The 2021 Audubon photography awards

July 11, 2021 • 12:00 pm

The Audubon Photography Awards regularly present some of the finest wildlife and nature photos around (birds are the star of course, though the name “Audubon” may be on the way out), and I’ve chosen a selection for your delectation. Click on the screenshot title below to see the winners and honorable mentions.

There were a lot of entries:

Focusing our attention on the winged wonders that share our planet can reveal everything from the finest details to the largest patterns of life, as shown by many of the 8,770 images and 261 videos entered in this year’s contest. From the admissions focused on native flora for our Plants for Birds category to the more artistic compositions for the Fisher Prize, our judges were once again amazed by the beauty and breadth of entries. We thank all 2,416 photographers for sharing their visions with us.

This year we expanded the competition with two new prizes: a Video Award, for a new video category, and a Female Bird Prize, awarded to the best photograph of a female bird across all divisions. We also continued our tradition of bestowing the Fisher Prize on the image that takes the most creative approach to photographing birds, and a Plants for Birds Award to the top photograph depicting the relationship between native plants and birds.

I don’t quite get the female bird prize: either it’s an attempt to flaunt virtue, or to make up for all the previous years’ photographs of spectacular male birds whose colors and feathers were molded by sexual selection.

There’s a story behind each shot, but I’ll just give the title and photographer. Do click on the photos to enlarge them.

First, the grand prize winner:

Photographer: Carolina Fraser

  • Category: Amateur
  • Species: Greater Roadrunner
  • Location: Los Novios Ranch, Cotulla, Texas
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0 lens; 1/3200 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000

Amateur Award winner: Robin Ulery

  • Species: Sandhill Crane
  • Location: Johns Lake, Winter Garden, Florida
  • Camera: Sony A9 with Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/800 second at f 6.3; ISO 1600

Amateur Honorable Mention: Tom Ingram

  • Species: Peregrine Falcon
  • Location: La Jolla Cove, California
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon 600mm f/4 IS II with Canon 1.4x III Teleconverter; 1/1250 second at f/8; ISO 2500

Youth Honorable Mention: Joshua Launstein

  • Species: Canada Goose
  • Location: Burnaby Lake, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • Camera: Nikon D7100 with AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED lens and Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter; 1/640 second at f/7.1; ISO 720

Professional Award Winner: Steve Jessmore

  • Species: Northern Cardinal
  • Location: Rural Muskegon County, Michigan
  • Camera: Sony a9 II with Sony FE 200- 600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/6.3; ISO 250

Plants for Birds Honorable Mention: Karen Boyer Guyton

  • Species: Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Location: Quilcene, Washington
  • Camera: Sony a7R IV with a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/4; ISO 800

JAC: I love this one: it’s a female hummer collecting cattail fluff for nesting material.

h/t: Malcolm

8 thoughts on “The 2021 Audubon photography awards

  1. Beautiful photos – but having read the story behind the winning entry, I’m no wiser about the pencils (?!) behind the road runner. (Probably just me – I also took “cattail fluff” too literally – imagine my relief when I scrolled down to the bottom of the photo!)

  2. Fantastic! Of course. I expect getting these kinds of shots requires a lot of patience, taking lots of pictures, and likely having a vision of what you want the pictures to look like in the first place.

  3. The Grand Prize winner is an inferior photo IMO. The Sandhill Crane photo deserved the win,.

    1. Probably chosen because the person who took the photograph is at the very least ‘not cis-male’, as to whether they are ‘of color’ would require a picture of the photographer to confirm.

Leave a Reply