In 2022, AP photographers captured pain of a changing planet, NBC News, and TEDMED

In 2022, AP photographers captured pain of a changing planet, NBC News, and TEDMED

In 2022, AP photographers captured pain of a changing planet

Associated Press Photographs 1-50 0f 153

In 2022, Associated Press photographers captured signs of a planet in distress as climate change reshaped many lives.

That distress was seen in the scarred landscapes in places where the rains failed to come. It was felt in walloping storms, land-engulfing floods, suffocating heat and wildfires no longer confined to a single season. It could be tasted in altered crops or felt as hunger pangs when crops stopped growing. And taken together, millions of people were compelled to pick up and move as many habitats became uninhabitable.

2022 will be a year remembered for destruction brought on by a warming planet and, according to scientists, was a harbinger for even more extreme weather.

1 of 153

Israeli police clash with mourners as they carry the coffin of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in east Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022. Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American reporter who covered the Mideast conflict for more than 25 years, was shot dead two days earlier during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. (AP Photo/Maya Levin)

2 of 153

Wind whips embers from a burning tree during a wildfire near Hemet, Calif., on Sept. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

3 of 153

Arsha Begum receives the Covishield vaccine for COVID-19 from Fozia, a healthcare worker, during a COVID-19 vaccination drive in Budgam, southwest of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on Jan. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

4 of 153

Matej Svancer of Austria trains ahead of the men’s freestyle skiing big air qualification round of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Feb. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

5 of 153

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of an explosion in front of a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 19, 2022. It was one of several deadly explosions that have targeted educational institutions in Afghanistan’s capital. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

6 of 153

Children play in the Catia neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, on Jan. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

7 of 153

A man recovers items from a burning shop following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

8 of 153

People throng President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on July 11, 2022, the day after it was stormed by protesters demanding his resignation amid the country’s worst economic crisis in recent memory. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

9 of 153

A boy cools off in a public fountain in Vilnius, Lithuania, during a heat wave on June 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

10 of 153

Jennica Secuya swims in her mermaid suit during a mermaiding class in Mabini, Batangas province, Philippines, on May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

11 of 153

Revelers dressed as “Mascaritas” take part in a traditional carnival celebration in the small village of Luzon, Spain, on Feb. 26, 2022. Preserved records from the fourteenth century document Luzon’s carnival, but the real origin of the tradition could be much older. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

12 of 153

Motria Oleksiienko, 99 years old and traumatized by the Russian occupation, is comforted by her daughter-in-law, Tetiana Oleksiienko, in a room without heating in the village of Andriivka, Ukraine, as heavy fighting continues between Russian and Ukrainian forces, on April 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

13 of 153

President Joe Biden walks to his motorcade after speaking to reporters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Jan. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

14 of 153

Vehicles rest on a bridge in Pittsburgh following its collapse on Jan. 28, 2022. Rescuers had to rappel nearly 150 feet (45 meters), while others formed a human chain to help rescue people from a dangling bus. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

15 of 153

Ukrainian emergency workers and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from a maternity hospital damaged by an airstrike in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9, 2022. The woman was taken to another hospital, but did not survive. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

16 of 153

A paper cut-out of a horse peeks out from a stand of prickly pear cactus at a park in Tel Aviv on Feb. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

17 of 153

A young boy runs towards a United Nations helicopter carrying Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean Pierre Lacroix before it lands in Bunia, eastern Congo, on Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Moses Sawasawa)

18 of 153

Communist party supporters hold portraits of Josef Stalin and Vladimir Lenin as they gather during the national celebration of the “Defender of the Fatherland Day” near the Kremlin in Moscow’s Revolution Square on Feb. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

19 of 153

People from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatist governments, watch Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address at their temporary place in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don region on Feb. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Denis Kaminev)

20 of 153

A girl uses a kerosine oil lamp to attend online lessons during a power cut brought on by a fuel shortage in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

21 of 153

Firefighters wait for water as a fire rage in the low-income neighborhood of Laguna Verde, in Iquique, Chile, on Jan. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Ignacio Munoz)

22 of 153

Bodies are lowered into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9, 2022, as people cannot bury their dead because of the heavy shelling by Russian forces. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

23 of 153

A jet ski steers away from a crashing wave during a big wave surfing session at Praia do Norte, or North Beach, in Nazare, Portugal, on Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

24 of 153

Workers clean oil from Cavero beach in Ventanilla, Callao, Peru, on Jan. 18, 2022. The Peruvian Civil Defense Institute said the eruption of an undersea volcano in Tonga created high waves that moved a ship loading oil into La Pampilla refinery, causing the oil to spill. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

25 of 153

Goats graze in east Jerusalem with Israel’s separation barrier in the background, surrounding Shuafat refugee camp, on March 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

26 of 153

A woman shouting anti-government slogans holds an umbrella surrounded by clouds of smoke during a demonstration in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to protest the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund to refinance some $45 billion in debt on March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

27 of 153

Tom Cruise, center, gestures upon arriving at the premiere of the film “Top Gun: Maverick” at the 75th international film festival in Cannes, France, on May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

28 of 153

A woman adjusts her hat before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky, on May 7, 2022, (AP Photo/ Charlie Riedel)

29 of 153

A civilian wear a Vladimir Putin mask as a spoof, while a Ukrainian soldier stands atop a destroyed Russian tank in Bucha, Ukraine, outside of Kyiv, on April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

30 of 153

Mahtab, an 8-year-old Hazara Shiite student, poses for a photo in her classroom at the Abdul Rahim Shaheed School in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 23, 2022, days after a bombing attack at the school. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

31 of 153

A girl has her make up done before the “Las llamadas” carnival parade in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Feb. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

32 of 153

Ukrainians huddle under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee by crossing the Irpin River on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

33 of 153

34 of 153

The body of an unidentified man lies on a road barrier near a village retaken by Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

35 of 153

An injured protester cries in pain after police fired tear gas to disperse an anti-government protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 19, 2022. The protesters were demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, holding him responsible for the country’s worst economic crisis in recent memory. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

36 of 153

Women, one wearing a traditional Basutu hat, take a selfie during a visit to the Afriski ski resort near Butha-Buthe, Lesotho, on July 30, 2022. Afriski in the Maluti Mountains is Africa’s only operating ski resort south of the equator. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

37 of 153

Supporters of former President Donald Trump line up behind Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to pose for photos during a book signing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, on Aug. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

38 of 153

Villagers gather during a visit by Martin Griffiths, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, in the village of Lomoputh in northern Kenya on May 12, 2022. Griffiths visited the area to see the effects of the drought which the U.N. says is a severe climate-induced humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

39 of 153

JoAnn Daniels, left, accompanied by Kayla Jones, second from right, Donell Jones, right, and other family members, takes a moment to gather her thoughts during an interview with The Associated Press about her sister Celestine Chaney, who was killed in Saturday’s shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

40 of 153

The body of a dead addict lies covered by a shawl in an area inhabited by drug users under a bridge in Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 15, 2022. Drug addiction has long been a problem in Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer of opium and heroin. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

41 of 153

The body of Palestinian Muhammad Hassouna, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, is prepared for his funeral at a hospital in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Aug. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

42 of 153

Workers put a dead crane into a bag at the Hula Lake conservation area in northern Israel on Jan. 2, 2022. A bird flu outbreak killed thousands of migratory cranes in what authorities say was the deadliest wildlife disaster in the nation’s history. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

43 of 153

Pope Francis is aided as he leaves the parish community of Sacred Heart in Edmonton, Alberta, after a meeting with Indigenous peoples on July 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

44 of 153

Lexie Stroiney, 6, curls up in the plethysmography chamber during a break in her pulmonary function test at Children’s National Hospital in Washington on Jan. 26, 2022. Lexie had COVID-19 and is part of a NIH-funded multi-year study to look at impacts of COVID-19 on children’s physical health and quality of life. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

45 of 153

Scotland’s Micky Yule reacts after a successful lift during the men’s heavyweight para powerlifting final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, on Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

46 of 153

Rescue workers observe as a Russian Orthodox believer dips into icy water during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

47 of 153

A woman looks at the ruins of a Palestinian house demolished by the Jerusalem municipality in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Jan. 19, 2022. Israeli police evicted Palestinian residents from the disputed property and demolished the building, days after a tense standoff. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

48 of 153

A young cowboy wearing a mask as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 looks at other competitors during the Boyeros Cattlemen’s fair rodeo at the International Agricultural Fair Fiagrop 2022 in Havana, Cuba, Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

49 of 153

Anti-abortion advocates celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington on June 24, 2022, following the court’s decision to end constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

50 of 153

Spectators watch from a classic Citroen 2CV car as the pack passes during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 202.5 kilometers (125.8 miles) with start in Roskilde and finish in Nyborg, Denmark, Saturday, July 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

By The Associated Press

December 6, 2022

Taken together, they can convey the feeling of a world convulsing — 150 Associated Press images from across 2022, showing the fragments that make up our lives and freezing in time the moments that somehow, these days, seem to pass faster than ever.

Here: a man recovering items from a burning shop in Ukraine after a Russia attack. Here: people thronging the residence of the Sri Lankan president after protesters stormed it demanding his resignation. Here: medical workers trying to identify victims of a bridge collapse in India. And here: flames engulfing a chair inside a burning home as wildfires sweep across Mariposa County, Calif.

As history in 2022 unfolded and the world lurched forward — or, it seemed sometimes, in other directions — Associated Press photographers were there to bring back unforgettable images. Through their lenses, across the moments and months, the presence of chaos can seem more encircling than ever.

