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Commons Picture of the Day: Golden Cottonwoods

Narrowleaf Cottonwood trees near Crestone, Colorado, USA

“This picture I took is nothing special, it’s just the result of someone who took a moment to notice the beauty all around them,” said William Harader.

Many of the Wikimedia Commons contributors who promoted the image as a Featured Picture, and subsequently the Picture of the Day for 23 June, might respectfully disagree with him, as they’ve deemed the image one of the finest in the freely-licensed database.

While doing conservation work for the Biosphere Coalition, Harader was driving around documenting the loss of wetlands around Baca Grande in Crestone, Colorado, USA, when he noticed the sunlight on the Narrowleaf Cottonwoods (Populus angustifolia). He said that it was “an easy shot to take,” it was one of those situations where he was presented with an exceptional opportunity for good photography and was there at the “right place and at the right time.”

“Every plant and every animal is a work of art in itself, and yet so many people don’t even notice this in their daily lives,” said Harader.

Harader works as a graphic designer and although he considers photography a hobby, he does get paid for some of his work. Initially, he started out taking pictures with a film camera but was unsuccessful in mastering the technique. It wasn’t until he borrowed his parents’ digital camera that he devoted more attention to photography, starting out by capturing macro images and slowly expanding to other types. He especially enjoys capturing “people simply living their lives and acting as they naturally would.”

“It’s actually a rather difficult subject to capture, as most people behave differently when they know they’re being photographed. They become very self-conscious and want to pose for the image, instead of just being themselves,” said Harader.

American hover fly (eupeodes americanus)

Harader began contributing to Wikimedia Commons shortly after he became an editor on English Wikipedia in 2006. He supports the principles of free licensing and believes “that society has more to gain from sharing than from competition.” Interestingly enough, Harader said he has received more offers from people wanting to buy prints of his images because they’ve seen his work on Commons than he has through his personal website.

Among many beautiful photos he has contributed to Commons, several of Harader’s pictures were nominated as Pictures of the Year, including the American Hover fly at left.

(To see more of Harader’s work, visit his user page)

Jordan Hu, Communications Intern

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