Quantcast

'Everything Is Interconnected': Photo of Radiant Spider Web Wins EcoWatch Contest

Popular
"Nature's heterogeneity and biodiversity are at the epicenter of my thankfulness and happiness. Here, deep within a saline wetland, morning light shines through the dew covered understory revealing an orb-weaver's web." Dakota Altman

EcoWatch is excited to announced the winner of our first-ever Gratitude Photo Contest. Participants sent us their best shots of what in nature they were most thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Our three amazing judges—Greenpoint Innovations founder Stephen Donofrio, marine scientist Gaelin Rosenwaks and documentary photographer Marc Bryan-Brown—picked their favorites from more than 70 photo entries of breathtaking landscapes, incredible wildlife and majestic waterways.


And the winner is … Dakota Altman of Lincoln, Nebraska who photographed a spider and its intricate, wheel-shaped web during a morning hike to a saline wetland located just a few miles from his home.

"The morning light hit a patch of grass suddenly revealing a landscape dotted with silvery orbs of spider silk," he told us about the shot. "Upon seeing this I knew that my subject was going to be a spider and its web. I found it important to get down low and compose the photo as if the viewer was there kneeling among the grass."

Altman works as an assistant and biologist for the Photo Ark, a project of long-time National Geographic contributor Joel Sartore.

"My love for invertebrates has always drawn me to photograph them," Altman said. "Spiders, in particular, get a bad rap so shining a beautiful light upon them will hopefully change people's preconceived notions. This change I would like to extend to the importance of saline wetlands, marshes and prairies where most of my work is being done."

Rosenwaks said that the photo really stood out to her from the other entries.

"I felt the winning image captured the scope of what an ecosystem is; the intricacy of a complex environment where everything is interconnected," she said.

Similarly, Donofrio said the photo was "unique in how it was able to visualize a landscape and a micro ecosystem at the same time."

Altman, who received a $250 Patagonia eGift Card for winning the contest, said he hopes that the photo will inspire others, especially younger generations, to look more closely and view their surroundings in greater detail.

"You don't have to visit distant continents or remote jungles to find something extraordinary," he said.

Runners-up of the Gratitude Photo Contest include Dorothy Cullen's "Don't Worry, Bee Happy"—a stunning close-up of a bee.

During the judging period, Donofrio said he was "drawn to how this bee seems to be so powerful and big, despite its actual size."

"Don't Worry, Bee Happy"Dorothy Cullen

Another participant, Balazs Dibuz, contributed "Stillness," a serene image of Slocan Lake in British Columbia, Canada. It was among many striking landscape photo entries we received.

"The tranquility and peacefulness in this beautiful landscape is breathtaking," Bryan-Brown said. "The muted layers of tones as the image recedes into the mists add to a sense of blissful isolation. As I look at this image I want nothing more than to be standing on that beach."

"Stillness" Balazs Dibuz

The judges were impressed by the high quality of the entries.

"All of the images evoked a strong sense of emotion which is appropriate because of the theme of gratitude," Rosenwaks said. "It was clear that every image meant a lot to the photographer. I was honored to be one of the judges."

Donofrio added, "It was wonderful to see the range of submissions that truly show how gloriously diverse of a natural world we have around us, all evoking an understanding of how we as a human race give thanks and value to the places in which we live."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less