Bird Photographer of the Year, an annual international photo competition based in the U.K., is accepting entries for its 2020 competition through November 30. BirdWatching contributor Brian Small and I are two of the judges, and while we wait for the judging process to begin in December, I thought it would be fun to share photos of North American birds that have been honored in past years of the contest. The images in the following slideshow have been submitted over the last four years of the contest. Enjoy!
Ben Jiang took this shot of an Elegant Tern. Commended in the Best Portrait category.
"On an early summer morning in southern California, I arrived at the beach about half an hour before sunrise," Jiang explains. "There was little fog in the sky, the tide was extraordinarily low, and the sound of terns calling filled the air. I spotted approximately 300 birds standing in two rows near the water, and I crawled forward slowly while pressed closely to the sand. The sun rose above the sea, and the golden sunlight shone on white feathers – what a wonderful sight! I kept shooting until my clothes became sodden by the rising tide."
Equipment and settings: Nikon D850 with AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G lens and 1.4× converter. Focal length 560mm; 1/1,600 second; f/7.1;ISO 500. Beanbag.