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2015 Best Backyards

Backyard wildlife is free to roam and fly at will—so why not make your backyard more inviting. Set up your own outdoor photo studio by planting flowers to attract butterflies, installing feeders to entice birds and other wildlife, and maintaining a pond, bird bath, or fountain as a clean water source.

Honey Bees and Poppies

By Charlie Baughman

Bend, Oregon, USA

Little Owl

By Dale Sutton

Herstmonceux, East Sussex, UK

Black-eyed Susan

By Don Specht

Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

Canon 7D Mark II; 100mm ƒ/2.8L Macro IS USM lens; 1/250 sec at ƒ/9; ISO 400; Speedlight 430EX II flash; Manfrotto tripod; Opteka Gimbal head; Oppilas wireless remote.

Snail and Poppies

By Minghui Yuan

Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China

Canon 70D; Tamron 90mm ƒ/2.8 Macro lens; 1/125 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 250; hand-held.

Eurasian Collared Doves

By Marc Costermans

Walhain-Saint-Paul, Brabant, Belgium

Mandarin Ducks

By Toshiji Fukuda

Hino, Tottori Pref., Japan

Eurasian Kestrel

By Marc Costermans

Walhain-Saint-Paul, Brabant, Belgium

Canon 1D Mark IV; 400mm ƒ/2.8 IS USM lens; 1/400 sec at ƒ/4; ISO 1600; Manfrotto tripod; Benro Gimbal head.

Tokyo Delight Hydrangea

Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, USA

By Greg Tucker

Nikon D300S; 70-180mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 lens at 122mm; 1/80 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 200; B+W polarizer; Gitzo tripod; Kirk ball head.

Mandarin Duck

Hirosaki Castle Park, Hirosaki City,

Aomori Prefecture, Japan

By Toshiji Fukuda

Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Pref., Japan

Nikon D4; 800mm ƒ/5.6 AF-D G VR lens; 1/400 sec at ƒ/11; ISO 1100; RRS TVC-33 tripod; Wimberley II head.

European Ground Squirrel

Tihany, Hungary

By Tibor Kercz

Erd, Hungary

Nikon D4; Sigma 500mm ƒ/4.5 lens; 1/1600 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 1000; bean bag.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Bumble Bee

By Kathrin Swoboda

Vienna, Virginia, USA

Nikon D810; 300mm ƒ/4D IF-ED lens at 420mm; 1.4x teleconverter; 1/2000 sec at ƒ/7.1; ISO 2000; Gitzo 3541L tripod; Wimberley sidekick; Markins Q-Ball head.

Northern Cardinal Female, Eastern Bluebird Male and Juvenile

By Kathrin Swoboda

Vienna, Virginia, USA

Nikon D810; 300mm ƒ/4D IF-ED lens; 1.4x teleconverter; 1/400 sec at ƒ/7.1; ISO 1250; Gitzo 3541L tripod; Markins Q-Ball head.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

By Sandy Ashley

Ontario, Ohio, USA

Canon 5D Mark III; 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens at 400mm; 1/400 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 1000; Gitzo 1270 tripod; Kirk ball head.

Red Deer Stag

Richmond Park, England, UK

By Dale Sutton

Naillat, Creuse, France

Canon 5D Mark II; 500mm lens; 1/200 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 800; hand-held.

White-tailed Deer Fawns

By Bryan McKay

Carrollton, Mississippi, USA

Canon 70D; 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS lens at 25mm; 1/40 sec at ƒ/13; ISO 1000; hand-held.

Canada Geese

Potato Creek State Park,

North Liberty, Indiana, USA

By Bob Watson

Nikon D800; 400mm ƒ/2.8E lens; 1/80 sec at ƒ/22; ISO 800; RRS tripod; Arca-Swiss Monoball head.

Chinese Green Frog

By Minghui Yuan

Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China

Nikon D3S; Tamron 180mm ƒ/3.5 macro lens; 1/200 sec at ƒ/11; ISO 800; hand-held.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

By Helga Skinner

Baxter, Tennessee, USA

Nikon D5200; 55-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6G ED lens; 1/1000 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 1250; Dolica tripod; Proline B100 head.

Swallow-tailed Kite

By Lynn Long

Beaufort, South Carolina, USA

Nikon D7200; Tamron 150-600mm lens at 280mm; 1/3200 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 320; hand-held.

Jumping Spider and Flower

By José Juan Hernández

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Nikon D3S; 105mm ƒ/2.8G VR lens; 1/20 sec at ƒ/16; ISO 200; beanbag.
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Top image: © Helga Skinner / Nature's Best™ Photography. All Rights Reserved. No use without permission of photographers.

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