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Your best shot

Readers submit their best photos to All Animals magazine

All Animals magazine, May/June 2018

Photo by Melissa Becker

I’m a travel agent, and in November 2015 I joined a group of fellow professionals on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. We wanted to learn more about Africa so we could better help our clients, but the trip was also meaningful for me personally. I'd always wanted to go on an African safari and never really believed it would happen. I was beyond lucky to have this opportunity. At the time, I had 2-year-old twins and a 5-year-old at home, and nobody else on that trip had young kids. It was amazing to be able to experience it—and to get away from my responsibilities at home!

I have always been an avid traveler and love to photograph wildlife, portraits and other scenes on my travels. I don't even have a fancy camera; it's just a 10-plus-year-old Canon. I photographed this leopard in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. This shot was amazing because it is not terribly common to see leopards, let alone one just staring you in the face! It was the first close encounter with a leopard I'd ever had, and I was pretty mesmerized.

Melissa Becker, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Photo by Cynthia Zhang

There is nothing more enchanting to a child than a flurry of gentle snowflakes rapidly cascading from the sky on a bright weekday. While snow may mean strenuously shoveling the driveway for parents, snow also means no school and more time to play for children AND dogs. Dixie absolutely loves the snow. I took this photo on a December day when all of us in New Jersey got almost a half-foot of snow. She’s an older dog, so she’s not as energetic as younger pups are. However, as soon as we let her outside, she lit up and it was like she was a little puppy again! She was running around all over the backyard, trying to catch snowflakes in her mouth. 

This photo was taken after she tired herself out and went back inside. She was looking out the window at the snowflakes still falling down in furious flurries as she dried off. I’ve never seen somebody so purely and genuinely ecstatic to see snow as Dixie. I hope that everybody is able to experience such raw happiness at least once in their lifetime.

Cynthia Zhang, Monroe, New Jersey

Photo by Ann Parker

I am an ardent gardener, with a mix of perennials, annuals, groundcover and wildflowers, to name a few. I try to include wildlife-friendly plantings, such as bee balm, echinacea, asters and many other species. I live in the country, so rabbits, woodchucks, deer and other wildlife emerge from the fields and woods that border our property. They are quite welcome in my yard.

While digging up and transplanting some spotted dead nettle around a tree in our yard a few summers back, I came upon a spotted salamander making his home just under the groundcover. In the summer evening sun, his yellow spots shimmered, and his skin was iridescent in the wet soil.

I grabbed my camera, but since I didn’t have time to change lenses, the salamander’s face was shot in close proximity, with his body blurred in the background. The light bounced off his back, giving the photo lots of “bokeh” (the hexagonal light shapes), with the salamander’s yellow spots catching the sunlight. The amphibian didn’t seem to mind the photo shoot—notice the seeming smile on his face. I was able to gather the salamander up in a pail and transport him to the transplanted groundcover a few trees away. The little creature scuttled into the groundcover, apparently happy to be nearly under the earth once more.

Ann Parker, Machias, New York

Do you have an inspiring photo of a wild animal, favorite pet or rescued farm animal? Please share it!

Submit your photo to us for possible publication in All Animals or on our website, along with an explanation of 250 words or fewer about why it's meaningful to you.

Submitted photos should be at least 300 dpi at a size of 8" by 10" and at least 2 MB.

Questions? Email allanimals@humanesociety.org »

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