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2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists

This past spring, we conducted our latest photo contest, the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards, here on our website. We received more than 770 entries — images of owls, eagles, hummingbirds, cranes, and passerines, among others — from hundreds of photographers. Thanks to everyone who entered! The selection of images was stellar, as all of our previous contests have been. The judges had a challenging task! Today we are proud to present the finalist photos, featured in the following slideshow. 

Each caption tells the story behind the photo, from the photographers themselves, and it lists the camera gear they used. 

We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website on Tuesday, August 10, and they’ll be featured in our September/October 2021 issue. Enjoy! 

King Penguins by Sandra Nelson

King Penguins by Sandra Nelson
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I love a challenge. The most memorable experiences of my life are ones when I've accomplished something by pushing through my fear or discomfort. This day was very memorable! Eight of us had opted for an extended exploratory cruise in the Zodiac en route to St. Andrews Bay in South Georgia. We were greeted by mist that turned to rain, and then to driving sleet. As the crew were helping us land ashore in the rough waves, thick flakes of Christmassy snow began to fall. Happily, I had dressed my camera in its new little “raincoat,” so it was protected. Its little plastic viewfinder window fogged up, but I just kept shooting. I love this picture because the King Penguins look like they are in a marvellous snow globe and are looking up in wonder...except the one on the left, who doesn't want to know!

Gear: Sony A7 III with Sony FE 4.5-5.6/100-400 GM OSS lens and Zecti Waterproof Raincover.


Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: our Founding Editor and “Amazing Birds” columnist Eldon Greij; author, radio host, and Contributing Editor Laura EricksonOutdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts; and Imaging Resource Editor William Brawley. 

View the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards honorable mentions

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