Growing season captured beautifully in reader submitted photos

It will be a few months before most producers see the results of their #plant15 efforts, but our photo contest of the same name has already produced a spectacular crop.

Nearly 500 entries — 473 to be precise — spanning several countries and two continents were received.

My Twitter and Facebook notification sounds can once again be enabled without fear of friends or colleagues asking if my phone was short-circuiting.

Managing editor Mike Raine, an award-winning photographer in his own right, was tasked with judging the entries, and he was both visibly and audibly impressed.

“I’ve been judging photo contests at The Western Producer for literally 20 years,” said Raine. “These are some of the most impressive reader photos I’ve ever seen.”

Raine, together with WP colleague Robin Booker, were going through the submissions seeking finalists from which to pick just one winner. Their combined “oohs” and “aahs” made it sound as though they were watching a Canada Day fireworks display.

“We really couldn’t make a mistake picking a winner because the level of quality of competition was so high,” said Raine.

One area of obvious growth is in the number of photos we receive from readers with their own unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones.

Humans are accustomed to seeing the world from a set of eyeballs usually planted five to six feet off the ground, which means an easy way to take a photo from a unique perspective is to take one from someplace other than that.

Lie on your belly or get a drone, with the drones providing, arguably, the more spectacular view of the two.

Raine attributes much of the amazing photography to the prevalence and quality of today’s smartphones.

In years gone by, a camera was something extra that needed to be taken to the field, and a safe place had to be found for it so it wouldn’t get too dusty or fall out of the cab.

Now, as part of your phone, it sits comfortably in a shirt pocket or in a holster type carrier on nearly every farmer’s hip — a modern-day “six-shooter” ready to be drawn to capture that next cool shot.

And we’re incredibly thankful for it.

You can check out the winning #plant15 photo, and the amazing runners-up, at

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