Thank you to all the photographers that shared their best photo showing the color black in nature as the main aspect in The Black Color In Nature Photo Contest with chances to win an Apple Watch Sport or an iPad Mini (winner picks the prize!).

"I am honored to have been asked to be the judge for the ViewBug contest "Black Color in Nature".  I thought it would be relatively easy selecting a winner and runner ups but the number and quality of entries is overwhelming.  There are so many images deserving of an honor of some sort but, I have been told there can only be one Grand Prize winner.  In my opinion, you are all winners for getting out there and making such beautiful images and for putting yourselves out there to have your work "judged".  As so, with great care, much study and keeping the topic of the contest in mind I have chosen the following entries as the grand prize winner and the runner ups..." - Laurie Excell

A special thanks to our friend and professional photographer Laurie Excell for her collaboration as a guest judge. Laurie Excell is founder of Excellent Photo Adventures, author of several highly informative books about composition and wildlife photography and has been a presenter at Photoshop World several times. Laurie has received numerous awards for her photographic excellence and her teaching skills; she is a highly sought after speaker and an acclaimed wildlife photographer based wherever her trailer is currently parked. Laurie leads Excellent Photo Adventures throughout North America and beyond, taking small, intimate groups to amazing photographic locations-such as Alaska to photograph coastal brown bears, Yellowstone, in all seasons, to capture the wildlife and landscape at their best, to Tornado Alley to chase super-cells and to many other amazing locations.

Grand Jury Winner

"This image made me gasp when I first saw it.  The subject, a black horse is a gorgeous animal and the way it is pawing the dust conveys such power and strength.  You can see it's muscles rippling and feel the sheer force.  I love the way his mane is flowing and the stop action of the shutter speed used to capture the peak moment.  The lighting enhances the gleam of his coat and the lighter colored dust creates a contrast that makes the horse stand out against the background.  The clouds and the sky add to the drama and energy of this image.  Congratulations Mariaitina for a photograph well executed." - Laurie Excell

Runner Up

"This image fits the category well with the subjects being very dark (black).  It is a moment in nature that conveys so much.  The bubble net feeding captures the way wildlife works together to sustain itself and the symbiotic relationship with the birds flying overhead seeking to glean a morsel or two in the process.  The exposure and sharpness is very good.  The whales filling the frame edge to edge with enough water and background lend a sense of place to the image.  patrick9X9 has captured a stunning moment in nature that I would love to witness myself.  Well done!" - Laurie Excell

Runner Up

"My first thought when I saw this image was that it was very "Alfred Hitchcock".  I love how all the elements come together to create such a visually interesting image.  The lone tree in itself makes a great subject and with the silhouette effect, it perfectly fits the category of "Black Color in Nature".  The foreground helps the viewer to figure out the basic location (rolling farm fields) as well as adding lines and texture and visual depth.  The image doesn't stop there as the flowing clouds add a softness to the sharp edges of the tree trunk and branches and the flock of birds is simply icing on the cake.  It's one thing to make a beautiful landscape image and quite another when you put yourself in a place at the right time to capture the peak moment when everything comes together into a dramatic image.  Great image nikosladic." - Laurie Excell

Runner Up

""Panda Bear" is fun, it's whimsical, it's eye to eye with a wonderful subject.  The contrast of the black mask around it's eyes against a white face draw my eyes right into it's stare.  It's "cheerful" expression brings a smile to my face.  The vignetting (darkened edges) draws my attention into the frame and helps the background disappear leaving only the smiling panda to keep my attention.  I love see it's teeth as it chews on a stalk.  A successful photograph instills emotion in the viewer and this image made me happy.  Thanks for making me smile sandyseyecatcher." - Laurie Excell

Amateur Winner

"I just love the contemplative nature of this image.  I sat staring at it for awhile wondering what was going through the gorillas mind as it sat so quietly with eyes downcast.  Eyes, that I might mention have just a hint of catch-light, preventing the "dead eye" look.  The exposure is very well done on a difficult color of all black.  The detail is amazing.  The light draws my attention to it's face.  The slight blur of it's hand lends a touch of motion to a very still image.  I found it very hard to draw my eyes away from this face.  This is an image that fills me with wonder both in it's execution as well as wondering what is going on it it's mind, jodiemm." - Laurie Excell

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"Raven in the rain" by LMaule

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"weeping winter's fog " by tinahailey

"Living Free" by CSteeleDesigns

"Up Close" by radekgora

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