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The Equinox

This assignment ran from Mar 19 to Mar 27, 2016.

March 20, 2016, marks the equinox, a celestial event that happens only twice a year when the sun crosses the Equator. At this moment throughout the world, there are equal parts day and night. As the Earth moves around the sun, the angle of light changes because of the tilt of the Earth. This explains the seasons of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and also the changes in positions and timing of the rising and setting sun throughout the year.

We would like to celebrate this event with a special Your Shot assignment, asking contributors to submit up to three photos taken on March 20 that are your visual representation of nature’s changing of the seasons. In the Southern Hemisphere, the changing colors of the leaves and a possible early dusting of snow are proven visual opportunities, as are showy flowers and a bright green forest in the Northern Hemisphere. Many city streets are set on an east-west grid, so it may be possible to photograph a modern scene where the rising sun and long shadows of morning may line up perfectly with a boulevard or building.

Changes in the weather and seasons also have a profound affect on people as well as plants and trees. It might be possible to notice these changes with members of your family or by looking at the activities of others in your community on March 20. This year the equinox happens on a Sunday, but the week is an artificial division of days. If you are photographing people, try to concentrate on changes that relate to the transition of the season and not just activities on a non-workday.

Nature photographers should pay attention to sun angles and the changing of the seasons in order to increase their likelihood of successful photographs. It is important to go out and scout a good location before shooting on the day of the equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, this equinox is the symbolic first day of spring, but the true start of spring depends on the latitude in which you live. Try to photograph the transitions happening in nature near where you live. That is the exciting part of this assignment: Contributors around the world will show how the equinox is special to them in an infinite variety of ways. And don’t forget to set the date and time on your digital camera so we can verify the time of capture. Good luck!

Editor's Note: Only photos taken on March 20, 2016 will be published in the final story curated by Peter Essick. You can submit three photos, but all must be taken on March 20. You will have one week to submit your three photos. 

Curated by:

Peter Essick
National Geographic Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Apr 4, 2016.
Thank you for your contributions!

Capturing The Equinox

Posted mar 18, 2016

National Geographic photographer Peter Essick called into the "Weekly Wrap" audio show this week to give us some great tips on photographing the equinox. Listen to some of Peter's tips and be prepared to submit your images for this 24 hour assignment.

Peter Essick

Peter Essick

National Geographic Photographer
Recently named one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photographer, Peter Essick has spent the last two decades photographing natural areas around the world, revealing in careful compositions the spiritual and emotional aspects of nature. A frequent contributor to National Geographic, his work has been featured in 40 articles on topics like the American wilderness, global warming, and Greenland, for which he shot a June 2010 cover story. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia, with his wife, Jackie, and son, Jalen.