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18 nature photos that didn't turn out as planned. Can you spot the mistakes?

Check out the photos that Instagrammer Samantha Pickertts doesn't usually share.

18 nature photos that didn't turn out as planned. Can you spot the mistakes?
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Earth Day

Like most famous Instagrammers, Samantha Pickertts takes A LOT of photos.

She posts some of the incredibly beautiful nature photos she takes on her Instagram feed. But what you don't see? The thousands of photos she doesn't post, photos that sit in her computer's hard drive for years.

Sometimes the photos are left behind because animals or people got in the way of the shot. Sometimes Pickertts' fingers end up in the photo frame. But sometimes the mistakes are even tinier; they're mistakes that only a photographer would notice — a misplaced seagull, the corner of a tripod, weird lighting, or a wonky chunk of dirt.


"I can easily take hundreds of pictures on any given session," Pickertts says. "I consider myself satisfied if I wind up with one special image that captures something unique and worthy of sharing."

In celebration of Earth Day, we asked Pickertts to send over a stack of those photos that DIDN'T make the Instagram cut.

We wanted to show you what the world around us looks like without filters, perfect framing, Photoshop, or expensive equipment.

And we also wanted to help Pickertts share an important Instagram secret: Most nature photos aren't perfect because the world isn't perfect ... but it is beautiful.

Can you spot the tiny mistakes in these photos?

1. Bryce Natural Bridge, Utah


All photos by Samantha Pickertts, used with permission.

The tiny mistake: a dark finger swipe at the top left corner of the frame.

2. A glorious sunrise

The tiny mistake: Pickertts says this photo is underexposed, but you can barely tell because the natural colors in this Bryce Canyon National Park sunrise are so incredible.

3. Bullhead City, Arizona

The tiny mistake: "The background here is not exceptional," says Pickertts, noting that the animal started walking unexpectedly. "But it ended up being a fun photo because I caught the burro's shadow."

4. Crater Lake, Oregon

The tiny mistake: "The cloudy day yielded no reflection of Wizard Island on Crater Lake, which is what I was after," Pickertts says. What she did end up with? A snap of the incredible clouds.

5. A human footpath

The tiny mistake: "I couldn't get clean shot of lake without a bit of land on foreground," Pickertts says, remembering her annoyance with the shot.

Turns out, she gave the photo extra depth by capturing the land; you can actually tell where she's standing.

6. A delicate arch

The tiny mistake: Pickertts accidentally included a tripod in the shot. Oops!

7. Goosenecks State Park, Utah

The tiny mistake: I spy with my little eye ... a tiny human in this epic nature shot at Goosenecks State Park in Utah.

8. Lee Vining, California

The tiny mistake: Pickertts raced to catch the sunrise ... and missed it. Hey, it happens to the best of us, even famous nature Instagrammers!

9. A rogue seagull

The tiny mistake: Breaking one of the rules of nature photography, this seagull flew below the horizon instead of above it ... and right toward Pickertts.

10. Mono Lake, California

The tiny mistake: A man spending a quiet moment by himself interrupted this photo of Mono Lake in California. Or maybe she interrupted him.

11. Multnomah Falls, Oregon

The tiny mistake: "This bridge was under construction, which was totally unfortunate for me when I got there," Pickertts says. "I edited the scaffolding and workers out when I posted this image on social media."

12. Na Pali Coast, Hawaii

The tiny mistake: Check out the bottom lefthand corner. Yep, that's a fingernail.

13. Natural Bridges State Beach, California

The tiny mistake: "People got in the way of this shot, but I love it anyway: especially the bird formation above the natural bridge," Pickertts says.

14. Point Bonita, California

The tiny mistake: Even nature photographers can't control the weather! This shot got totally fogged-out.

15. Rowena Crest, Oregon

The tiny mistake: Can you catch the wind in these flowers? Pickertts says it was incredibly windy on this day hike, so it was tough to photograph most of her subjects.

16. Valley of Fire, Nevada

The tiny mistake: Pickertts says she didn't notice that she caught the back of the sign on the left side of the photo. Ideally, the front of the sign would have framed the left side of this gorgeous sunset.

17. Vance Creek Bridge, Washington

The tiny mistake: This photo was rendered unusable by Pickertts because of the challenging lighting situation, which cast the trees in the background into a muted tone.

18. Victoria Beach, California

The tiny mistake: Do you spot what Pickertts' photographer's eyes spotted? Yep, that's another photographer in the bottom left corner of the frame.

These photos aren't edited, and they're full of tiny mistakes. But they're also beautiful.

"The world is such a special and lovely place to begin with," Pickertts says. "I just feel very fortunate to be a part of it and do my best to capture a little bit of magic in my daily meanderings."

Her photos remind us of something really important: that taking in the reality of the moment and of the world around us (not through a screen or an Instagram filter!) is a great way to appreciate what we've each been given: a gorgeous planet to call home every day.

Lainey and baby goat Annie. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
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Oftentimes, the journey to our true calling is winding and unexpected. Take Lainey Morse, who went from office manager to creator of the viral trend, Goat Yoga, thanks to her natural affinity for goats and throwing parties.

Back in 2015, Lainey bought a farm in Oregon and got her first goats who she named Ansel and Adams. "Once I got them, I was obsessed," says Lainey. "It was hard to get me off the farm to go do anything else."

Right away, she noticed what a calming presence they had. "Even the way they chew their cud is relaxing to be around because it's very methodical," she says. Lainey was going through a divorce and dealing with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis at the time, but even when things got particularly hard, the goats provided relief.

"I found it impossible to be stressed or depressed when I was with them."

She started inviting friends up to the farm for what she called "Goat Happy Hour." Soon, the word spread about Lainey's delightful, stress-relieving furry friends. At one point, she auctioned off a child's birthday party at her farm, and the mom asked if they could do yoga with the goats. And lo, the idea for goat yoga was born.

A baby goat on a yoga student. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Goat yoga went viral so much so that by fall of 2016, Lainey was able to quit her office manager job at a remodeling company to manage her burgeoning goat yoga business full-time. Now she has 10 locations nationwide.

Lainey handles the backend management for all of her locations, and loves that side of the business too, even though it's less goat-related. "I still have my own personal Goat Happy Hour every single day so I still get to spend a lot of time with my goats," says Lainey. "I get the best of both worlds."

Lainey with her goat Fabio. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Since COVID-19 hit, her locations have had to close temporarily. She hopes her yoga locations will be able to resume classes in the spring when the vaccine is more widely available. "I think people will need goat yoga more than ever before, because everyone has been through so much stress in 2020," says Lainey.

Major life changes like Lainey's can come around for any number of reasons. Even if they seem out of left field to some, it doesn't mean they're not the right moves for you. The new FOX series "Call Me Kat", which premieres Sunday, January 3rd after NFL and will continue on Thursday nights beginning January 7th, exemplifies that. The show is centered around Kat, a 39-year old single woman played by Mayim Bialik, who quit her math professor job and spent her life's savings to pursue her dreams to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.

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