In the last few months of 2019, BirdWatching received more than 1,000 submissions to our Bird Portrait Contest from hundreds of photographers. The contest drew an exceptional selection of photos, making the judges’ job quite difficult, and now we’re happy to present the 12 finalist images in this slideshow.
Photographer: Aimee Grace
Location and date: Delray Beach, Florida, October 2019
While walking the relaxing boardwalks of the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach one hot October morning in the fall of 2019, I could see a cormorant just ahead of me, perched on the boardwalk’s railing. He seemed to be gazing out over the wetlands with no evident point of interest. Having no tripod to encumber me (honestly, I never use one), I slowly continued my walk toward him, taking shots with my Canon EOS 60D and a Canon 70-300mm zoom lens. I approached him cautiously, not wanting to frighten him away. As I got closer, I swapped the lens for a Canon 18-135mm. His eyes sparkled like the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, drawing me in with their brilliance. Cormorants are native to this area and can be seen almost anywhere, from the protected wetlands to the canals of brackish waters on which I reside.
Gear and settings: Canon EOS 60D, Canon 18-135mm lens. Exposure: 135mm, f/7.1, 1/320 sec, ISO 100, exposure bias +0.3 step, max aperture 5, shooting mode automatic.