Category Archives: Take 5

© Glenn Rifkin

Take 5: People in Silhouette

Silhouettes are a fun technique to play with in your photography. They convey mood and emotion in a unique, dramatic way and because the lack of detail leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination, silhouettes tend make it easier to picture yourself in the scene and feel like you’re really there. The key is lighting: the subject needs to be backlit (placed between the light source and the camera) so that the background remains well-lit while the subject is underexposed and very dark, if not entirely black.

Here are five beautiful photos featuring human silhouettes in nature, all submitted to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Feel free to use them as inspiration the next time you have your camera out and want to give silhouettes at try! The 2018 photo contest is closed but we’ll be revealing the winners soon so stay tuned!

© Glenn Rifkin

© Glenn Rifkin

© Andrew Dai

© Andrew Dai

© Rosemary Sampson

© Rosemary Sampson

© Jack Leigh

© Jack Leigh

© Melissa Asher

© Melissa Asher

Canada Goose © Davey Walters

Take 5: Comin’ In Hot!

Clear the decks, because these five birds are coming in for a landing, and they are comin’ in hot! These photos were all submitted to past years of our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2018 contest is closed, but the judges are hard at work picking the winners, so in the meantime please enjoy these five fantastic action shots and go capture some new images for next year’s photo contest!

Osprey © Dennis Durette

Osprey © Dennis Durette

Wood Duck © Paul McCarthy

Wood Duck © Paul McCarthy

Canada Goose © Davey Walters

Canada Goose © Davey Walters

Greater Yellowlegs © Rachel Bellenoit

Greater Yellowlegs © Rachel Bellenoit

Canada Goose © Marco Jona

Canada Goose © Marco Jona

"Onion Bagel Pholiota", Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures

Take 5: Fantastic Fungi

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have noticed it’s been a banner year for mushrooms (although, “under a rock” might not be the worst place to find evidence of fungi). The classic “stem-and-cap” mushroom is typically the first thing that comes to mind when most folks think of a fungus, but estimates indicate there may be more than 2-3 million species of fungi worldwide, outnumbering plants by 10-to-1!

Biologists initially thought fungi were a part of the Plant kingdom since they have a similar lifestyle: largely immobile, often grow in soil, and produce “fruit” or fruiting bodies. However, Fungi received their own kingdom distinction in 1969 and it is now believed that fungi are actually more closely related to animals than plants—they are both “heterotrophic,” meaning they can’t produce their own food like plants, which photosynthesize. In short, both fungi and animals eat other things to get their energy, using digestive enzymes.

So the next time you’re in the produce section at the grocery store and reach for a package of mushrooms, remember that you may be more closely related to those baby bellas than the avocados across the aisle!

Here are five fantastic fungi you can enjoy thanks to submissions to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Visit our website to see and download a handy Fungi By the Numbers guide and keep an eye out for fungi on your next nature walk.

"Bear Tooth", Hericium americanum © John Zywar

“Bear Tooth”, Hericium americanum © John Zywar

"Fly Amanita", Amanita muscaria © Bruce Gilman

“Fly Amanita”, Amanita muscaria © Bruce Gilman

"Onion Bagel Pholiota", Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures

“Onion Bagel Pholiota”, Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures

"Turkey Tail", Trametes versicolor © Kathryn Dannay

“Turkey Tail”, Trametes versicolor © Kathryn Dannay

"Yellow Morel", Morchella esculentoides © Brigitte Flick

“Yellow Morel”, Morchella esculentoides © Brigitte Flick

 

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

Take 5: Migrating Waterfowl

Fall is a great time to see a variety of waterfowl as they pass through Massachusetts on their way to their wintering grounds. Brant, Surf and White-winged Scoters, and Red-breasted Mergansers are best viewed along the sea coast, while Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Ducks are more likely to be found in marshes or on open bodies of freshwater anywhere in the state.

To see waterfowl to best advantage, join an expert naturalist during a guided fall waterfowl program at one of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries. Or simply enjoy these five spectacular images of migrants you might be lucky enough to spot yourself, all previously submitted to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Female Red-breasted Merganser © Nicholas Corvinus

Female Red-breasted Merganser © Nicholas Corvinus

Northern Pintails at Joppa Flats © Ken DiBiccari

Northern Pintails at Joppa Flats © Ken DiBiccari

Buffleheads © Myer Bornstein

Buffleheads © Myer Bornstein

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega (also pictured: Mallard ducks)

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

© Ken Conway

Take 5: Fall Color

All across Massachusetts, the landscape is lighting up with the brilliant colors of fall foliage. Accordingly, we are sharing five photos of stunning autumnal color from past entries to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2018 photo contest is now closed, but stay tuned for updates as we sort through the thousands of entries to find the next batch of big winners!

To help you get even more in the seasonal spirit, check out our guide to the Top 10 Fall Foliage Hikes at Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, get tips for taking great fall foliage shots from some of our top photography program leaders, and find a list of their upcoming fall foliage photography workshops in our program catalog.

Happy leaf-peeping!

© Ken Conway

© Ken Conway

© David Ennis

© David Ennis

© Eric Luth

© Eric Luth

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary © Christine Lockhead

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary © Christine Lockhead

© Michael Rossacci

© Michael Rossacci

Goldenrod © Katharine Randel

Take 5: Glorious Goldenrod

Ah…ah…AH…CHOO! Feeling a bit sneezy these days? Well, we’re here to clear the air—goldenrod is not to blame for your seasonal allergy woes. This bright, ubiquitous, late-flowering plant has been framed by the real culprit, ragweed, which blooms around the same time and often nearby. Ragweed’s light, dusty pollen is easily carried on the wind to hay-feverish noses but goldenrod’s pollen is much too heavy, making the latter all the more appealing for pollinators!

