Just like last year, it’s week 19 and it’s Mother’s Day in quite a few spots around the world. Again, I see no better theme than MOTHER NATURE for our Week 19 Challenge. I figured we’d stick with tradition and make it an open theme in order to give each an every 2015 PhotoChallenge participant a chance to portray MOTHER NATURE their way. No matter if you live in a city or the backwoods, Mother Nature impacts all of our daily lives.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Rosaceae, Potentilla visianii

The first thing that may come to mind are flowers for Mother’s Day! Although many of the May flowers offered for mother’s day aren’t wild flowers, try and focus on something from Mother Nature. Like this alpine flower,  Rosaceae (Potentilla visianii), a gift from nature found in the eastern Alps. Flowers can be photographed with a variety of lenses using a variety of techniques. Although I chose a 300mm lens, a macro lens or even a small zoom (I.E. 18-55mm) would have produced great images of this flower.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Swiss Mushrooms / Champignons Suisse

It’s not just the pretty flowers that are growing. In more humid wooded areas, mushrooms are sporing. Fungus of all kinds can make for interesting photo subjects. These furry looking mushrooms from Switzerland were hidden at the base of a dead tree. A rodent eating the mushroom caught my attention as it scurried away. For most mushrooms you’ll need to get low to the ground. In this case I used a 200mm macro lens. I used my tripod all the way low to the ground. The tripod and a remote release were necessary due to the low light conditions. I also used a small reflector to unblock some shadows.

Steve Troletti Photography: Insects / Insectes / Insecta &emdash; Gerridae / gerrid�s

This water strider (Gerridae) is a good example of some of the first insects we can find in ponds, lakes and wetlands. They don’t stay still for very long, making them a true challenge to photograph! You’ll be amazed at how much detail there are on some insects as you get close and personal. For this image I simply laid down on a small deck overhanging a pond in Northern Quebec (Eastern Canada). There were plenty of insects, spiders and amphibians to photograph. I hand help my camera and waited for interesting subjects to show up. I also used a polarized filter to reduce certain reflections. Circular polarizing filter is a very handy tool when photographing over water.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Cooper's Hawk Mating / Accouplement d'Éperviers de Cooper

This time of year is also the mating season for many species. Keep your eyes open as insects, amphibians, mammals and birds, like these Cooper’s Hawks, are likely to be mating. In most cases You’ll have to be patient or lucky. Observing wildlife in a calm manner will give you great insight on what’s going on around you. Standing still in a specific area for an extended period of time can reveal a great deal of action you would have just missed if you were simply to walk by.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Fox and Squirrel... / Le renard et l'écureuil ...

Be aware of your surroundings at all times and have your camera ready for action. Mother Nature can without any warning present you with the best photo opportunities. As beautiful as Mother Nature may be, it sometimes can present itself in cruel and unusual ways.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Hunt! / La Chasse!

Predator and prey scenarios come in all shapes and sizes. They are as likely to occur in or on water, land or the sky above you. The good news is this squirrel made it through without a scratch, just a few rattled nerves…

La femelle cardinale rouge déjà au nid - Parc-nature de l'Ile-de-la-Visitation

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Please be extremely considerate of nesting birds and their nests keeping a good distance away, not to overly stress the bird. The birds choose their nesting area carefully. Breaking and removing branches to take a better picture will only render the nest more vulnerable to predators.

Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The skies the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer!

As this is Nature and wildlife Photography, try to keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images as much as possible. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

To fully take advantage of the sunlight, early mornings and late afternoons will provide a lower angle and softer light to work with.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2015.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.


About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.