Assignment

Show Me Your Wilderness

This assignment ran from Jul 22 to Aug 11, 2014.

Greetings, wilderness photographers. This assignment will focus on your idea of wilderness and the wilderness or wild nature that abounds in your daily life. This could be as big as a grove of trees near where you live or a stream that flows through your city, or as small as a flower that has thrived despite the odds in a land of pavement.

We're timing this assignment to the upcoming September issue of National Geographic Magazine, where we celebrate the idea of wilderness in an article that marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which was signed into law in September 1964.

William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin wrote an important essay on wilderness called "The Trouble with Wilderness" which emphasizes the need to value the wilderness in our daily lives. You may find this useful as you think about what wilderness means to you.

For this assignment we will only be publishing photos taken during this assignment—between July 22 and August 11—that animate and realize your personal idea of wild, of the wilderness in your own daily life. (The assignment closes on August 11th at 12PM EDT) Before you head out, check your camera settings to make sure you have the correct date and time in your metadata.

Curated by:

Dennis Dimick
National Geographic Executive Editor, Environment
Assignment Status
  • Open

  • Closed

  • Published

Published Aug 18, 2014.
Thank you for your contributions!

Sense of Place

Posted aug 9, 2014

Greetings photographers, thank you again for your enthusiasm and interesting contributions to the #wilderness assignment. As we move toward the final days of the project (the assignment closes at 12pm EDT on Monday, Aug 11),  I'll offer a few thoughts on kinds of images that appeal to me.

What I have been struck by are images that convey a sense of place, pictures that help the person looking at the picture feel grounded or having a sense they are somewhere. The picture conveys to a viewer that same sense of wonder that you see while being there with your camera, but they also have a specific and strong foreground and background, much like a stage with actors on it in a play. 

This is often a difficult concept to capture, and requires forethought when imagining what might make an interesting picture. The question is how to combine elements of the near and the far at the same time.

I am captivated most by images that combine that nearness with a sense of place. Pictures of wildlife and birds that place the subject in a habitat are more appealing than images that just show an animal. Those kinds of images of just animals and birds are quite common. Images that combine character, space, and place; that place these animals on a landscape, require you to determine in advance where to place yourself. One must think in terms of location, time of day, where the sun is in the sky, and the moment.

Good luck and best wishes. Thanks again to all of you for shooting new pictures specifically for this assignment.

Editing is Subjective

Posted jul 30, 2014

Greetings, everyone.

I have been reading the comments so far and am impressed with how active and passionate the Your Shot community is. I wanted to give you some understanding about how I have begun editing for this assignment. I’m not looking, as everyone else does, at the website to review the images. Given the number of pictures involved I’m given a folder full of images every two to three days that I then look at by building a catalog in Lightroom. I mark pictures I like and then go back to the website to find the images using a filename and number applied to each frame when a picture becomes part of the site.

While doing this, I’m looking for pictures that appeal to me.

I originally began editing by creating an EXIF metadata sort for the start dates. I found that many of the images had not been taken within the time frame of the assignment. I’m liking images that are outside of the date limit, but given that most of the pictures that I’ve seen don't conform to the rules, there would then be very few pictures for you to use as a guide to what I like. The favorites should not be seen as images that will be published. When it comes down to the final story, I will only choose photos taken within the date limit. However, I think it is my job as your editor to give you a sense of what I envisioned for this assignment. I am taking great care in my editing and can see from your comments that you are too.

In the end, everyone has their own view and aesthetic, and what I like may not be what you like. That's what makes taking and looking at pictures so much fun, right? We learn from each other.

So, that said, if you want pictures to be considered for the final edit, please make sure the date and time is set properly on your camera and that the pictures are shot during the time of the assignment.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing more of your shots!

Seek Out Nature

Posted jul 21, 2014

You don't need to travel to a designated wilderness area to do this. You can if you wish, but the premium for this assignment is on the wilderness—the wild nature—that surrounds you. I encourage you to look around, seek out nature in your daily life, and make pictures that capture the wilderness that abounds or thrives around you.

