Meet the Judge of Our Winter Nature Photo Contest

Photographer Clay Bolt helps choose finalists out of hundreds of submissions.

Photographer Clay Bolt. Photo by Mark Godfrey

More than 450 shutterbugs submitted their best shot to our Winter Nature Photo Contest. And that means Clay Bolt has his hands full. Bolt is the professional photographer charged with choosing 10 finalists for the next round of voting in our contest.

How will he decide which shots make the cut? “I’m looking for someone who’s willing to take risks,” Bolt says. “But you have to take an informed risk. You just can’t do something that’s bad and call it ‘art.’ These days with the Internet, there are so many photographs out there that it becomes noise after a while. As I’ve looked through the images for the competition, I’ve selected several that surprised me, or made me smile, or intrigued me. That’s what guides me.”

Bolt has been taking photos for nearly 11 years, and his work has been featured in National Geographic, Scientific American, Outdoor Photographer, and Audubon magazines. He’s also one of the organizers of Meet Your Neighbours, a project to document biodiversity and connect people with the wildlife in their own community. Photographers who join the project agree to shoot in a specific “field studio” style—capturing an organism in its own habitat, against a white background (see the treehoppers below).

Treehoppers display many beautiful and often bizarre forms throughout the world. Like many species of treehoppers, oak treehoppers (“Platycotis vittata”) communicate with complex vibrations. © Clay Bolt

You can hear more about Bolt’s work on March 15, when he joins us on Science Friday to talk about the contest entries and the winner.

You can still vote for your favorite entries here, until 4 p.m. EST on March 8, 2013. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The contest is now closed and the website with entries unavailable.] Science Friday will then post Bolt’s top 10, the crowd pleaser, as well a staff pick to our website by 2:00 p.m. EST on Monday, March 11, 2013. Once the finalists are posted, you may again vote for your favorite photo. This final round of voting will end at 10 a.m. EST on March 15, 2013. The contestant whose photo receives the most votes will be the winner of the 2013 Winter Nature Photo Contest. Science Friday will announce the winner on air on March 15, 2013.

Meet the Writer

About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.