Derrick Z. Jackson of Cambridge, Massachusetts, describes this photo of Atlantic Puffins, which took third place in our 2022 Bird Portrait contest, as a “fortunate composition on Eastern Egg Rock, Maine.”
“It’s a lineup of puffins along granite boulders with a wave crashing behind them to give a sense of the rugged conditions they breed in,” Jackson writes. “The Atlantic Puffin was nearly hunted into extinction on nearly every island in Maine in the 1880s, including this one, for its meat and eggs. There are more puffins in this image than existed anywhere in the state in 1902, when one or two pairs were left on Matinicus Rock. In the 1970s, Steve Kress and the National Audubon Society began the world’s first successful restoration of a seabird to an island where humans killed it off. They restored puffins to Eastern Egg Rock, Seal Island, and exponentially grew the surviving birds on Matinicus Rock. Today, there are more than 1,300 pairs of puffins across several islands off the coast of Maine, in a world-renowned victory of wildlife conservation.”
Contributing Editor Pete Dunne, one of our judges, asks: “I mean, who doesn’t love puffins? But what I find most compelling about this image is the dynamic interplay between the apparent indifference of the clown-faced birds and the menace of the on-rushing wall of water.”
Jackson used a Nikon D810 camera body with an 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 zoom lens. Exposure data: 1/320 @ f/14, ISO 250.
Follow Derrick Jackson on Twitter
Read about ‘Project Puffin,’ a book Jackson co-authored with Steve Kress
Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: Contributing Editors Laura Erickson, Pete Dunne, and Brian E. Small; professional photographer Marie Read; Outdoor Photographer editors Dan Havlik and Kristan Ashworth; and Imaging Resource editors William Brawley and Jeremy Gray.
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