Sarah Robison took a prize-winning photo last fall when she was visiting a park in Rochester, New York.
The 11-year-old was admiring some Canada geese when she noticed a young deer just a few feet away. The young shutterbug knew that she had only an instant to react, and she took advantage of that moment. She took out her iPad and captured the shot.
The result was a prize-winning image in Ranger Rick magazine’s “Your Best Shots” photo competition. As a winner, her photograph captured one of six spots in a photo display in the August issue of the children’s magazine, published by the National Wildlife Federation.
Other photos in the spread include a swamp scene in the Everglades, a polar bear taking a plunge at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, a hummingbird in a backyard garden in California, some wild mushrooms in the woods, and a giant mola fish off the coast of New Hampshire.
Robison is thrilled that her photo was selected.
“I love taking photos. That’s my hobby,” she said.
Her parents, Randy and Deborah of Lutz, are delighted by Sarah’s achievement, and couldn’t be more proud. Her grandmother, Gloria Russell of Land O’ Lakes, said Sarah has been interested in photography for years.
“Even when she was small, she used to take pictures with my camera,” Russell said.
She’s also had an interest in nature since she was quite young, said Deborah Robison, who homeschools Sarah.
Sarah Robison recalls her mother reading her Ranger Rick stories when she was small. Now that she’s older, Robison thumbs through the magazine herself, learning facts about animals.
Robison loves animals and wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up. She also plans to continue pursuing photography, which she intends to keep as a lifetime hobby.
Robison takes her iPad wherever she goes, in case she sees a good photo opportunity. The iPad has its limitations because she can’t zoom in and get clear shots.
That’s why capturing the photo of the deer was so special, she said.
“I really couldn’t believe he was standing right there,” Robison said.
She kept thinking the deer would run away. But he didn’t, she said.
The photo competition is an ongoing contest, with winners selected three times a year from hundreds of entries, said Mary Dalheim, editorial director of children’s publications for the wildlife group. The judges select photos that fill the frame well and don’t have a cluttered background.
They also seek out images that are interesting and use the proper lighting, she said.
“We’re also looking for an interesting perspective,” Dalheim said. “If you look at the picture of this deer, she’s got him head-on. It’s sort of as if she met eye-to-eye with this deer. We were amused by that.”
The photo contest is intended to encourage children to get outdoors and to observe nature.
“You know how some people say, ‘It takes a village to raise a child?’” Dalheim said.
“At National Wildlife Federation we say, ‘It takes a backyard, or a playground or a park.’”
Being outdoors has many benefits, Dalheim said, noting studies show it helps children grow lean and strong, enhances their imagination and attention span, and improves their classroom performance.
It also helps them to become better stewards of the environment, Dalheim said.
Any child younger than 13 is eligible to enter the contest. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/RangerRickPhoto.
Published July 23, 2014
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