Winner of our March Photo Challenge – “Together Possible”

This was an interesting challenge, and certainly not an easy one due to the abstract theme.  But I think this really tapped into the story-telling aspect of photography, and you all answered the call wonderfully!

The winner of this Together Possible photo challenge is Douglas Croft with a terrific photo of African Wild Dogs – puppies and all!  Congrats, Douglas!

Babysitter, by Douglas Croft. f/5.6, 1/250th of a second, ISO 1600

It’s obvious that this is a great shot, and the settings are spot on.  Because of the large “circle” of puppies, shooting at a moderate f-stop is key.  While shooting wider (lower f-number) would help increase the shutter speed of the photo, you’d run the serious risk of not getting all this ears, tails, and furry bodies in focus, while also getting the adult dog in focus, too.  Thus, f/5.6 is a great choice.

And as any wildlife photographer fortunate enough to photograph wild dogs will attest, you have to shoot fast!!  1/250th of a second is about at the minimum to freeze the frenetic motion of these amazing creatures.  But, as you see, Douglas needed an ISO of 1600 to get all this, which means that it was probably a relatively overcast day.  Thus, it was a very good decision to avoid going above 1600 and shooting at 1/250th of a second.  Sometimes this may not have frozen the movement, but in this case, he nailed it!

However, what I feel this challenge brings to the forefront is the deeper meaning and story behind this photo.

This one is chocked full of imagery!  And what’s more, the concept of Together Possible is a relatively abstract topic for a photo challenge. This is a great selection for this topic – what an inspiring image in so many ways.

First, the African wild dog is a real symbol for conservation.  A powerful yet majestic animal, it is considerably rare to see in the wild.  Fortunately there are places in Botswana and South Africa where they remain in healthy population numbers, but across the continent, there is a serious conservation concern.  Fortunately, teams within WWF, as well as safari camps, are dedicating quite a bit of research and manpower to understanding and preserving these iconic creatures, and keystone species in their environment, for many generations to come.

Second, the imagery in this photo is sensational.  What’s more thought provoking than a protective adult looking over watchfully as a dozen or more young pups crowd around…tails wagging, vying for position in the pack.  Wild dogs are some of the most successful predators in Africa in terms of their hunting ability, and they owe this largely to their pack mentality.  They rely on group strategy, pursuing their prey for hours in an intricate coordinated effort.  When one dog tires, others step in to take over the leadership and responsibility.  It really is only possible for these animals to survive if they work together, and that’s exactly what we wanted to convey with this slogan that is so integral into WWF’s mission.  To continue to have creatures like this on our planet, we have to come together in a coordinated effort – that’s Together Possible.

As always, I loved looking at all the stellar entries, and while we could only choose one as the victor for this challenge, there were many quality entries and I commend wholeheartedly.

Stay tuned for next month’s photo challenge!

All the best,