Take a photo of one or more bugs.
Macro lenses will rule for this one, but don't be afraid to take a photo without macro—just be sure to check your lens's minimal focal distance (this is actually printed right on your lens) and don't go any closer. There's no reason to photograph close if your subject isn't in focus. Some great tutorials we featured last time around:
PopPhoto has some excellent practical tips for you, like shoot early in the morning and be wary of your shadow.
The Flying Kiwi discusses the controversies of flash and depth of field.
Beautiful Bugs dissects macro photography—and specifically its use in bug photography—in a very easy to understand way. It's a good read if you're going macro with this challenge.
Our lead shot is by our 2010 winner, Viet Nguyen. He captured the shot with a Canon 100mm macro lens, and I love how much motion the bee has, dunking itself into a flower rather than just standing there having its photo taken.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.
Send your best photo by Monday, July 30th at at 10AM Eastern to email@example.com with "Bugs" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameBugs.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameBugsWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!
Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.