It seems that everyone loves animals, and so the submissions for our November theme "Animals at work" produced a huge variety of subjects, ranging from domestic pets to farm animals, and covered almost the entire animal kingdom from insects to elephants (although there were no photos of fish for some reason).
As usual for our photo competition, there were many sub-themes that showed up in a lot of entries. Since insects make up something like 90 percent of all the species on Earth, it's not too surprising that a lot of you sent in close-up photos of bugs of one sort or another. One of the most popular subjects in this category was bees collecting pollen from flowers, with about a dozen different people sending in broadly similar pictures, many of them very good, but one that really stood out was this spur-of-the-moment but perfectly focused shot from Simon Romano from Boisbriand in Quebec, Canada. Simon captured the shot on a Canon Rebel XSi (a.k.a. EOS 450D) with a shutter speed of 1/640th and an aperture of f/5.6. You can see every detail including the veins in the wings and the pollen on the bee's legs.
Butterflies are often very photogenic, and make a relatively easy subject for good photos since they frequently sit obligingly stationary on flowers, so they were also a popular subject this month. The best butterfly shot we received was this excellent shot from Jason Morgan of Columbus, Ohio, USA. Jason took the photo on his Fujifilm FinePix S9100 (a.k.a S9600) which he bought after reading the TR review of it. He used a fast shutter speed of 1/500th of a second and an aperture of f/4.9 at 200 ISO.
Of course not all bugs are as cute as bees or as photogenic as butterflies. Many are ugly and even downright scary, but that doesn't mean they can't be good subjects for a photograph, as shown by this fascinating but rather grim shot from regular entrant Jeffrey Levy of Arlington, Virginia, USA, which he only just got in on time. I have no idea what species of spider this is wrapping up its packed lunch, but it should provide any arachnophobes with a few sleepless nights.