Our All-Time Top 10 Pictures, Plus 15 More Favourites
For our 10th anniversary, we've chosen the best pictures from our past 40 Photo Opportunity Contests. And in the Honourable Mentions Section, you'll find 15 more of our all-time favourite pictures.
To create this powerful image, which won a grand prize in our 38th Photo Opportunity Contest, Tyler Walczak of Pickering, Ont. convinced two firefighters at Hall 331 in Toronto to move a truck into the driveway, and pose at the top of a fully extended ladder. Tyler set up his lighting kit on the roof of the firehall, then hung off the edge while he photographed Tony Wallace and Eric Bizzell, getting them to call out as if they were trying to entice him into the bucket. Tyler got the shot with a Nikon D300s and Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM wide-angle zoom. A red gel over one of the strobes added a warm glow to the firefighters’ faces. Afterward, Tyler applied a fill-light effect and boosted blacks in Adobe Lightroom, creating a crunchy look. In Photoshop, he added lights to the bucket and truck, cloned out pedestrians in the street, and boosted tonal contrast to enhance detail and ruggedness. Tyler’s image was a unanimous top pick of our judges.
This delightful picture was a grand-prize winner in our 32nd Photo Opportunity Contest. David Miller of Lower Sackville, N.S. used a Canon PowerShot S5 digicam to capture this charming shot of his cat Pistachio drinking from the bathroom sink. Following a suggestion he found on Flickr, David made a homemade flash diffuser out of a polystyrene container and placed it over the flash to soften the light. He set shutter speed at 1/200 second to freeze the water coming out of the faucet. Having learned this trick, Pistachio now has a drink at the sink every day.
Tony Seaward of Bonavista, Nfld. won a grand prize in our 27th Photo Opportunity Contest for this magical picture of a puffin coming in for a landing at the Elliston Puffin Colony. “This is probably the best place in Canada to observe puffins,” Tony says. “Puffins spend most of their lives at sea, and only come to shore from June to August to breed. The morning I took this picture, these puffins landed within 25 feet of me, and stayed for about 10 minutes.” Tony got the picture with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi and Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG telephoto zoom set to full telephoto.
Dave Bryson of Vancouver was a grand-prize winner in our 38th Photo Opportunity Contest for this creative picture of a jogger running along the surf, taken with a Nikon D700 and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X wide-angle zoom lens set to 16mm. Dave had gone down to Kits Beach, hoping to photograph the sunset. While waiting for the sun to go down, he set up a flash to the left of a puddle, put his camera into continuous-drive mode, then held it close to the ground and photographed runners as they passed. Afterward, Dave increased brightness and saturation in Photoshop, and sharpened and lightened the puddle. Dave believes in seizing photo opportunities whenever they arise. “When you do photography, you have to live in the moment,” he says. “Don’t ever say, ‘I’ll come back later to get the shot.’”
A grand-prize winner from our Seventh Photo Opportunity Contest, Jeff Weber of North Vancouver took this dramatic picture of an obviously distressed bald eagle during a trip to Mitchell Inlet in the Queen Charlotte Islands. The bird had gorged itself on a deer carcass, to the point where it was unable to fly. “It was about an hour before he could get airborne,” Jeff writes. Jeff took several pictures with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P93 in an underwater housing.
Brian Haig of Tilbury, Ont. took this atmospheric photo of three Cambodian children riding a bike during an extended tour of Asia. The farming village near Siem Reap where this photo was taken has high iron content, which accounts for the dramatic rusty haze. Brian took the picture, which won a grand prize in our 36th Photo Opportunity Contest, using a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM telephoto zoom lens set to 290mm, and processed the RAW image in Photoshop CS4. Brian calls his time in Cambodia “very eye-opening. People hardly have anything.”
Peter Bowers of Toronto captured this quintessentially Canadian image of his friend Eric canoeing on Basshaunt Lake in Northern Ontario, using a Nikon D70 digital SLR and Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8D ED telephoto zoom. Peter shot in RAW, and afterward used Photoshop Elements 3.0 to add warmth and enhance contrast. Peter’s lovely picture won a grand prize in our 10th Photo Opportunity Contest for its summery atmosphere, misty background and creative composition, with the silhouetted canoeist reflected in the rippling water.
Corey Lablans was a photojournalism student at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont. when he took this dramatic picture of a group of students climbing Algonquin Mountain in the Adrirondacks in Upstate New York. Corey got the picture, which received a grand prize in our 30th Photo Opportunity Contest, with a Nikon D200 and AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens set to full wide-angle. It was a frigid December day, with the temperature hovering around -35°C, which caused the camera to freeze up at times.
Lyn Winans of Minden, Ont. took this striking picture of a rooster at her uncle’s farm, just outside her hometown of Minden, Ont., using an Olympus E-20 fixed-lens DSLR. “This guy is a natural ham, “ Lyn says. “He loved the camera and was not at all shy to pose.” Lyn’s picture won a grand prize in our Seventh Photo Opportunity for its vibrant colours, dynamic composition and (dare we say it?) the cocky expression of the rooster.
Lynn Cassels-Caldwell of Lakefield, Ont. was a grand-prize winner in our Sixth Photo Opportunity Contest for this delightful portrait of a saucy six-month-old Arabian colt, which she took with a Canon EOS 1D and Canon EF 80-200mm f/2.8L telephoto zoom set to 135mm and f/4. To get the picture, Lynn followed the colt around the field, where he was allowed to roam free with his mother. “He’s a real tease, and he knows it,” Lynn says. “He had his tail up, and was snorting and whinnying as he pranced about.”