I live near Four Mile Run, a stream that runs through urban Arlington, Virginia, just a few miles from downtown Washington, D.C. I find solace and renewal in visiting this park almost every day, and many of my own personal pictures of natural landscapes come from this lovely, wild place in the middle of urbanity. I encourage you to seek out the nature that abounds in the world you inhabit. 

Please remember, NEW pictures only—pictures shot during the course of this assignment. Please caption pictures with sufficient information about place and time, but also with a sentence that helps explain why you see the situation pictured as fitting your idea of the wilderness in your world, your life.

Dennis Dimick

Dennis Dimick

National Geographic Executive Editor, Environment
Dennis Dimick is National Geographic's executive editor for the environment, and grew up hiking and fishing in the national forests of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. An avid hobby photographer, he has been a picture editor at the National Geographic Society since 1980.
900 comments
Tejas Dongre
Tejas Dongre

Please go through my images and let me know your thoughts.

Tejas Dongre
Tejas Dongre

Guys , could anybody please tell me how would someone know if his/her's photo has been published ?

Constantin Keck
Constantin Keck

hey guys i would totally appriciate it when you guys might have a look at my photos

Alisha J.
Alisha J.

Hi Everyone.  I have a question.  Will you get feedback from an editor on pictures you submitted that did NOT get published? 

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

perseid  meteor shower tonight.  on east  coast   I heard  best time to    watch is  2 am to  4am   30 to  40  an    hour

Chris Carvalho
Chris Carvalho

After reading Cronon's paper, taking my photos, and thinking about the experience I concluded that wilderness is a place where I feel wild, inspired, and connected with nature.  But in his discourse he failed to communicate much of the feelings wilderness evokes, except in a few of the sources he quoted.  His own emotional perspective was somehow divorced from the essay.  The feelings we experience in wilderness are the heart of its identity and he failed to emphasize that.  Instead, I fear that he lost many readers due to the dry, analytical nature of his writing.  Wilderness needs more advocates and I worry that he scared many of them off.  He could have made this core point in a few paragraphs rather than in 20 pages.  

The worst part of any trip to the wilderness is filling out the paperwork for the permit.  It says that I'm entering an area where I am bound by government's laws and in some way is a contradiction in terms to the wild state of the land I'm visiting.  Instead, I wish there were a sign saying, "Welcome to Nature!  Respect it!  Be wild and free!  Observe and learn from your visit and take something back to create some of what you see and feel here back home!"  That is the message of wilderness.  

An insight from doing the assignment is that wilderness is a place where The Tragedy of the Commons doesn't apply, or at least is minimized to a great extent.  In wilderness we don't see signs of human exploitation except when we build a campfire.  We also follow an ethic to leave the place better than we found it.  While global warming and pollution are now planet-wide, at least in wilderness they are overwhelmed by nature's glory.  To take wilderness beyond those areas designated by the Wilderness Act, we need to abide by those principles in daily life: 

Clean up after yourself.  Respect other species.  If you need to use a resource, do something else that offsets the impact.  

These are simple actions and will expand wilderness to many more places if we can change our culture to embrace them fully. 

varna gubbi
varna gubbi

Hello, do the published story containes only editor favourite shots within that assignment?

Ken Sundaram
Ken Sundaram

I prepared my pictures to enter the assignment. But it was closed , while all other assignments and your shot deadlines end at Midnight. Why the time of 12 PM EDT was chosen? Request that the deadline be extended for those who were blocked .

Charlene Maginn
Charlene Maginn

Hello ... I am confused.  The assignment said it closes August 11th.  It is currently 7:02 pm on August 11th and I am unable to upload as it says the assignment is closed.  I spent a great deal of time specifically today to enter the contest, and now cannot submit my work.  I am disappointed - Dennis.  Can you explain please?

