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Week 27 Winner

The winner of Week 27 of our #52weeksofnature photo contest is Ben Thomas. Few things represent North America and its Independence better than the bald eagle. With the 4th of July holiday just behind us we’re stoked to see this iconic photo chosen by our voters. Ben has won $100 to hippytree.com and we are donating $100 to the Surfrider Foundation on his behalf. Learn more about Ben below.

Where was the image shot?
I shot this image near Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, CO.

What camera did you use and what were the settings?
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lens: Nikon AF-S 200-500mm
Shutter Speed: 1/320
Aperture: f/6.3
ISO: 200

How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for eight years. A family friend and teacher at my high school introduced me to photography and invited me on a class trip to Alaska. I bought my first camera in 2011 and it was the best decision I've ever made.

What's your camera of choice?
My camera of choice would is the Nikon D7200, mostly because it's the one I own. I have always shot on Nikon due to the amazing quality of their glass and materials. My first camera was a Nikon D3100 but I upgraded a few years after.

What’s your favorite subject matter to shoot?
Wildlife and Nature. The environment and its inhabitants are at a greater risk today than ever before due to climate change and human activity. I use photography to capture and share the breathtaking beauty this world has to offer while it's still here. I intend to incorporate it into my future career as a Wildlife Biologist, which I'm studying to become at Colorado State University. Eventually I hope to become a voice for all wildlife and their habitats.

Do you shoot with a crew or shoot solo?
I have a great group of friends from my photo club at CSU and they are all incredibly talented. I am very lucky to have them as my crew. They say, "your vibe attracts your tribe", and those guys are definitely my tribe! But solo shooting is also great because it gives you the opportunity to self reflect and incorporate what you feel into your art.

What excites you about photography?
The uncertainty of how a certain moment captured by camera is going to turn out, good or bad. How you react when you depress the shutter button, having fun and enjoying what you are doing, and capturing that moment which means something to you excites me. And when I get a really cool shot!

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