A year’s worth of news images can also be clarifying. To see these photographs is to channel — at least a bit — the jumbled nature of the events that come at us, whether we are participating in them or, more likely, observing them from afar. Thus do 150 individual front-row seats to history and life translate into a message: While the world may surge with disorder, the thrum of daily life in all its beauty continues to unfold in the planet’s every corner.

There is grief: Three heart-shaped balloons fly at a memorial site outside the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman.

There is determination: Migrants in a wooden boat float across the Mediterranean Sea south of an Italian island, trying to reach their destination.

There is fear: A man looks skyward over his shoulder, an expression of trepidation on his face, as he walks past homes damaged by a rocket attack in Ukraine.

There are glimpses into calamity: Villagers gather in northern Kenya, in an area stricken by climate-induced drought.

There is perseverance: A girl uses a kerosene oil lamp to attend online lessons during a power cut in the Sri Lankan capital.

Don’t be blinded by all of the violence and disarray, though, which can drown out other things but perhaps should not. Because here, too, are photos of joy and exuberance and, simply, daily human life.

A skier soaring through the air in Austria, conquering gravity for a fleeting moment. Chris Martin of the band Coldplay, singing toward the sky in Rio de Janeiro. A lone guard marching outside Buckingham Palace days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. An 8-year-old Afghan girl, her eyes locked with the camera, posing for a photo in her classroom in Kabul, days after a bombing attack at her school. Women taking a selfie at a ski resort in Lesotho.

Finally, allow a moment to consider one of those pauses in humanity’s march: a boy drenching himself in a public fountain in a heat wave-stricken Vilnius, Lithuania, reveling in the water and the sun and the simple act of just being. Even in the middle of a year of chaos on an uneasy planet, moments of tranquility manage to peek through.

— By Ted Anthony, AP National Writer

For more information, please visit the following link:


Climate change 

United Nations

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, mainly caused by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.

Scorched: East Africa’s Climate Crisis

NBC News 1,312 views Dec 20, 2022 #NBCNews #EastAfrica #ClimateChange

East Africa is ground zero for climate change. In Kenya where community leaders tell NBC News Chief International Correspondent Keir Simmons of fertile lands just a decade ago that now looked to me a lot like dessert. These are not the people who caused climate change, yet they are suffering from global warming that has nothing to do with them. But it’s not just climate – conflict around the world is also driving food insecurity. “Scorched: East Africa’s Climate Crisis” looks at the global forces at play and asks how we can address these issues.

» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and engaging news stories. NBC News Digital features,,, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We deliver the best in breaking news, live video coverage, original journalism and segments from your favorite NBC News Shows. Connect with NBC News Online! NBC News App: Breaking News Alerts:… Visit NBCNews.Com: Find NBC News on Facebook: Follow NBC News on Twitter: #NBCNews #EastAfrica #ClimateChange

1,325,116 views | Rahwa Ghirmatzion and Zelalem Adefris • Countdown

Community-powered solutions to the climate crisis

Climate change is the epic challenge of our lives, and community leaders like Rahwa Ghirmatzion and Zelalem Adefris are already working on sustainable, resilient solutions. Through their organizations in Buffalo and Miami, they’re focused on durable, affordable housing for under-resourced communities, the most vulnerable to the instability of climate change. Watch for a lesson on how we can work alongside our neighbors to address climate catastrophe and social inequality. (Narrated by Don Cheadle)

307,156 views | Cheryl Holder • TEDMED 2020

The link between climate change, health and poverty

For the poor and vulnerable, the health impacts of climate change are already here, says physician Cheryl Holder. Unseasonably hot temperatures, disease-carrying mosquitoes and climate gentrification threaten those with existing health conditions, while wealthier people move to higher ground. In an impassioned talk, Holder proposes impactful ways clinicians can protect their patients from climate-related health challenges — and calls on doctors, politicians and others to build a care system that incorporates economic and social justice.

Climate Change

Global Issues

Social Change


Health Care






Human Rights

This talk was presented at an official TED conference. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.

Learn more about the social determinants of health.


About the speaker

Cheryl Holder


See speaker profile

Cheryl Holder advocates for comprehensive medical prevention and care strategies for poor communities impacted by climate change.

2,196,281 views | Rishi Manchanda • TEDSalon NY2014

What makes us get sick? Look upstream

Rishi Manchanda has worked as a doctor in South Central Los Angeles for a decade, where he’s come to realize: His job isn’t just about treating a patient’s symptoms, but about getting to the root cause of what is making them ill—the “upstream” factors like a poor diet, a stressful job, a lack of fresh air. It’s a powerful call for doctors to pay attention to a patient’s life outside the exam room.

Health Care

Read transcript

This talk was presented at an official TED conference. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.

Learn how to get better care from your doctor.


About the speaker

Rishi Manchanda


See speaker profile

Rishi Manchanda is an “upstreamist.” A physician and public health innovator, he aims to reinvigorate primary care by teaching doctors to think about—and treat—the social and environmental conditions that often underly sickness.

Learn more

The Upstream Doctors

Rishi Manchanda | TED Books (2013)

An uphill battle for an upstream approach

Legendary physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer answers some commonly asked questions about Rishi Manchanda’s work, including: Why should we care?

Go to the top

The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards: The Top 100 Part 2

The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards: The Top 100 Part 2

Moments of delight and awe abound in this collection of standout bird photography. Scroll through and learn the story behind each shot.

By The Editors Audubon Magazine  July 13, 2022

Popular Stories

This year almost 2,500 photographers from across the United States and Canada submitted nearly 10,000 photographs and videos to Audubon’s 13th annual Audubon Photography Awards. Reviewing anonymous image and video files, three panels of expert judges selected eight stunning winners and five honorable mentions. (Spoiler alert: It was a great year for grouse).

We couldn’t stop there, with so many more exceptional shots—and exceptional birds—worth sharing. So, we’ve selected 100 additional photos to feature. Displayed in no particular order, these photos give just a taste of birds’ glorious variety. They also showcase a wide array of techniques used by wildlife photographers, as captured in entertaining and thoughtful “behind the shot” stories that accompany each image.

We hope these photos and anecdotes may inspire you to pick up a camera and capture your own unique avian moments. Be sure to peruse our photography section as you get started, including tips and how-to’s, Audubon’s ethical guidelines for wildlife photography, and gear recommendations. And remember to look out for the announcement of next year’s awards entry period in January 2023. Maybe it could be your shot that makes the cut.

  1. Green Heron by Michael Fogleman

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Salem Pond Park, Apex, North Carolina
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens; 1/500 second at f/7.1; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: After discovering that several pairs of Green Herons were nesting at a pond just a mile from my home, I started checking in on them almost every day during the breeding season. The pond provided excellent opportunities to observe and photograph these birds from a relatively short distance away. On this day, one Green Heron was hunting for food at the pond’s edge. Some individuals are more approachable than others, and this one was relatively tame. As it headed in my direction, I got some nice shots of its stalking pose. Very soon after this photo was taken, it caught a giant frog.
  1. Sanderling by Marlee Fuller-Morris

Category: Amateur

  • Location: False Cape State Park, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Camera: Canon EOS 70D with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/500 second at f/8; ISO 100
  • Behind the Shot: The difficult hike to False Cape means there aren’t many people on this stretch of quiet beach, allowing for an abundance of wildlife, including large flocks of wintering sanderlings. On this day, the receding tide had left pools of water in depressions in the sand. The Sanderlings bathed, dipped, splashed, and threw a ton of water into the air. I lay down on the wet sand and slowly crept towards a small flock. I focused on three birds and hoped to get them splashing in sync. Like much of the coast, False Cape is losing land every year to sea-level rise. I’m hopeful that photos of special places like this, and the birds and other wildlife that need them, can inspire urgency to combat this crisis.
  1. Sandhill Crane by Jayden Preussner

Category: Youth

  • Location: Vero Beach, Florida
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II lens; 1/2000 second at f/4; ISO 320
  • Behind the Shot: My friend and I decided to drink our morning coffee outside by the lake. Soon a family of Sandhill Cranes, which we had been seeing around, arrived. We watched them for about 20 minutes when I decided to take some pictures. The birds were starting to get very comfortable with us, allowing me to get a photo that filled the frame very nicely and made me quite happy. I thought it was amazing to watch the young birds play with each other while the adults cleaned their feathers. To me, it almost seemed like they were tired parents done with their two overly excited youngsters.
  1. Trumpeter Swans by Eileen de la Cruz

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Skagit Valley, Washington
  • Camera: Fujifilm X-T3 with a FUJIFILM XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: It was March 2020, just a week before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. My husband and I were about to leave for Spain, but we canceled our trip and drove to the Skagit Valley instead. Thousands of Trumpeter Swans spend the winter here, feeding in the agricultural fields before they head north in spring. It was a strange and stressful time, but watching the birds was healing. On this cold morning I first heard then spotted the swans overhead. From my vantage point and with my lens, it appeared as if I was at the same level as the birds, high above the clouds and the frosted trees.
  1. Short-eared Owl by Scott Suriano

