Eye of the Beholder

By MDC | December 1, 2023
From Missouri Conservationist: December 2023
Mina Sauk Falls
Eye of the Beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. An adage nearly as old as time itself, it is attributed to Molly Bawn, written by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in 1878, to describe the subjectivity of beauty. Different people can look at the same thing and have wildly different opinions on its attractiveness, its worth, its beauty.

Photography is a lot like this. The Missouri Conservationist relies on our two award-winning photographers — David Stonner and Noppadol Paothong — and their photos of wildlife, flowers, scenic spots in Missouri, and much more to enhance the written word that graces our pages each month. We often turn the pages over to them completely, letting them tell an entire story through the lens of their cameras.

Yet, if we give these two photographers the same assignment, chances are they would come back with completely different photos. That’s because there’s an abundance of beauty in nature, and every moment offers a different opportunity to capture it. 

To find out what you, the reader, find beautiful in nature, we decided to turn over the following pages to you for the second year in a row. 

We receive so many good reader photo submissions — routinely well over 6,000 submissions each year — that we want to highlight some of the better ones beyond the three small photos we run every month.  The volume and excellence of those photos makes choosing the best a daunting task. With so many striking, beautiful, even breathtaking photos, making the cut requires one to have something extra. In many cases, that something extra is just a stellar, unusual, or unique moment. In some cases, it is a matter of capturing particularly striking light or a compelling angle. Humor is a factor in some choices.

We believe these photos show some of the beauty in nature. Of course, there is a lot more to discover. It just depends on the beholder.

Also In This Issue

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation – Marcia Hale