The Audubon Photography Awards had some beautiful fine art photos this year.
I took up bird watching during the pandemic, so I’m definitely paying more attention. Some of the images are really amazing. My photographic art has been involved with my Pandemic Shadow Project, so I haven’t been taking serious bird photos.
You really should check out all of them. but these are photos I especially liked.
Anna’s Hummingbird by Stephen Cassady (amateur) Limekiln Canyon Park, Porter Ranch, California
On every trip I had taken to Limekiln, I saw the most beautiful hummingbirds but only got awful shots of them. One day after work, when an Anna’s Hummingbird flew in from the shadows and paused in front of me, I decided that was the day. Still wearing my tie, I followed the bird up and down the dry creek bed. When I put my camera down, the hummingbird darted right back over and stopped two feet from my face. I snapped a few more shots before she flew off. It took hundreds of shots, eight ounces of sweat, and any respect the local hikers had for me, but I finally got this photo. It was worth it.
Common Raven by Shane Kalyn (professional) Canadian Mount Seymour Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Every winter I visit the local mountains surrounding Vancouver to see ravens during their courtship time. Some behaviors are quite beautiful to witness, especially knowing that they mate for life. They chase each other around in the air and on the ground, delicately preen each other’s feathers, and exchange gifts like small rocks, twigs, moss, and lichens. This pair took a break from chasing each other around the treetops and landed close to where I stood. I got on my stomach in the snow to photograph them. After walking around for a bit, they stopped to inspect each other’s beaks, picking off small pieces of dirt and snow. The best part, though, were the sounds they made, talking to each other in soft and subtle caw.
Sandhill Crane by Jayden Preussner (youth) Vero Beach, Florida
My friend and I decided to drink our morning coffee outside by the lake. Soon a family of Sandhill Cranes, which we had been seeing around, arrived. We watched them for about 20 minutes when I decided to take some pictures. The birds were starting to get very comfortable with us, allowing me to get a photo that filled the frame very nicely and made me quite happy. I thought it was amazing to watch the young birds play with each other while the adults cleaned their feathers. To me, it almost seemed like they were tired parents done with their two overly excited youngsters.
Great Blue Heron by Mary Badger (amateur) Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, Davis, California
Every day I take my lunch break at the UC Davis Arboretum, where I work as a researcher using genetic tools to study wildlife conservation. I am always amazed how wild the arboretum feels, with waterbirds making their way down the creek, warblers flitting in and out of the trees and bushes, and hawks hunting in the lawns. I started bringing my camera with me during post-lunch walks. One day I saw this magnificent Great Blue Heron sitting in a pine tree overlooking the water. I sat snapping shots and watching people go by, enjoying their looks of wonderment when they saw the heron perched above. This photo reminds me of the hidden beauty and biodiversity of public green spaces.
I will confess to having picked images of some of my favorite birds but this is a remarkable collection.
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