2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists

In addition to the three winning photos from the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards, we’re thrilled to present this gallery of 22 finalists: 

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Photographer: Chuck Murphy

Location and date: Lake Weohyakapka, Polk County, Florida, April 23, 2019.

Description: A buddy of mine lives in Central Florida. Knowing that I’m a bird photographer, he told me that some Osprey were nesting nearby on the shore of Lake Weohyakapka. So, I got there early in the morning of April 23rd — prime nesting season. I got a number of good shots of Osprey parents bringing fish in for their nestlings. While waiting for more trips of the Osprey, I couldn’t help but notice that three Sandhill Cranes kept wandering by, apparently oblivious to my presence. Maybe locals feed them? I don’t know, I was the only one there and it was my first and only visit to this location.

Since I was there to make Osprey pictures, the only lenses I had for my DSLR were long telephotos, much too long for the cranes that were practically crowding in on me. The only other camera I had with me was my iPhone, so I crouched down low and held the phone at ground level to get this image of a crane, seemingly bowing down to greet me.

Gear and settings: iPhone XS, back dual camera’s longer lens, 4.25mm, 1/2800th second, f/1.8, ISO 25.

Thanks to our judges: Matt Mendenhall, editor of BirdWatching; Wes Pitts, editor of Outdoor Photographer; Marie Read, an award-winning nature photographer based near Ithaca, New York; and Brian E. Small, a professional nature photographer based in Los Angeles whose photos illustrate our “ID Tips” column.

View the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards winners