Art of Birding Challenges: Best of October

October’s challenges gave us several feel-good moments before we pushed participants out of their comfort zones in the 2020 Art of Birding Wildlife & Nature Photography Challenge.

The “Babies” theme filled our feeds with the sweetest baby photos, including these cygnets from Leanne Williams (Australia).

By Leanne Williams

Wendy Allen (New Zealand) showed how her “baby” grew up to be a beautiful butterfly.

By Wendy Allen

We then asked for a moment of simplicity.

By Carole Garside

Carole Garside (New Zealand) sent this ethereal misty farmland photo, filled with gorgeous pastel shades.

By Jan Abernethy

Jan Abernethy (New Zealand) went for bright and bold in her simplicity photo “Peeking through”, showing poppy stamens nestled in among dreamy petals.

By Jillian Selkirk

Also on a flower theme, Jillian Selkirk (New Zealand) took this photo of perfect spring blossoms.

“The recyclers” challenge asked participants to find the unsung heroes that help keep our eco-systems healthy.

By Carmen Therriault

Carmen Therriault (Canada) showed us this mossy stream. She learned that mosses break down soil and rocks, releasing nutrients that other organisms can use. Carmen says “I love how photography offers us so many opportunities to learn new things! This image was made in Jasper National Park just a few weeks ago, before the arrival of our early winter.

By Paul Henare

Paul Henare (New Zealand) captured this extraordinary purple fungus in Nelson. Paul says Ramariopsis pulchella is a small clavaroid/coral fungi that is found in native forests in New Zealand.

By far the most challenging week this year was “the Selfie,” where we asked participants for a selfie where they creatively included themselves.

By Melyssa F.T.

Melyssa F.T. (New Zealand) took this evocative image portraying how she sees herself as part of nature.

By Marion Skelton

Marion Skelton (New Zealand) pictured herself with her favourite bird, the tūī.

By Kaylene Helliwell

Kaylene Helliwell (New Zealand) took great delight in taking to the air in this levitation photo!

By Andy Underwood

Andy Underwood went old-school and dug out some gadgets to experiment with. He took this photo “My Dog and I Meet Doppelgangers” with a half field shutter. He says “This is the way we did it in the good old days, before that useless PhotoShop programme!”

Half-field shutter (Andy Underwood)

To use a half-field shutter, you set your camera to take double exposures. You take the photo with the slider in one position, switch the slider to the other position and recompose the scene, and take the second photo. The two images blend perfectly.

By Andy Underwood

In Andy’s second Selfie “My Shadow”, he used a multi-prism filter to get an ancient cave painting effect.

Examples of multi-prism filters (Andy Underwood)

Want to find out more about the challenge? Head over to and just jump on in with the current week.

BREAKING NEWS! The challenge will continue in 2021 with 52 weeks of new and favourite challenges to be inspired by. Be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter, sent out every Sunday night, where you’ll find the weekly challenge along with tips and hints and extra news.

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