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/2000 second at f/8; ISO 640
  • Behind the Shot: On a late afternoon in February, I traveled to Gettysburg to photograph Short-eared Owls hunting in one of the historic Civil War battlefields. The previous day’s rain coupled with freezing temperatures had caused ice to crystalize on the tall grasses that blanketed the fields. As the sun lowered on the horizon, these fierce, pint-sized birds of prey roused from their ground roosts and shot up in the air like Roman candles to begin their evening hunting. The angle of the light and icy conditions created a surreal, glowing silver and golden bokeh. Keeping a respectful distance to avoid disrupting their routine, I added a 2x teleconverter to my long fixed prime lens and attempted to capture the fast-paced action of these acrobatic raptors in this glittery, magical landscape.
  1. American Bittern by Joshua Galicki

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Sullivan County, Pennsylvania
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens and Canon EF EOS R Mount Adapter and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/320 second at f/8; ISO 4000
  • Behind the Shot: While standing waist-deep in water, under a blind and during a steady spring rain, I captured this American Bittern portrait. The bird stayed perfectly idle during a lengthy downpour, deep inside a freshwater wetland. While the conditions were dreary, it was incredible to watch this amazing and steadfast species. American Bitterns are endangered in the state of Pennsylvania due to declining habitat and the quality of remaining wetlands. I’ve been trying to document these birds, which can be difficult to see, in the hopes of raising awareness for their preservation.
  1. Virginia Rail by Thomas McDonald

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Mayville, Wisconsin
  • Camera: Nikon D5 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/2000 second at f/10; ISO 3200
  • Behind the Shot: I have spent many summer hours at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge observing and photographing herons, cranes, and waterfowl. Arriving at the marsh early in the morning, I started walking down the floating boardwalk to a spot I have seen Soras and Virginia Rails. Lying down, trying to get the lowest possible position, a Virginia Rail ran across the boardwalk. I turned to where the rail stopped, taking some photos while the bird was foraging and preening in the reeds and cattails. After a few minutes, the rail started to take off toward me, and I captured this shot.
  1. Northern Flicker by John Welch

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Private Property, New Hampshire
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/400 second at f/6.3; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: At the outset of the pandemic, my family was delighted to discover a pair of Northern Flickers making their home within sight of ours. Early in the nesting cycle, we observed the pair switching off who would stay in the hole, presumably to incubate the eggs. I set up some concealment in the nearby bushes and would shoot through overhanging leaves to create this natural blurred green frame. As the season progressed, we observed both parents making many more return trips to the nest, feeding the chicks who grew bigger each day. They poked their begging bills out of the nest hole. We may have spent more time at home that spring, but we still felt connected to the wider world through this window to the wild.
  1. Brown Pelican by Irina Pigman

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 with a Sony FE 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens and a Zeiss UV filter; 1/640 second at f/6.3; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: After a trip to Europe last November, I was really jet lagged. I took advantage and got up before sunrise to see birds at my favorite spot on the water. Just as I arrived, I saw a juvenile Brown Pelican fishing. This bird is quite common in Florida, but all of the sudden, the sight of it made me catch my breath. The sun was still pretty low behind the bird, and the rays went straight through the pelican’s throat pouch, making it glow radiantly in the low light. The throat pouch’s capacity to fit three times more fish than its stomach has always fascinated me, but I’ve never seen it as an object of beauty. This pelican’s translucent jowls mesmerized me.
  1. Downy Woodpecker by Michael Lovejoy

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Newbury, Massachusetts
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens; 1/320 second at f/5.6; ISO 320
  • Behind the Shot: My partner finally got me into birding over the course of the pandemic. She gave me binoculars, but it was a used telephoto lens and the challenge of trying to photograph birds that hooked me. On an early December evening, after visiting family nearby, we explored Plum Island and came upon saltmarsh reeds as tall and dense as I had ever seen. It was an amazing sight unto itself, but then I noticed some movement deep off the trail. I caught a glimpse of a Downy Woodpecker hopping and pecking. My favorite part of birding is that you always come away with at least one standout memory—a moment of experiencing true unfiltered nature. The photo is just a great keepsake and a spark for my burgeoning interest.
  1. Western Grebe by Scott Suriano

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Loch Raven Reservoir, Baltimore County, Maryland
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS III USM lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/500 second at f/8; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: The local birding community was abuzz when an unlikely pair of wintering Western Grebes graced a northern Maryland lake. Hoping to glimpse these rare visitors, I packed my gear and headed out. To my delight, I spotted the celebrity couple right away swimming in the lake’s center. I watched these birds interact and dive for food for about an hour before they split up and began swimming in separate directions. The trees cast warm reflections that stretched into the calm, cold waters. This grebe, gliding effortlessly, sliced through the seemingly ablaze shoreline.
  1. Trumpeter Swan by Elizabeth Boehm

Category: Professional

  • Location: Pinedale, Wyoming
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1DX Mark II with a Canon 600mm f/4L IS III lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: An hour before sunrise on a misty, calm August morning, I headed out to a privately-owned pond to photograph waterfowl and shorebirds. After carefully walking 200 yards in the dark, my floating blind over my head, I quietly slipped into the water. I had clear skies to the east, promising good light. A resident pair of Trumpeter Swans became curious and moved in close to my blind, unaware of my presence. They preened their feathers as the sun rose, and I captured them as they groomed. I spent several hours photographing a variety of waterbirds and left the pond exhilarated.
  1. American White Pelican by Candice Head

Category: Professional

  • Location: Lake Saint Joseph, Newellton, Louisiana
  • Camera: Fujifilm X-H1 with a FUJIFILM XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens and lens UV filter; 1/1600 second at 5.6; ISO setting 800
  • Behind the Shot: On a mild December afternoon, I noticed some White Pelicans in the lake near my home. The Mississippi River Delta is known for its abundance of wildlife, particularly migrating birds. White Pelicans have come to the lake before, but never so many at one time. It was a captivating sight. As I watched, I was mesmerized by the image of so many seemingly identical birds swimming in perfect unison. Grabbing my camera and heading closer to the lake, I captured what has become a favorite photo of mine: a shot that embodies both the chaos and peace of a tight-knit community.
  1. Tree Swallow by Alexander Eisengart

Category: Youth

  • Location: Margaret Peak Nature Preserve, North Ridgeville, Ohio
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a6400 with a Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/640 second at f/6.3; ISO 250
  • Behind the Shot: I’m 14 years old, so obviously I can’t drive. On my birthday, my mom took me birding at sunrise. At this time during the summer, smoke from fires throughout the West blew into the eastern United States. This made the sunlight diffuse, giving the sunrise a really cool look. Luckily for me, there were tons of Tree Swallows. They flew around catching insects, and the morning dew looked great on the spider webs.
  1. Great Blue Heron by Mary Badger

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, Davis, California
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7 III with a Sony FE 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: Every day I take my lunch break at the UC Davis Arboretum, where I work as a researcher using genetic tools to study wildlife conservation. I am always amazed how wild the arboretum feels, with waterbirds making their way down the creek, warblers flitting in and out of the trees and bushes, and hawks hunting in the lawns. I started bringing my camera with me during post-lunch walks. One day I saw this magnificent Great Blue Heron sitting in a pine tree overlooking the water. I sat snapping shots and watching people go by, enjoying their looks of wonderment when they saw the heron perched above. This photo reminds me of the hidden beauty and biodiversity of public green spaces.
  1. Sandhill Crane by William Farnsworth

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Kensington Metropark, Milford, Michigan
  • Camera: Nikon D7500 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/4 FL ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/4.0; ISO 360
  • Behind the Shot: I watched a pair of adult Sandhill Cranes forage for food with their two young colts. The parents encouraged the colts to find their own meal. To my surprise, they were quite successful. Then, one of the parents found a damselfly on the ground. Rather than eating it, the adult grabbed it in its beak and called over one of the colts, who eagerly took the offering. This was a very special moment that I had the pleasure of capturing: a parent expressing love to its offspring. The interaction lasted no more than five seconds, but the moment itself was timeless.
  1. Blue Jay by Alessandro Retacchi

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Central Park, New York, New York
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens; 1/2500 second at f/4; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: On this cold day, I found a female Northern Cardinal on a branch covered with snow. As I was trying to photograph her, I noticed two very vocal Blue Jays. I was able to focus and shoot a burst of photos as they fought, their feathers seeming to glow in the light. I had always hoped to photograph two birds in flight with the faces clearly visible and facing each other. In this case, one Blue Jay has the trademark raised crest in a sign of aggression.
  1. Song Sparrow by Ashrith Kandula

Category: Youth

  • Location: Wallingford, Pennsylvania
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x II; 1/1000 second at f/8.0; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: One of my favorite pandemic projects was capturing unique portraits of common birds such as the Song Sparrow. Although some may think these birds are boring because of their bland colors, I think they’re interesting because their songs are quite melodious. After spending months with this individual, who I named Fergus, I understood his personality and was able to capture him on flowers and with different lighting. One day, I noticed a white car in the background take a left turn with its headlights on. I took many shots and was very excited when I took a photo with Fergus’s head in front of the light, which looked like the sun. It was great to incorporate both manmade and natural elements into one shot.
  1. Burrowing Owl by Brian Browne

Category: Youth

  • Location: Corte Madera, California
  • Camera: Nikon D3500 with a Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/640 at f/6.3; ISO 500
  • Behind the Shot: In November 2020, I visited my grandma in Oregon for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. We drove around the area to look for birds, and at the end of the day, went to Agate Lake, a small reservoir where a Burrowing Owl (a local rarity) had been reported for several days. After some searching, I found it sitting at the end of a cut log. Slowly approaching it as evening set in and the temperature plunged, I watched and took some photos, the details in the wood framing the small owl perfectly. As my grandma and I returned to the car, we heard the owl call before it flew from its nook into the fields.
  1. American Dipper by Kate Persons