Ken Whaleman  Moore
Ken Whaleman Moore

Hi to all , I am brand new to this , it was my first attempt at posting  pics on Nat Geo and to an assignment .  Now what has me tickled is the fact that I have posted 3 pics. The one is most probably the only pic of this particular event ever recorded .... " a Southern Right whale male having a pee "  yet it has only been selected by a few as a favorite yet the other 2 very everyday pics have received huge acclaim.  It boggles the mind.  Regards from Hermanus in the beautiful South Africa, 

KAUSHIKI PANDEY
KAUSHIKI PANDEY

ha ha realy it was gud assingment .i walk 7 km ..fr getng good photos.n i submit it today at last momnet when tim ws nr to close 15min .

Leonardo V.
Leonardo V.

I know this will not always be applicable or even momentarily feasible, but I really like the idea of limiting submissions to a defined period of time. I had pictures in my gallery that perfectly fit to what editors asked us, but instead of just go there and select them, I had to dodge my hectic routine to go out and shoot and this is very, very good. This puts us in motion and if not for ourselves, at least for YS. ;)

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

I am  curious what next assignment is.    hope it is just   as challenging  as this 1

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

I've always gotten a message bout the story  ready to look at. I've  never  been published

Patricia Przybylinski
Patricia Przybylinski

@Tejas Dongre Hi Tejas, if your photo is chosen for Daily Dozen or publication in an assignment, you receive an email in your email box (comes to the email that you used when signing up for My Shot and also a notification in your MY Shot in box). Best of luck to you! Patti P.

Ann M.
Ann M.

No idea! But good luck! I'm guessing they would send a message to your account, but I've never been published!

Stephen C.
Stephen C.

@Alisha J. Only feedback is from fellow photographers.  >15k pictures would be a lot of feedback for these editors!

cheryl heath
cheryl heath

@Chris Carvalho 

Good perspective for this project Chris. Agree with everything you say here.


Amira Chtourou
Amira Chtourou

@varna gubbi Hi Varna, I found this info in the "Editor's Updates" section that may help answer your question: " I found that many of the images had not been taken within the time frame of the assignment. I’m liking images that are outside of the date limit, but given that most of the pictures that I’ve seen don't conform to the rules, there would then be very few pictures for you to use as a guide to what I like. The favorites should not be seen as images that will be published. When it comes down to the final story, I will only choose photos taken within the date limit. However, I think it is my job as your editor to give you a sense of what I envisioned for this assignment. I am taking great care in my editing and can see from your comments that you are too."

Melissa Rensen
Melissa Rensen

That's a real shame Charlene. I thought I was cutting it close when I submitted my 3 yesterday. Hopefully the photos you planned on using can be used in the future or you can still just submit them under other categories, you never know, perhaps an editor will choose one of them for the daily dozen. :-)

Karri N.
Karri N.

Hi Charlene, sorry to hear that you missed the deadline for the contest, but if you read the assignments introduction up above, you can see in the last paragraph Dennis clearly stated that "the assignment closes on August 11th at 12PM EDT (aka Noon).

Lisa Brunetti
Lisa Brunetti

@Ken Moore i loved that whale image, and i think/hope that the 'like' went through.  my internet is very slow, and getting back to that page would take half an hour.    logging off soon.

btw, welcome to your shot!   lisa/z

Hector Vega
Hector Vega

@Ken Moore Get use to that kind of response. I did some time ago and now just expect the best and prepare for the worst. There are no regulations about taste. Welcome to the world of the unexpected. Regards from Toronto and good luck on the assignment.

Patricia Przybylinski
Patricia Przybylinski

@Leonardo V. Totally agree! My dog and I had a great few weeks out on assignment. The images felt fresh and ready to "hand in." I like this timed format very much. Well said, Leonardo. Best, Patti P.

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Leonardo V.  there  has   been times   an assignment  comes   along  that I  don't have photos  for.  if  I don't, I  will  wait  for next assignment.

steve demeranville
steve demeranville

@Leonardo V. I'm with you on this one. I had what I thought were pics in my gallery that fit. The lazy part of me would have reached for them had it not been for the time period requirements. The last two assignments with these requirements forced me out into my local area. Three things happened. First I became a better observer and ended up exploring my local terrain better than I had known it before . Second... I ended up with 2 of my best photographs ever in the night and on the water. 

