2018 Best Backyards

Sometimes the best photo studio is just steps beyond your home. Backyards of every shape and size offer diverse subjects that can challenge your skills and sharpen your techniques.

Mute Swan Cygnets

Ayden, NC, USA

By Anne Grimes

Sony SLT-A77; Tamron 200-500mm ƒ/5-6.3 lens at 210mm; 1/2000 sec at ƒ/5; ISO 800; UV filter; hand-held.

Baltimore Oriole

Chicago Botanic Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA

By Anthony Goldman

Canon 1D X; 500mm ƒ/4L IS USM lens; 1/500 sec at ƒ/10; ISO 500; hand-held.

European Ground Squirrels

Kiskunság National Park, Hungary

By Bence Máté

RED Helium S35; 200mm ƒ/2.8L II USM lens; 1.4x II teleconverter at 280mm; 1/2400 sec at ƒ/4; ISO 800; homemade low-angle tripod; Uniqball head.

Japanese Maple Tree

Kirkland, WA, USA

By Camille Nims Lamoureux

Nikon D300; Tamron 60mm ƒ/2 Di II Macro lens with Tiffen circular polarizer; 1/30 sec at ƒ/3.5; ISO 200; SLIK Pro 330DX-B tripod and head.

White-tailed Deer

Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

By Debbie Quick

Canon 7D Mark II; 500mm ƒ/4L IS II USM lens; 1/1600 sec at ƒ/5; ISO 2000; CF monopod with tilt head.

Lady’s Mantle

Wheeling, IL, USA

By Donald Bolak

Nikon D90; 200mm ƒ/4 Micro lens with ProMaster 2x extension tube; 1/5 sec at ƒ/9; ISO 200; Gitzo tripod; Induro head.

Nigella, Love-in-a-Mist

Elawa Farm, Lake Forest, IL, USA

By Donald Bolak

Nikon D800E; 24-85mm ƒ/2.8-4 Macro lens at 62mm; 1/8 sec at ƒ/32; ISO 1250; Gitzo tripod; Induro head.

American Goldfinches

Bloomington, MN, USA

By Don Specht

Canon 7D; 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens; 1/400 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 500; Manfrotto tripod; Belke Gimbal head; Oppilas wireless shutter release.

Brown Pelican

Gulf Breeze, FL, USA

By Frank Abbott

Nikon D700; 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 lens at 200mm; 1/640 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 400; hand-held.

Feral Donkeys

Custer State Park, SD, USA

By Genevieve F. Rudock

Nikon D500; 200-500mm ƒ/5.6 lens at 200mm; 1/400 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 1000; hand-held.

Grebe Family

Hinjewadi-Pune, Maharashtra, India

By Indranil Basu Mallick

Canon 70D; 400mm ƒ/5.6L USM lens; 1/1600 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 1600; bean bag on ground.

Barn Swallow

Farm, Periprava, Romania

By Javier Herranz Casellas

Nikon D810; 200-400mm ƒ/4 VR lens at 360mm; 1/2000 sec at ƒ/5; ISO 800; Benro tripod and head.

Black Skimmers

Cedar Island, VA, USA

By Joshua Galicki

Canon 1D X Mark II; 600mm ƒ/4 IS II USM lens; 1.4x III teleconverter at 840mm; 1/2500 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 800; Ground pod; Wimberley Gimbal head.

Hooded Warbler

Mocanaqua, PA, USA

By Joshua Galicki

Canon 5D Mark IV; 600mm ƒ/4 IS II USM lens; 1/1600 sec at ƒ/4; ISO 800; Gitzo tripod; Wimberley Gimbal head.


Olympia, WA, USA

By Keith Szafranski

Canon 5D Mark II; 100-400mm 4.5-5.6L IS USM lens at 400mm; 1/50 sec at f/9; ISO 400; Gitzo tripod; Arca Swiss head.

Wood Ducks

Newburgh, NY, USA

By Kenton Gomez

Canon 1D X; 600mm ƒ/4L IS II USM lens; 1/2500 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 800; Skimmer ground pod; Wimberley Gimbal head.
Canon 5DS R; 600mm ƒ/4L IS II USM lens; 1/640 at ƒ/5.6; ISO 200; Skimmer Ground pod; Wimberley Gimbal head.

Red Foxes

Apalachin, NY, USA

By Melissa C. Rowell

Nikon D500; 600mm ƒ/4 lens; 1/400 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 1250; Induro tripod; Wimberley gimbal head.

Green-throated Carib Hummingbird & Common Puerto Rican Anole

East End, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

By Melvin Rutledge

Canon 1D X; 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II USM lens; 2x III extender at 370mm; Ultra Optics UV filter; 1/3200 at ƒ/5.6; ISO 2500; hand-held.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Murrysville, PA, USA

By Pat Comas

Canon 5D Mark IV; 800mm ƒ/5.6L IS USM lens; 1/125 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 800; Gitzo tripod; Wimberley II Gimbal head.

Green Jay

Linn, TX, USA

By Ruth Hoyt

Canon 7D Mark II; 300mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM lens; 1/1250 sec at ƒ/4.5; ISO 1600; Gitzo tripod; Wimberley Gimbal head.

Monarch Butterflies

Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park,

Traverse City, MI, USA

By Tom Haxby

Nikon D850; 70-200mm lens; 1.4x teleconverter at 195mm; 1/640 at ƒ/10; ISO 640; Gitzo 3541 tripod; Kirk BH1 ball head.

Gambel’s Quail

Buckeye, AZ, USA

By Wendy Kaveney

Canon 7D Mark II; 200-400mm ƒ/4L IS USM EXT lens at 560mm; 1/2500 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 1250; Gitzo tripod; Kirk BH-1 ball head; Wimberley Sidekick.
The 2018 Nature’s Best® Backyards winners and the stories behind the shots are showcased in the 2019 Spring/Summer Nature's Best Photography magazine.
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