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Nome, Alaska
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens; 1/1600 second at f/4.5; ISO 2500
  • Behind the Shot: On a negative 26-degree Fahrenheit day in December, I sat quietly wiggling my toes by an open hole on the edge of the Nome River, where a pair of dippers had regularly been feeding on chironomid larvae and other aquatic invertebrates. After about 30 minutes, I heard the dippers call. One began diving and feeding in front of me. Unbelievably, the bird flitted in front of an interesting-looking cavern rimmed with hoarfrost and began preening. The bird gave me an entire repertoire of postures, from the comical to the dramatic. Cold toes were forgotten! I chose this amusing image of the dipper looking down with closed eyes covered by white eyelids as if praying, in front of an icy grotto.
  1. Bald Eagle by Tamara Enz

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Nehalem Bay State Park, Manzanita, Oregon
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7 with a Sony E 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS LE lens; 1/2000 second at f/8; ISO 200
  • Behind the Shot: While working for Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, a National Estuary Project in Garibaldi, Oregon, I conducted a community science project collecting plastic pellets called nurdles that litter the shore. During this nurdle survey, I stopped to photograph shorebirds feeding along the surf line. As I photographed, an immature eagle landed on a drift log behind me. Each of us unaware of the other, the eagle leapt into flight when I turned away from the shorebirds. I shot a series of photos as the eagle gained lift and moved down the beach. Finding shorebirds and eagles along this stretch of coast brings the conservation and restoration work that I have done through the years full circle for me. As a field biologist, writer, and photographer, the elements of what I do and what I appreciate came together for this shot.
  1. Common Ostrich by Lisa Sproat

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Masai Mara National Park, Kenya
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/50 at f/4; ISO 100
  • Behind the Shot: On a drive through the Masai Mara National Reserve in the early afternoon, we spotted a distant trio of ostriches feeding in the harsh sun. As afternoon turned to dusk, a brief but dramatic thunderstorm rolled through the grassland. We came upon the three birds again bedded down nearer the road, weathering the storm. Ostriches lack the special waterproofing gland many other birds have, so their luxuriant plumage can be completely soaked through by a heavy rain in minutes. Since this bird was completely still, I used a long exposure to lengthen the raindrops and give a bit of context to that classic ostrich frown.
  1. Reddish Egret by Kieran Barlow

Category: Youth

  • Location: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: On a trip to Florida, one of the birds I hoped to see most was a Reddish Egret. When these elegant wading birds showed up, I took countless portraits and pictures of their unique fishing method. But I really wanted to photograph one during a sunset. One night, when I could see a sliver of clear sky beneath dense clouds, I found a Reddish Egret and laid down in the water, careful to avoid the jellyfish and toxic algae. While barely keeping my camera above the waves, I started snapping until the sun ducked below the horizon. I walked off the beach that night soaking wet and covered in sand but with memories I will cherish the rest of my life.
  1. Greater Flamingo by Vicki Jauron

Category: Professional

  • Location: Amboseli National Park, Kajiado County, Kenya
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8 lens and Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E; 1/1000 second at f/4.8; ISO 280
  • Behind the Shot: During my first visit to Amboseli in 2017, flamingos were not residents. In recent years, though, thanks to more water in the environment, flamingos and many other waterbirds have come back, enriching the normal safari experience. While observing the birds in 2021, I saw two Greater Flamingos involved in some sort of encounter. Whether their interaction was amicable, amorous, or otherwise, was unclear, but it was fun watching them beak to beak, contorting their necks together into different shapes. It was refreshing to capture this interaction rather than the usual beak-down feeding behavior.
  1. Wood Stork by Hiresha Senanayake

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/500 second at f/4.0; ISO 100
  • Behind the Shot: After a long hard rain one October morning, I set out to a marsh with three other photographers. As the sun peeked over the horizon, we saw a flock of Wood Storks resting in the shallow waters. We slowly lay on the mud and started crawling on our bellies so that we wouldn’t disturb the birds, inching close enough to photograph them. Though it was extremely challenging to lay in the mud, soaking wet, my entire face covered with gnats, I was still awestruck by the graceful appearance of this threatened, ancient-looking bird. While watching the stork through the viewfinder, I noticed that the grass behind it glowed in the light. At that moment, the stork gave me the perfect pose. I lowered my gear to the muddy ground as much as possible to get an eye-level shot of this entire scene.
  1. Eastern Kingbird by Kyle Tansley

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Colchester Pond, Colchester, Vermont
  • Camera: Nikon Z6 II with a NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/4; ISO 250
  • Behind the Shot: I’ve watched a pair of Eastern Kingbirds nest and raise their young at this pond for several years now. Getting a dragonfly delivery shot with a nice foreground and background was a white whale that I could never catch. I followed the family along a row of vegetation down the edge of the pond. The parents took turns feeding their begging fledglings, and I was having trouble keeping up. I spotted one fledgling on a perch on the other side of the hedge and got into position, lining up a shot through the branches. In a couple of seconds, the kingbird had scarfed down the dragonfly and began begging again.
  1. Cooper’s Hawk by Deborah Roy

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/400 second at f/4; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: I captured this image on a gorgeous fall evening right around sunset. I was sitting in my backyard keeping an eye out for fall migrants. I noticed this beautiful juvenile Cooper’s Hawk roosting in one of my maple trees also keeping an eye on the birds. This frame was taken as the hawk raised its foot to rest on one leg. I chose to crop the image so that the focal point of the image was the feet and talons of the hawk. The warm back-lit glow of the golden leaves of the maple tree really complements the yellow pencil-like legs and feet of this beautiful young hawk.
  1. Brown Creeper by Mike Timmons

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Rustler Park, Douglas, Arizona
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.0; ISO 2500
  • Behind the Shot: My brother and I finally made it out for another guys’ trip. As always, this meant birding. We had not been to Arizona together since we were teenagers, and it was fun to relive the nostalgia while building new memories. It was monsoon season in the state, and the swollen creeks kept us from the higher elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains. On our last day there, the road was re-opened. The Red-faced and Olive Warblers had already moved to lower elevations, and it was late in the day, so the birding was pretty slow. We got out of the car to a mixed flock foraging along the road. My attention was drawn to the pair of Brown Creepers, who were busy working the mottled pine bark scorched by fire years prior.
  1. Black Skimmer by Elizabeth Sanger

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Marco Island, Florida
  • Camera: Canon EOS 80D with a Sigma 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens; 1/320 second at f/13; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: Late one afternoon on a windy, cool day I went to the beach in front of my hotel and discovered a flock of Black Skimmers—hundreds of them huddled tightly together, facing the same direction. Occasionally they would take flight en masse, circle the water, and then land again. What made the scene so extraordinary was the sheer number of birds, as well as the striking design created by their black and white bodies contrasting with their bright orange beaks and legs. When viewed in profile, the birds’ colors created one kind of visual pattern, and when viewed head-on, as in this photo, they looked completely different—almost like penguins. I admired the skimmers’ patience, distinct appearance, and apparent camaraderie.
  1. Razorbill by Keith Kennedy

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Grimsey Island, Iceland
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 1 with a Sony FE 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens; 1/2500 second at f/6.3; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: On a recent bird photography trip to Iceland, our small group spent five days on Grimsey, a small island off the coast. Puffins and Razorbills nest in underground burrows atop high cliffs that overlook the ocean. The adults forage for sand eels and other small fish and return with their meals dangling from their beaks. I stood on the cliffs hoping to photograph the birds in flight, which is a challenge. Keeping such fast flyers centered in the viewfinder proved the hardest part as they zoomed by. I studied their flight behavior and learned to spot good candidates while panning at just the right speed.
  1. Mallard by Hector Cordero

Category: Professional

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/160 sec at f/5.6; ISO 400
  • Behind the Shot: On the day I took this photograph, the temperature was -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, I spent more than 12 hours photographing the birds in the area. My hands froze and I couldn’t feel my fingers, but I loved the experience of being alone with the animals in nature. In the world of birds, males have bright and flashy colors and tend to be more photographed. Instead, I mainly focused my attention on females. I liked the light to dark brown patterns in this female Mallard’s plumage and the snowflakes that fell over its mottled body.
  1. Willet, Sanderling, and Black-bellied Plover by Amiel Hopkins

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Cape Point, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/500 second at f/18; ISO 500
  • Behind the Shot: The Outer Banks are a magical place. An extensive and remote chain of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras is most impressive of all of them, separated from the mainland by a full 30 miles. The sun sank lower and lower over the dunes of the island’s easternmost beach until the landscape bathed in a golden glow. I could see scattered shorebirds roosting for the night among the beach and dunes, but the sun setting in front of me barred me from the typical shot. I changed my settings to capture the birds in silhouette and zoomed out to get them in their environment. I love the look of the dunes and distant crashing waves, making the birds appear like giants towering above an immense landscape.
  1. Sandhill Crane by Isabel Guerra Clark

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
  • Camera: Canon EOS R6 with a RF24-105mm f/4 lens; 1/250 second at f/8; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: My friend and I drove to Bosque del Apache in November to photograph the annual migration, when thousands of birds arrive for the winter months. The drought had dried out this area significantly and very few ponds existed. Cranes, ducks, and other birds, however, still came by the tens of thousands and did not mind the people who were watching. On our last day at the refuge, we went to one of the ponds that remained and saw a spectacular sunset that I captured in this photograph. The low light required that I use a much higher ISO to have enough shutter speed not to blur the birds.
  1. Anna’s Hummingbird by Dominic Wang