Third.... it made me get off my lazy behind and practice, practice practice :-)



John Warner
John Warner

@Leonardo V. Absolutely. This is the second assignment with a three-week window and that's the way it should be. "What can you show us today?" I see a Ton of images on the just-finished Wilderness story that are old file photos with old comments and likes and such, some in the editor's favorites folder. But as with the How Close assignment, I am sure they will toss those file photos and stick to the shooting window. 

Karri N.
Karri N.

@brad kennedy I really like the idea of architecture! It's something that I normally don't photograph, so it would be a real challenge for me, but what ever the next assignment is... I'm ready!

Michelle G.
Michelle G.

@brad kennedy

The next one will have big shoes to fill.

Tejas Dongre
Tejas Dongre

@Patricia Przybylinski Thank you :) unfortunately my photos have not been chosen...but there are some pretty brilliant images. Kudos to whoever got published !

Charlene Maginn
Charlene Maginn

@Karri N. Oh my goodness ... I thought it was midnight!!! Grrrrr ... I am so silly!  That really is too bad.  Oh well, I captured a couple of awesome shots just the same - maybe another time.  Thanks for the note Karri. 

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@steve demeranville @Leonardo V.  I  went out sunday  to a local   botanical  garden   here.  I am glad I did.     got a   few  good   photos.i  entered    1 of  them.     it  was    of a waterfall     

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Karri N. @brad kennedy  I  think  it  would be a challenge for   everyone.   just to  go out   and  see what they  can find.  whether in  the  city   or     somewhere in country .   I am   sure  we all   pass   .     by  buildings  without   giving them a second thought

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Michelle G.  some one had mentioned  colors.   flowers    or  birds   be   a good assignment.  am sure   we  can   find   great   colors  in  either  1. another    good assignment  would  be   architcture  

Lisa Brunetti
Lisa Brunetti

@Charlene Maginn @Karri N.

hi from ecuador!  


the same thing happened to me, though i have a second problem of brutally-slow or no internet most of the days and nights.  i did not see this assignment until last week, so i checked my photos from the past two weeks, enjoyed taking new ones for the theme,  then could not get them uploaded.  i too thought i had until midnight...  it took over three hours to upload the images this afternoon.


oh well; it was a good exercise...  i will try to visit your page to see if you uploaded any, connection willing.


i have some fun 'unique' pets images but i am brain dead from standing guard over the uploads!


z

Michelle G.
Michelle G.

@brad kennedy

Definitely good ideas. I have personally thought also of doors and balconies, the sort you see a lot of in Europe for instance. When I travel, I seem to point my camera constantly upward and I discover so much beauty and life on balconies. I also recommended once the subject of street musicians. There are so many topics, we'll never get short of ideas.

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Michelle G. i   live in  upstate  of  south Carolina   a lot of    places  to  do  architecture .am  near the   mountains also.  lots old   barns    and old textile mills.   old  buildings   also.   the Biltmore   house in     Asheville  north Carolina   be good   to take  photos.    they  have a  huge  garden  and  greenhouse.    in  summer   they  have musicians  outside  playing.  endless  possibilities   for   assignments

Michelle G.
Michelle G.

@brad kennedy

I can't seem though to connect with the current assignment about unusual pets. I don't have a pet to begin with, and I don't have access to snakes and lizards, and the likes. I submitted one photo of a wild animal, but I don't think it will go far. I'll probably wait for the next assignment.

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Michelle G.  I was able  to  get into  the  current  assignment when I got home  from  work.

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Michelle G.  I  don't have  any  unusual pets  either.   I  did enter  2    of a    canada goose     with  angel  wing   syndrome. he   can not  fly     the apartments  where  I live     adopted   him.   have taken  him to  the vet   for  check  up's. I figure  can't  hurt to  enter   the 2  photos