2011 photo winners in ‘National Wildlife’ contest

“National Wildlife,” the magazine of the National Wildlife Federation, consistently presents some of the best nature photography around. I count on the magazine’s annual photography contest for some amusing and touching pictures with a water theme.

The picture of the waterfall, at right, shows a human figure doing a cartwheel in front of a waterfall at the end of a rainbow. The photo won first place in the amateur category “Connecting People and Nature.”

I was amused by the human jubilation juxtaposed against hard and soft landscape elements.

The photographer, Justin Black of McKinney, Texas, found the rainbow at the Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland during a visit with his college classmates from Switzerland. When one person was inspired to do a cartwheel, Black grabbed the shot, adding the important human element to the scene.

Another amusing photo shows a frog in the middle of a jump, below. It was taken by Rolf Nussbaumer of New Braunfels, Texas, and won first place in the category “Other Wildlife, Professional.”

Nussbaumer explained that the photo was taken after a dry period in Texas, when rainfall triggered a burst of yellow wildflowers and an abundance of toads and frogs. One cane frog in a field near Loredo was jumping unusually high, and Nussbaumer was able to freeze the motion. The photo editors noted that the cane toad is an invasive species in some parts of the country, but not in southern Texas, where it is native.

For more amazing images from 2011, go to the contest page, where 17 pictures are laid out on a page with notes from the photographers. Better yet, view more than 30 photographs from winners at all levels in a slideshow on the website.

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