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Pleasanton, California
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: I noticed this female hummingbird flying low and frequently visiting a moss lawn. It didn’t take long to find her nest. I hoped to photograph the moment when she picked up some nesting materials from the ground, so I found a good spot to lie down on my stomach, set up my exposure to capture the bird in flight, and waited. Shortly after, she flew back to the site, dived to the moss lawn, and picked up a piece with her long beak.
  1. Bald Eagle by Liron Gertsman

Category: Professional

  • Location: Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 6400
  • Behind the Shot: The annual salmon run on the British Columbia coast brings one of my favorite spectacles in nature: a huge gathering of Bald Eagles. Tens of thousands come to the rivers and streams of southwestern British Columbia, where they scavenge on the carcasses of spawned-out salmon. This past winter, heavy rains and flooding likely meant that many of the salmon carcasses were washed downstream. However, as the waters began to recede, I photographed the eagles that gathered in search of food. Spending the morning waiting on the edge of a river in the rain, I was rewarded when an eagle flew down to a salmon carcass washed up in the grass. Before long, several were squabbling over the carcass.?
  1. Snowy Owl by Dianne Boothe

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Westhampton, New York
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and Tiffen 95mm UV Protector Filter; 1/3200 second and f/6.3; ISO 500
  • Behind the Shot: Snowy Owls are known to come to the east end of Long Island from November through March. But they often stay in the dunes and can be hard to spot. Though they had been on my bucket list to capture—and I clocked many miles searching—I had never been able to photograph one. Finally, however, on a trip to the shore, I saw one looking at me through the beach grass. I was very grateful: It was my last chance to photograph these beautiful birds before I moved to Florida.
  1. White-breasted Nuthatch by Zachary Vaughan

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 1 with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens; 1/250 second at f/4; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: I was walking along one of my favorite trails in the park when I heard the familiar call of a White-breasted Nuthatch. I scanned the area until I noticed it moving down a large oak tree and into a small crevice. I quickly pulled up my camera and began shooting. Apparently I had stumbled onto its secret stash. It quickly pulled out a seed and flew to a higher branch to grab a quick snack. White-breasted Nuthatches are one of my favorite species. Witnessing their quirky behavior and cute mannerisms is a pure treat.
  1. Western Screech-Owl by Maximilian Rabbitt-Tomita

Category: Youth

  • Location: Palo Alto, California
  • Camera: Nikon Z5 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and Nikon FTZ Mount Adapter; 2 seconds at f/7.1; ISO 500
  • Behind the Shot: After setting up my camera facing a Western Screech-Owl’s cavity, I hoped that the bird would come out soon. After all, hiding in the bushes and taking photos in the dark around a few apartment buildings is generally something that I don’t want to be doing for too long. After the sun went down, and after a few weird looks were thrown my way, I was just about to take off when I saw a small shadow moving inside of the cavity. The bird was awake! Luckily, I was able to capture some great shots before the owl took off.
  1. Bald Eagle by Jeff Coulter

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Syracuse, New York
  • Camera: Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens; 1/1600 second at f/11; ISO 3200
  • Behind the Shot: Every year, Bald Eagles come to Onondaga Lake in Syracuse. The local water treatment plant keeps a small patch of the lake ice-free, attracting more than 50 Bald Eagles to the surrounding trees. Some eagles catch their own fish while others look for a chance to take an easy meal from an unsuspecting neighbor. I captured this scene as one eagle carried her catch toward the trees, the second following close behind. I remember back in the late 1970s when only one pair of nesting eagles remained in upstate New York. Thanks to ground-breaking conservation efforts, hundreds of pairs now nest here—and the numbers continue to grow. That near-loss and remarkable recovery of this beautiful species continues to make every sighting feel like a gift.
  1. Pacific Loon by Joe Gliozzo

Category: Professional

  • Location: Anchorage, Alaska
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at F5.6; ISO 2500
  • Behind the Shot: After traveling from New Jersey to Anchorage in July, I met up with a friend and photographer who treated me to a beautiful few hour at a quiet local lake. We arrived close to 7 p.m., but luckily the sun doesn’t set until after 11 p.m. at that time of year. I saw a pair of Pacific Loons who had the entire lake to themselves. Not for a minute did I mind lying down on the damp water’s edge. Nor did I mind the nasty mosquitoes that stung our flesh. The loons stayed at a distance at first but made their way closer to us as the light eventually faded to night.
  1. Black-capped Chickadee by Steven Robbins

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve, Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 320
  • Behind the Shot: Black-capped Chickadees can be challenging to photograph since they usually don’t sit still for long. Most of the time, when I spot one, I keep on walking to see what else is around. But on this day, the early morning light and background really caught my eye, so I paused to take a few photos. Luckily for me, the chickadee decided to stop just long enough for me to capture this image.
  1. Pacific Golden-Plover by Elliott Bury

Category: Youth

  • Location: Poipu Beach Park, Kaua?i, Hawai’i
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: I found this plover resting in the sand next to a busy parking lot. Since most of the birds in Kaua?i are used to people, it wasn’t disturbed when I quietly laid on the hot sand nearby. Behind me, traffic streamed on a busy road. To my right, cars and people came and went. To my left, dozens of beachgoers played in the sand. In front of me, people visited a public restroom and sat at picnic tables. I felt overwhelmed by the noise and movement and wondered if the plover felt the same. Yet after a few minutes, everything melted away, leaving just me and a beautiful bird in glowing golden light.
  1. Red-tailed Hawk by Ryan Murphy

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Ridgefield, Washington
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 3200
  • Behind the Shot: You’re not allowed to leave your car at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge; instead, you slowly drive around the refuge on a gravel road as the local wildlife go about its business. The skies were clearing after a heavy downpour when I saw a Red-tailed Hawk perched in the middle of a field. She was shaking off the droplets like a dog after a swim and appeared more concerned with getting dry than with the long lens sticking out of the driver’s side window. If you look closely, you can still see water clinging to her brow. I had a chuckle imagining the hawk was annoyed that she let herself get so wet.
  1. Greater Sage-Grouse by Noah Brinkman

Category: Youth

  • Location: Jackson County, Colorado
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 1600
  • Behind the Shot: For the past few years, I have thought that the perfect birthday would start with an early morning at a Greater Sage-Grouse lek. I have an early March birthday, and the lek at that time of year is typically unproductive, with just a few males half-heartedly displaying. Still, I convinced my dad to drive me out as a birthday present. We arrived well before sunrise and discovered three feeding males. I snuck out of the car and laid down on the road to get eye-level shots when the rising sun peeked out from behind the clouds, providing me with stunning golden backlighting as this male displayed. Though my hands nearly froze, I still look back on that day very fondly.
  1. American White Pelican by April Stampe

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Lockport, Manitoba, Canada
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7R III with a Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens and 1.4x teleconverter; 1/2500 at f/8; ISO 320
  • Behind the Shot: A quick drive to a local dam proved worth it when I noticed a large group of pelicans actively fishing. I watched them move as a group, seemingly working together to catch the fish swimming below them. When a fish was caught, however, it became every pelican for itself. The pelicans fought to steal the fish right out of each other’s bills—this struggle resulting in the fish getting away about half of the time. Immediately afterward, the birds would regroup and begin hunting together again. Despite going back multiple times, I never got another opportunity quite like this one.
  1. Wood Stork by Melissa Rowell

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens; 1/400 second at f/7.1; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: On a bitterly cold and windy morning, I considered staying in bed where I was nice and cozy. But I was only staying a week in Hilton Head, so I hopped out of bed. It was low tide, and there was not a bird or human in sight. I pulled up my hood as sand pelted me. I then spotted a lone Wood Stork hunkered down in some vegetation, partially obscured by a dune, just as the rising sun began to peek through clouds. He had an almost ethereal look. I immediately dropped to my knees, hoping I wouldn’t scare him off. When I slowly backed away, I was so grateful for the miracles that nature has in store for us—if we just take the time to look.
  1. Pyrrhuloxia by Danny Hancock

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/1250 second at f/8.0; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: This beautiful female Pyrrhuloxia waited patiently at a feeder while a mob of Red-winged Blackbirds devoured the food. I moved slowly to my left so I could focus on her eye between the branches. Eventually, she caught a break and snuck in to quickly snap up some seed.
  1. Northern Shoveler by Christy Grinton

Category: Amateur

  • Location: George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta, British Columbia
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens; 1/1000 second at f/10; ISO 4000
  • Behind the Shot: Every winter, I take the ferry to Delta on the mainland to visit the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It is a wonderful park where countless migratory birds stop and overwinter. You never know what you will see when you go. The day I went, I was hoping to find Sandhill Cranes. Instead, I saw a large number of Northern Shovelers. That day the ducks were resting and not bothered by the people walking by. I kneeled to get a photo and the duck opened his eye to see what I was doing, making for a wonderful shot. It wasn’t until I got home and processed the image that I noticed how the color of the eye matched the colors of the bottom feathers.
  1. Bufflehead by Garrett Yarter

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Budd Inlet, Olympia, Washington
  • Camera: Nikon D5600 with a Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens; 1/500 second at f/5.6; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: As I walked along the shore of the beautiful Puget Sound, I watched the local Buffleheads socialize, preen, and splash around in the water. A few of them dipped their bills slightly into the water and then rapidly raised their heads, causing a little splash. Over the next two hours I waited to photograph this behavior. To get into position, I had to lie down on a quite smelly saltwater bank. After finally obtaining the desired image, I was delighted to notice that the coloration of the bank on the opposite side of the inlet complemented the iridescence of the Bufflehead’s face.
  1. Common Murre by Lauren Bunker

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Gull Island, Kachemak Bay, Alaska
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 9 with a Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 640
  • Behind the Shot: On our first visit to Homer, Alaska, in September 2021, rough incoming weather and swells on Kachemak Bay nearly canceled a birding tour for me and my mom. After assuring the captain that we had taken anti-nausea tablets and would keep three points of contact with the boat at all times, we set out for Gull Island. Crossing the bay was quite the ride, but we managed to keep our breakfasts down. We were rewarded with time observing a hectic colony of Common Murres.