There are at least 15 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars that feed on the leaves and stems of goldenrods and the many species of insects that can be found on goldenrods, pollinating the flowers or feeding on their leaves and nectar, are far too numerous to count! Research from Cornell University suggests that Monarch butterflies actually face their greatest food shortage in the fall as they are migrating south, usually along the coast; so while milkweed is the primary food source for Monarch caterpillars, the adult butterflies rely on nectar from wildflowers such as goldenrod to fuel them on their long journey.

So before you go pulling goldenrods out of your yard or garden as a nuisance weed, give them a second chance. You might just be reward by a visit from some hungry butterflies. Here are five beautiful photos of goldenrod from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest entries. The 2018 contest is now closed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some gorgeous photography year-round!

Read and print out our By the Numbers: Goldenrod and learn how to plant a native pollinator garden in your backyard on our website.

Tri-colored Bumblebee on Goldenrod © Ellen Pierce

Tri-colored Bumblebee on Goldenrod © Ellen Pierce

Orange Sulphur on Goldenrod © Richard Welch

Orange Sulphur on Goldenrod © Richard Welch

Monarch Butterfly and Goldenrod © Kim Caruso

Monarch Butterfly and Goldenrod © Kim Caruso

Monarch Butterfly on Goldenrod © Karen Lund

Monarch Butterfly on Goldenrod © Karen Lund

Goldenrod © Katharine Randel

Goldenrod © Katharine Randel

2012 Grand Prize Winner © Ken Lee

Take 5: Past Photo Contest Winners

FINAL CALL: September 30 is the last day to submit your nature and wildlife photography to the 2018 Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The contest is open to photographers of all skill levels and ages. One grand prize winner will be awarded a $250 gift card, in addition to being featured in Mass Audubon’s member newsletter, Explore. Eleven winners will win a $100 gift card to redeem at a Mass Audubon shop or wildlife sanctuary. At least 6 honorable mentions will win a $50 gift card to redeem at a Mass Audubon shop or a wildlife sanctuary. Additional honorable mentions may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.

We have had so many incredible photographs submitted over the last few years, it seems like a good chance to look back at some of the category and Grand Prize winners from past years of the contest. Enjoy these five gorgeous images and submit your photos today!

2012 Grand Prize Winner © Ken Lee

Sandhill Crane; 2012 Grand Prize Winner © Ken Lee

2014 Other Wildlife, 18+ Winner © Sarah Keates

Robber Fly; 2014 Other Wildlife, 18+ Winner © Sarah Keates

2013 Plants & Fungi, 18+ Winner © Greg Allison

2013 Plants & Fungi, 18+ Winner © Greg Allison

2014 Grand Prize Winner © Arindam Ghosh

Mallard; 2014 Grand Prize Winner © Arindam Ghosh

2015 Birds, Under 18 Winner © Joel Eckerson

Prairie Warbler; 2015 Birds, Under 18 Winner © Joel Eckerson

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Sean Horton

Take 5: Monarch Caterpillars

As summer draws to a close and the days get shorter, the season’s last generation of Monarch caterpillars are busily munching away at their favorite food: milkweed. This final calorie-binge will sustain them as they “pupate,” ensconcing themselves in a chrysalis to spend 8–14 days metamorphosing into their adult butterfly form. The adult butterflies that hatch this month will fly south to Mexico for the winter where the weather is nice and warm.

Monarch butterflies are a beautiful and easily recognizable member of our ecological community here in Massachusetts, but since the larval caterpillars are working so hard, we thought it would be nice to celebrate them with five photos from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

You can look for chrysalides in various stages of metamorphosis on the undersides of milkweed leaves over the next few weeks, but be careful! It’s best to leave the pupa to its work without disturbing it. Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in South Dartmouth and Westport leads Monarch Butterfly Tagging programs, so stop by if you’re in the area and want to learn more about these amazing insects.

The 2018 photo contest is closing soon! Submit your nature and wildlife photography by September 30 to be considered for one of several prizes.

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Emily Curewitz

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Emily Curewitz

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Ken Conway

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Ken Conway

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © John Linn

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © John Linn

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Keegan Burke

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Keegan Burke

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Sean Horton

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar © Sean Horton

Take 5: August Facebook Favorites

Over the course of the 2018 Photo Contest, we will be highlighting 5 photos from the previous month’s entries on Facebook and asking fans to select their favorite. This is just a fun way of sharing some of the amazing entries and doesn’t have to do with the official judging process.

You can pick your favorite by “liking” it on Facebook. Not a Facebook user? Let us know your top pick in the comments. And, there’s still time to enter the contest—the deadline is September 30!

© Kim Caruso

© Donna Berthelette

© Kim Nagy

© Robert Mahaney

© Martin Kahn

Take 5: Nature Kids

Here at Mass Audubon, we’re all about growing, nurturing, and inspiring nature heroes at every age but we think kids are particularly inspiring. Their unencumbered curiosity for everything they find, their joyful exuberance for exploring the outdoors, and—perhaps most importantly—their innate gift for imagining an ideal world unencumbered by cynicism or limitations make them uniquely qualified to be nature heroes, leading the charge and inspiring us all to make a lasting, positive impact on the natural world.

To celebrate our smallest-but-mightiest nature heroes, here are five photos of kids doing what they do best: reveling in the wonder and beauty of nature. We have an entire category dedicated to People in Nature in our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The deadline for this year’s contest is September 30, so don’t delay—submit your beautiful nature photography today!

© Debra Bolduc

© Debra Bolduc

© Lisa Roberts

© Lisa Roberts

© Carolynne Bailey

© Carolynne Bailey

© Mark Lotterhand

© Mark Lotterhand

© Lorraine Jackson

© Lorraine Jackson