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2019 Bird Portrait Contest third place: King Penguin

King Penguin
© 2016 Carl Henry

Third place in our 2019 Bird Portrait Contest goes to Carl Henry of Houston, Texas, for this terrific photo of a King Penguin. He took the photo at Gold Harbor on South Georgia Island, in the southern Atlantic Ocean, on November 9, 2016.

Here’s Carl’s description of the image:

“My wife and I were on a seven-day visit to South Georgia, and the excitement was very high about our first landing. Because of high winds, Gold Harbor was selected for our landing because it offers good protection, but our two-hour visit ended up being a crash course in everything South Georgia: close encounters with thousands of curious King Penguins, fending off fur seal charges with our tripods, staying clear of elephant seal battles, photographing in conditions that destroy cameras (high winds, salt water, blowing sand and snow) and a very wild zodiac ride back to our ship that left us and our gear soaked with freezing sea water in spite of our protection.

“This was my first close encounter with King Penguins, and I was captivated by their brightly colored head markings. Wanting to capture it in detail while still showing their communal nature with other penguins in the background, I choose my telephoto even though I was only maybe 12 feet from the subject. If you look closely you can see a few streaks of blowing sand or snow at 1/1000 of a second shutter speed. A testament to the conditions.”

He used the following gear and settings: Canon 5D Mk III; Canon EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/1000 sec at f/11, 400mm, ISO 1600; no flash and hand-held.

Carl’s photo was among more than 1,000 entries that we received during the contest period last fall and was among the 12 finalists we announced last week. Check the links below for the first- and second-place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions. 

2019 Bird Portrait Contest first place

2019 Bird Portrait Contest second place

2019 Bird Portrait Contest finalists

2019 Bird Portrait Contest honorable mentions

Thanks to our judges: acclaimed wildlife photographer/authors Dudley Edmondson and Gerrit Vyn, Outdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts, and BirdWatching Editor Matt Mendenhall.  

Learn how to enter your photos in the 2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards

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