For more information and Photographs, please view the following link:

Go to the top

The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards: The Top 100 Part1

The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards: The Top 100 Part1

Moments of delight and awe abound in this collection of standout bird photography. Scroll through and learn the story behind each shot.

By The Editors Audubon Magazine  July 13, 2022

Popular Stories

This year almost 2,500 photographers from across the United States and Canada submitted nearly 10,000 photographs and videos to Audubon’s 13th annual Audubon Photography Awards. Reviewing anonymous image and video files, three panels of expert judges selected eight stunning winners and five honorable mentions. (Spoiler alert: It was a great year for grouse).

We couldn’t stop there, with so many more exceptional shots—and exceptional birds—worth sharing. So, we’ve selected 100 additional photos to feature. Displayed in no particular order, these photos give just a taste of birds’ glorious variety. They also showcase a wide array of techniques used by wildlife photographers, as captured in entertaining and thoughtful “behind the shot” stories that accompany each image.

We hope these photos and anecdotes may inspire you to pick up a camera and capture your own unique avian moments. Be sure to peruse our photography section as you get started, including tips and how-to’s, Audubon’s ethical guidelines for wildlife photography, and gear recommendations. And remember to look out for the announcement of next year’s awards entry period in January 2023. Maybe it could be your shot that makes the cut.

  1. American Woodcock by Hector Cordero

Category: Professional

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/1600 second at f/5.6; ISO 4000
  • Behind the Shot: I was monitoring the migration of American Woodcocks, one of the most frequent collision victims in New York City, when I found this bird. I spent hours photographing him as he looked for food between bushes and leaves. I decided to lie down on the ground and wait for the bird to come out into the open. Just minutes before dusk, he turned to face me and started walking. I rushed to get the correct parameters, focus, and composition. At that moment, my efforts paid off. I hope my photo will be useful for raising awareness about collisions and solutions to prevent them, such as installing bird-friendly glass.
  1. Black Phoebe by Raechel Lee

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Los Gatos, California
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1000 second at f/7.1; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: On a summer morning, I noticed this browner-than-usual Black Phoebe perched near a lake’s edge. Looking at it through the viewfinder revealed more distinctive colors and textures in its plumage: some rusty fringing near its nape and upper back and fluffy side feathers that—though by no means unorderly—seemed resolute in maintaining their own disposition. It was only upon reviewing the photos that I saw a surprise visitor who had snuck in to pose with this little flycatcher.
  1. Black-and-white Warbler by Christy Frank

Category: Professional

  • Location: Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: While many people race through the Lake Erie area to find the more colorful migrant birds, I’ve found that simply sitting in one location quietly will help me blend into the habitat. In September, I watched as a Black-and-white Warbler appeared and feasted on insects along a branch. I hoped the bird would move into a patch of sunlight illuminated in this lush habitat. When it did, I lifted my camera to capture this beautifully patterned bird that seemed to glow on its own little branched stage. I relish observing behavior and spending time with birds that many overlook. Moments like this bring such joy, and I feel so connected to the natural world.
  1. Great Gray Owl by Benjamin Olson

Category: Professional

  • Location: Near Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: In winter 2019, just before COVID-19 hit, I had one of the most remarkable weeks of my 16-year photography career. I was notified of a place where at least five Great Gray Owls were wintering, and I had to go see them for myself. On that first morning, I arrived just before sunrise to see everything covered in hoarfrost, which remained on the trees all day. Immediately after this owl hunted in front of me, it headed to this stand of red pines. I didn’t go more than five minutes without an owl in sight throughout the day, which is one I still dream of.
  1. Sanderling by Jeremy Rehm

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague, Virginia
  • Camera: Canon EOS R6 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/800 second at f/4; ISO 400
  • Behind the Shot: I drove three hours to Chincoteague Island for my first real venture into photographing shorebirds. I wanted to capture photos at sunrise, but it wasn’t until my last morning that I got the chance. I plopped down on the sand on my belly near some seafoam and ahead of a long line of Sanderlings probing for food down the shoreline. When the birds finally came near, I had a hard time keeping up with them. Sanderlings’ little legs seem to go a mile a minute, but this one took a short breather right at the edge of the seafoam. It was a beautiful and serene moment before the Sanderling sprinted into the sea foam and continued its search for food.
  1. Bonaparte’s Gull by John Troth

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Point No Point County Park, Kitsap County, Washington
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/1000 second at f/7.1; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: In early March, hundreds of Bonaparte’s Gulls gather in Puget Sound far out from shore, resting on the water’s surface and taking short foraging flights along it. Just before I took the photo, hundreds of the gulls took flight simultaneously, flying low over the water in the direction of my camera. I tracked this large group as the gulls approached. Just before reaching my location, the birds started to gradually gain altitude, rising and passing as a synchronized group.
  1. Tree Swallow by Sarah Devlin

Category: Professional

  • Location: Harwich, Massachusetts
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens; 1/2500 second at f/6.3; ISO 320
  • Behind the Shot: I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of photographing swallows. Their speed and agility make them an excellent subject for mastering the technique to capture birds in flight. On this sunny spring day, while out photographing birds at a local park, I noticed a Tree Swallow collecting pine needles and delivering them to a nest box nearby. I lay down on the ground, dug my elbows in, and waited to capture that magical moment.
  1. Anna’s Hummingbird by Stephen Cassady

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Limekiln Canyon Park, Porter Ranch, California
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a6000 with a Sony E 55-210mm F/4.5-6.3 OSS lens; f 6.3; ISO 320
  • Behind the Shot: On every trip I had taken to Limekiln, I saw the most beautiful hummingbirds but only got awful shots of them. One day after work, when an Anna’s Hummingbird flew in from the shadows and paused in front of me, I decided that was the day. Still wearing my tie, I followed the bird up and down the dry creek bed. When I put my camera down, the hummingbird darted right back over and stopped two feet from my face. I snapped a few more shots before she flew off. It took hundreds of shots, eight ounces of sweat, and any respect the local hikers had for me, but I finally got this photo. It was worth it.
  1. Village Weaver by Maria Khvan

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Maasai Mara, Narok, Kenya
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens and a monopod; 1/8000 second at f/4; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: The first thing I noticed when I arrived at my campsite at Maasai Mara National Park was a loud chirping coming from a large acacia tree. When I walked toward the tree, I saw a colony of Village Weaver birds working hard on their intricately woven nests. The males gathered grasses and small tree leaves around the campsite and used them as building material. I spend my afternoon taking action photos. This was one of my favorites because the bird is sitting inside the nest, but you can still see its eye peeking out.
  1. Blue Jay by Marie Read

Category: Professional

  • Location: Cornell Botanic Gardens, Ithaca, New York
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 with a Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/2500 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: Every autumn, I go to a local park to photograph Blue Jays that visit a grove of oak trees, gathering acorns that they carry off and hide for winter food supply. I’ve documented this vital survival behavior many times but rarely have had the opportunity to portray it artistically—until one special morning. I focused on a low-flying jay and was panning with it when it flew behind a sumac tree, whose out-of-focus leaves formed a dream-like wash of color between the camera and the subject. I kept shooting, trusting the camera to maintain focus on the now partially obscured bird, but not quite knowing what I would get. Examining the sequence of images afterwards, I was thrilled by the abstract appearance. A distant American Robin completes the composition.
  1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Corey Raffel

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Carborro, North Carolina
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/5.6; ISO 400
  • Behind the Shot: While trying to take photos of Eastern Bluebirds (a lifer for me), I noticed a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (also a lifer for me) feeding on sage. When I later looked at the photos I took, I was surprised to see yellow on the bird’s head. A closer look revealed it to be pollen. An even closer look showed that the plant’s anthers were perfectly positioned to deposit pollen on the bird’s head as the bird reached deeply into the flower to get to the nectar. I further noticed how the flower’s stigma was touching the back of the hummingbird’s head, perfectly positioned to receive pollen when the hummingbird backed out of the bloom. I could not help but be astounded at this wonderful example of coevolution of plant and bird. Both species benefit from the arrangement.
  1. Northern Flicker by Jeffrey Kauffman

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens; 1/4000 second at f/4; ISO 6400
  • Behind the Shot: This was my second year photographing Northern Flickers as they raised their chicks. The most challenging part was trying to get both mom and dad in the same frame during feeding—they shoot out of their nest cavity like rockets. After a few days, I caught on to their routines. I intentionally kept the camera in silent shutter mode to use the rolling shutter, giving an effect on the fast-moving wings of being a little curved. I really like the effect and continue to use when I can. When the Northern Flickers show up in the spring, they become the main talking point in our home for the next few months.
  1. Great Gray Owl by Tom Haarman

