was unique in that it was cone-shaped. The bluebird weather (sometimes rare in southeastern Alaska) lit up the cavern beautifully. I acted quickly because I knew I could lose that light, and because the cracking and shifting of the ice had me wondering if I should even be inside the cavern in the first place. I scrambled to the back of the cavern and used a large rock as a tripod, turned on the Live View mode, composed the frame and captured a few images. After reviewing the photos, I knew something was missing from them. That something was a human being, a person to give a sense of scale to the cavern. I set the camera’s 10-second timer and began walking out of the entrance. Two attempts later, I had the image I desired.

Weather was on my mind in January and February of this year. I sent out several Assignments about the cold and the snow and ice, as well as one asking for submissions centered around the color blue. Congratulations to Devin Krinke, Carolyn Derstine, Suzanne Mathia and Hamid Rad for their winning images.
—Christopher Robinson, Editor

2) Winter Macro Assignment Winner
Carolyn Derstine
Equipment: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron SP AF 90mm ƒ/2.8 Di Macro, tripod

This photo was taken in January 2012, along a creek that runs behind our property in Telford, Pennsylvania. As I wandered along the creek, I’d look for interesting designs and compositions in the ice. That day the designs were fantastic, and I didn’t previsualize, just looked for whatever ice treasures I could find. There was no snow on the ice and the ice was clean and clear. My biggest challenge was finding interesting compositions in these designs and staying ahead of some neighborhood kids who were having great fun stomping on and cracking the ice! Very little processing was needed, just the basics. The bluish color is from the shade.

3) Unexpected Weather Assignment Winner
Photographer: Suzanne Mathia
Equipment: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, Canon EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L IS USM

Grand Falls is located 30 miles northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, in the Painted Desert on the Navajo Indian Reservation, often called “Chocolate Falls.” At 185 feet tall, it’s taller than Niagara Falls. It dumps snowmelt or monsoon rain into the Little Colorado River below. It’s famous for its extremely muddy flow, which is a major contributor to the Little Colorado’s opacity. Heavy rains or snowmelt produce spectacular viewing, photography and sound, whereas the scarcity of water produces trickles or no flow at all. There are many photo ops here, from the wide panorama to the up-close intimate patterns of the rocks and the water flow. Knowing the best bets for catching the falls at flood stage are in late spring and during monsoon season (roughly early to mid-July through late August/early September), I checked the water levels at the USGS website. With the water level at or above 11.5 feet, the water cascades over Grand Falls in spectacular fashion.

4) Blue Assignment Winner
Photographer: Hamid Rad
Equipment: Canon EOS 600D, Tokina AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 AT-X, Nauticam underwater housing, Inon Z-240 external strobe

This photo was taken in Baa Atoll, Maldives, in November 2012. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the Maldives for four years. Needless to say, the place is a gold mine of opportunities for underwater photographers. Jetties generally shelter a great variety of marine life and offer unique photo opportunities with great light contrasts, directional lines and perspectives. On this specific day, the water was crystal-clear. I started playing around with sun rays filtering through the jetty’s planks and alongside the boat. The bigeye trevallies were around, but a bit deeper. I started making a clicking sound with my mouth, knowing it would trigger their curiosity, and it worked. I dived down to get a better angle, shooting upward to be able to frame the fish school coming at me, as well as the boat and sun rays fanning out. There’s something mesmerizing and always very graphical about schooling fish, giving a still photograph a sense of movement and sheer wilderness.