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with an Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO lens and a Marumi 77mm DHG Lens Protect Filter; 1/640 second at f/4.0; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: My buddy Rob and I were driving some range roads just out of town when we spotted the Great Gray Owl. As we slowly approached, we noticed that she was calling ever so softly. I was about to record a video when we saw another Great Gray Owl down the fence line. I quickly adjusted my camera, thinking there was going to be a territorial dispute. I started shooting as the new owl flew toward the one closer to me. I got goosebumps when I saw it had a vole in its beak. The second owl hovered on the fence post, passed it to the first, and left. Seeing this moment was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. When I look at this image, I see a love story. We should all be so lucky to have someone in our life who loves and cares for us as much as these two care for each other.
  1. Mariana Crow by Trenton Voytko

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Rota, Northern Mariana Islands
  • Camera: Nikon D3200 with a Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/320 second at f/6.3; ISO 3200
  • Behind the Shot: Micronesia’s only member of the Corvid family, Åga—the Chamorro word for the Mariana Crow—are endemic to the island of Rota. Previously they were also found on Guam, but the Brown Tree Snake’s introduction in the 1950s resulted in their extirpation. Now only about 200 Åga exist in the limestone jungles of Rota, where they’re critically endangered and face an uncertain future. Among Åga, this bird is special: She’s part of a rear-and-release program to bolster the wild population. A rustling in the canopy turned my attention to the treetops; there, looking down through the canopy, the bird made eye contact, her gaze soft and inquisitive as she gave my Nikon a once-over. Hopefully she and her fellow release cohort will revitalize the Åga’s population.
  1. Anna’s Hummingbird by Matthew Leaman

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7R II with a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports lens; 1/200 second at f/6.3; ISO 3200
  • Behind the Shot: In December 2021, Seattle experienced an unusually long cold and snowy spell. I had two feeders wrapped in Christmas lights to provide thawed nectar, and two others that I brought in at night. The feeder that this bird defended is outside the window where I work from home. As it started to snow one day, I took a break to take some photos. Since it was so cold, this hummingbird wanted to stay near the feeder and was easy to capture. I was excited when I saw the perfect little snowflake on his head in this image. I love to see if people notice it at first glance and then experience their disbelief and awe that such beauty can be found at home.
  1. American Flamingo by Brynna Cooke

Category: Amateur

  • Location: The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, Key West, Florida
  • Camera: Canon EOS 90D with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/800 second at f/5.6; ISO 2500
  • Behind the Shot: Rhett, a male American Flamingo, was courting another flamingo in a pond. He shook his head back and forth, dipped his long neck, and displayed his fabulous colors. He followed me around the pond, shaking his head about three feet from the lens. I got the impression he enjoyed getting his photo taken (or seeing his reflection in the lens). Patience and luck are the true winners of this photo as he would not remain still. Flocks of American Flamingos used to be regular visitors to the Florida Keys. Today there are virtually none, and the few that are here have escaped from zoos. Rhett reminds Key West visitors of the beautiful birds we have displaced from paradise.
  1. Prothonotary Warbler by Don Wuori

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Audubon Beidler Forest Center and Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina
  • Camera: Nikon D5 with a NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E; 1/2500 second at f/5.6; ISO 51,200
  • Behind the Shot: I was fortunate enough to locate and photograph an active Prothonotary Warbler pair feeding its chicks in the eerily still, quiet, and almost mystical Audubon Beidler Forest Sanctuary. The forest’s serenity was occasionally shattered by the hoots of a Barred Owl, but more frequently by the flash of the bright yellow bird coming to enter a cypress knee, where the hidden nest was barely visible from the boardwalk. It was exciting to see adults bringing insects to feed hungry chicks or carrying out fecal sacs. When one would enter with an insect, the chicks occasionally popped up with their mouths wide open. My fast shutter speed combined with the low light led me to do something I very rarely do—photograph the scene at a very high ISO using a tripod-mounted DSLR camera and a long telephoto lens.
  1. Carolina Wren by Eaton Ekarintaragun

Category: Youth

  • Location: Chesapeake Beach, Calvert County, Maryland
  • Camera: Sony NEX-7 with a Sony DT 55-300mm F/4.5-5.6 SAM lens; 1/125 second at f/5.6; ISO 1600
  • Behind the Shot: One evening in early winter, I noticed a Carolina Wren calling with agitation. Curious, I headed closer and found two birds: one hopping around and a second suspended upside down, its foot trapped in the fork of a twig. As I slowly approached the trapped wren, the first bird flew off into a nearby shrub. I carefully watched it for any signs of distress and noticed the beautiful backlight on the bird’s face from the setting sun. I quickly raised my camera to capture the unique perspective on a common species. Then I gently wrapped my hand around the bird’s folded wings, loosened its foot, and watched joyfully as the wren flew from my hand across the trail to rejoin its partner, unharmed.
  1. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Peregrine Falcon by Chris Saladin

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/2000 second; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: My husband and I monitor fledging peregrines in Ohio, typically arriving as early in the morning as possible. But this pair nested on the bridge inside our Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, so we couldn’t get inside until the zoo opened. When we checked the nest and saw that the fledgling was already gone, we toured the zoo and found the juvenile perched on an artificial lily pad, part of a zoo display. She seemed eager to make another flight from this low position until a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers dive-bombed her, repeatedly pecking her with their bills, tapping her with their feet, and lifting the tufts of down from her crown. We ended up talking quite a bit about peregrines with zoo members and staff as the gnatcatchers continued to pelt her.
  1. Black Skimmer by Tim Timmis

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Port Bolivar, Texas
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/500 second at f/5.6; ISO 6400
  • Behind the Shot: I saw this Black Skimmer flying toward a group of terns and skimmers directly in front of me. I tracked the skimmer as it came in for a landing. It brought its wings together above his head a few inches before touching down. The position makes it seem like its wings have morphed into one larger wing over its head. You never know what you are going to get with wildlife photography, which keeps me coming back for more.
  1. Brandt’s Cormorant by Adriana Greisman

Category: Amateur

  • Location: La Jolla Cove, San Diego, California
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/1250 second at f/8.0; ISO 400
  • Behind the Shot: While exploring the area around the walkway near La Jolla Cove, I spotted a colony of nesting Brandt’s Cormorants. Photographing here can be challenging because the colony is on the edge of a cliff. To get this shot, I stood on tiptoe and leaned over. The area is full of debris ranging from twigs and other nest-building material to shrubbery and copious bird droppings. Most of these birds were sitting on nests, but this one male was sitting by himself, spreading his wings and tilting his head back to display his bright blue gular pouch in hopes of attracting a female. Unfortunately for this bird, the only female he seemed to attract was this photographer.
  1. Royal Tern by Joseph Przybyla

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens; 1/3200 second at f/5.6; ISO 720
  • Behind the Shot: I was at the north beach in Fort De Soto Park when I saw a group of terns diving for fish. They took one of two actions: If when diving they missed the fish, they flew higher and shook and shimmied to dry their feathers. If the tern successfully caught a fish, it flew higher and flipped the fish, caught it head-first, and swallowed it. I focused on where a tern splashed into the water, followed it as it rose from the water, and hoped the bird and fish would be aligned for a great image. I did this over and over, getting better at timing the activity with each dive. This image was the best of the series, the bird’s wing position and head perfectly angled.
  1. American Avocet by Sadie Hine

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Mountain View, California
  • Camera: Canon EOS 90D with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC G2 lens; 1/320 second at f/9; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: One cloudy day in January, I decided to head to my local birding spot along the San Francisco Bay. I had been watching a group of American Avocets in the same place regularly, so I made sure to see what they were up to. The entire scene of nearly 100 birds was very black and white, a result of the weather and the birds’ winter plumage. But one of the birds stood out in full breeding plumage, its ruddy brown feathers hidden behind the other birds. It wasn’t something I expected to see in January.
  1. Mute Swan by Jeff Moore

Category: Professional

  • Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and a Canon Extender 1.4x III; 1/800 second at f/5.6; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: I was shooting various waterbirds on the shore of Chicago’s Lincoln Park North Pond when this Mute Swan slowly swam towards me. It had been feeding in the pond by sticking its long neck underwater in the mud. The dark, gumbo-like mud stuck to its head, creating a pattern that looked similar to the fire-flames on old hot rods. When the bird glided by, it looked as me as though it was beautifully badass, seemingly unaware its elegance was, well, muddied.
  1. Common Raven by Shane Kalyn

Category: Professional

  • Location: Canadian Mount Seymour Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/7.1; ISO 900
  • Behind the Shot: Every winter I visit the local mountains surrounding Vancouver to see ravens during their courtship time. Some behaviors are quite beautiful to witness, especially knowing that they mate for life. They chase each other around in the air and on the ground, delicately preen each other’s feathers, and exchange gifts like small rocks, twigs, moss, and lichens. This pair took a break from chasing each other around the treetops and landed close to where I stood. I got on my stomach in the snow to photograph them. After walking around for a bit, they stopped to inspect each other’s beaks, picking off small pieces of dirt and snow. The best part, though, were the sounds they made, talking to each other in soft and subtle caws.
  1. American Avocet by Tim Timmis

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Bolivar Flats Audubon Shorebird Sanctuary, Texas
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/640 second at f/7.1; ISO 6400
  • Behind the Shot: My favorite method to take shorebird photos is to lie on the wet mudflats at Bolivar Flats on the Texas Gulf Coast using a ground pod to get eye level with the birds. They do not recognize you as a person and will get very close. This lone avocet was riding the waves while walking though the water. This photo gives the illusion that I was in the water, but I was actually lying on the shoreline of a sandbar. What I love about this shot is the water swirling around the avocet’s neck, which gives it a magical feel.
  1. Bald Eagle by Kazuto Shibata

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Bow, Washington
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/1600 second at f/5.6; ISO 160
  • Behind the Shot: I saw an adult Bald Eagle and a juvenile fighting for food while I was driving. I quickly pulled over to watch and photograph the battle, which looked to be over a dead gull. The adult eagle snatched the meal from the young eagle and started flying toward me just as I got the shot.
  1. Killdeer by Lisa Sproat

Category: Amateur

  • Location: King County, Washington
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/2500 at f/4; ISO 500
  • Behind the Shot: I was walking through an urban park one evening when I spotted a small group of Killdeer foraging for worms along the lakeshore. I got belly-down in the mud to get a better angle. Through the viewfinder, I noticed that, as the birds moved through the mudflats, they kicked up little clouds of shore flies, which glowed in the afternoon light. Nothing in this scene was particularly beautiful taken from a wide-angle perspective; I loved how getting in tight to the macro world shows how special any moment in nature can be.
  1. Snowy Owl by Simon d’Entremont

Category: Professional

  • Location: Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/2000 second at f/4.5; ISO 3200
  • Behind the Shot: I came across this Snowy Owl in the evening, perched high on a snow-covered dune near the ocean. When I noticed that the sunset was getting quite colorful, I positioned myself where the setting sun would be behind the bird. I knew that the owl would likely leave soon to hunt. I stayed low so as not to disturb the bird and waited. When the owl stretched and pooped (an actual bird photography tip, as large birds will often do this before leaving a perch), I knew it was time. Just as the owl took off, I fired off a number of shots.
  1. Wilson’s Plover by Cynthia Barbanera-Wedel

Category: Professional

  • Location: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a B+W 77mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 Filter; 1/8000 second at f/5.6; ISO 800
  • Behind the Shot: I was lying on my stomach with my elbows resting in the wet sand as I watched this Wilson’s Plover bathe. The bird shook off its wings and took flight as I released my continuous shutter. I love its wing position, the layers of color in the sand, and saltwater spray behind it. At Fort De Soto, there are usually a myriad of birds around, but I’m partial to the plovers. So many people seem to walk the beaches without seeing them at all; I love the idea of shooting what others may not even notice.
  1. Anna’s Hummingbird by Michael Armour-Johnson

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Lakewood, Washington
  • Camera: Canon EOS 90D with a Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/1250 at f/6.3; ISO 4000
  • Behind the Shot: I stood out on a third-floor patio, camera gear at hand, in a light rainstorm. Looking down, I noticed a hummingbird bathing in the water pooling on shrub leaves. Sensing a photo opportunity, I took several photographs as the bird twisted and turned, wiping her head on the shiny leaves.
  1. Mallard by Alexander Eisengart

Category: Youth

  • Location: Beachwood, Ohio
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a6400 with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens; 1/500 second at f/2.8; ISO 100
  • Behind the Shot: Every spring, summer, and fall, local Mallards come to my patio for a snack at sunset and eat the birdseed we put out. Most of these birds are released domestic Mallards, but some, like this one, were born in the wild. One day at sunset, I decided that I wanted a photo of this guy, one of our largest and most dominant males. I went out, lined up my shot, and took his portrait.
  1. Superb Starling by Maria Khvan

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Serengeti National Park, Arusha, Tanzania
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens; 1/6400 second at f/5; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: I was sitting at a campsite in Serengeti National Park between safari tours when I aimed to take an “in flight” photo of any bird I saw. After a few minutes, I saw a Superb Starling land on a nearby acacia tree. I set my camera to a fast shutter speed and focused on the bird. As soon as I saw it getting ready to fly, I took as many photos as I could. This shot was my favorite because the bird looks slightly evil.
  1. Least Tern by Shijun Pan

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Garnier Bayou, Fort Walton Beach, Florida
  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with a 300mm f/4.0 lens; 1/1600 second at f/4.5; ISO 500
  • Behind the Shot: Every spring, little terns play, fly, feed, and mate around my backyard dock in the bayou. They are highly elusive, always splashing and diving into water to catch prey or hurriedly perform aerial displays. I spotted a male and female through my window one morning and ran outside to set up my camera. Just in time, I captured them sharing a small fish atop of a piece of driftwood. This quick moment backlit by the glow of a bayou sunrise brought me a sense of gratitude for the beauty nature continually provides.
  1. Canada Jay by John Welch

Category: Amateur

  • Location: White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens; 1/2000 second at f/6.3; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: In winter, the world above 4,000 feet in the White Mountains is brutally cold but enchanting. Impressively, Canada Jays will mate, nest, and raise chicks up here between February and early April, when temperatures are still below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and the forest is buried in snow and encased in rime ice. I made the 6-mile roundtrip hike with 2,200 feet of vertical gain on a 10-degree January morning to photograph this bird. The biggest challenge was standing still in the biting wind, and I routinely stuffed my hands under my clothes to regain feeling in them. It paid off when this Canada Jay landed on the top of a stunted spruce tree, shattering delicate rime ice crystals.
  1. Green Jay by Matthew Gutt

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Los Fresnos, Texas
  • Camera: Nikon D7100 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and tripod; 1/160 second at f/5.6; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: As a seasonal wildlife technician with the National Park Service, I explore many places while working to protect wildlife. On assignment in Padre Island National Seashore, I spent my off time exploring state parks and local preserves. I spent many weekends searching for the beautiful Green Jay with no luck. Then one spring morning, as the sun filled the horizon, I heard the song I had been seeking. I followed the notes to a grouping of trees and shrubs. Within minutes I spotted my first Green Jay erratically hopping in the thick, low-hanging branches. I set up my tripod, and as I finished tightening the last latch, the erratic movement finally fell still.
  1. Vermilion Flycatcher by Cynthia Lockwood

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Brazos Bend State Park, Needville, Texas
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/200 second at f/9; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: I spent the day hiking and taking photos of the many marsh dwellers, including birds and alligators. As the day was ending, I climbed to the top of the observation tower to photograph the sunset. Right away I noticed a male Vermilion Flycatcher flying back and forth from a tree branch as it snatched insects in midair. I switched from a wide-angle to a telephoto lens to better capture his antics.
  1. Red-crowned Cranes by Marti Phillips

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Setsuri River, Tsurui Village, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/800 second at f/8.0; ISO 400
  • Behind the Shot: Although deeply entrenched in Japanese culture, the Red-crowned Crane was on the brink of extinction until strong conservation efforts brought it back. More than half of the world’s population can now be found in eastern Hokkaido. Many roost overnight in the middle of this river on the island. On a winter morning, in what was probably the coldest temperature that I had ever experienced, I got up early to catch the first light on the river. This shot was taken just as the sun’s rays appeared from over the horizon, casting a spotlight on the birds as they awoke and flew off to the fields to feed.
  1. Canada Goose by Thirumalai Suresh

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Shoreline Lake, Mountain View, California
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 600mm f/4 FL ED VR lens; 1/2500 second at f/4; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: I was hoping to capture ducks in the beautiful morning light, but a flock of Canada Geese near the lake caught my attention. One dipped its beak into the water, and I instantly wanted to capture its grace. I adjusted my camera settings and laid flat on the ground to get eye-level shots. While I changed my settings, another goose approached a spot with perfect lighting and started dipping its head in the water as well. I fired a flurry of shots and captured the goose’s direct gaze with the water droplets, its reflection in the lake.
  1. Wood Duck by Liron Gertsman

Category: Professional

  • Location: Delta, British Columbia, Canada
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon EF EOS R Mount Adapter; 1/160 second at f/14; ISO 2500
  • Behind the Shot: Seeing a day of torrential rain in the forecast, I headed out to a local wildlife refuge to photograph ducks in the elements. I had been working on a series of photos capturing details in the feathers of ducks for quite some time, so I was looking forward to this opportunity to capture birds with water droplets on their bodies. I saw a male Wood Duck sitting up on a fence, overlooking a large slough. I approached slowly and focused on his droplet-covered back. When people think of places with beautiful, brightly colored birds, they tend to think of the tropics. Spectacular birds can be found just about anywhere though.
  1. Black Skimmer by Marie Read

Category: Professional

  • Location: Nickerson Beach Park, New York
  • Camera: Sony Alpha a9 with a Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 4000
  • Behind the Shot: This image was captured near a tern and skimmer breeding colony at a popular beach on the southern shore of Long Island, where the birds are fairly tolerant of people. Late one afternoon, I turned my attention to flight shots of skimmers arriving with fish to feed their young, zooming in for closeups. Under these conditions, it’s a struggle to keep the bird properly framed, but at one point, I managed to capture several shots of a skimmer flying directly toward me. Several things clinched this shot as my favorite: the unusual front view, the symmetry of the wings at the peak of the upstroke, the shallow depth of field, drawing attention to the bird’s eyes, and, of course, the hapless fish.
  1. Marbled Godwit by Josiah Launstein

Category: Youth

  • Location: Frank Lake, Alberta, Canada
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/7.1; ISO 1000
  • Behind the Shot: I was photographing shorebirds and waterfowl at one of my favorite wetland areas when a pair of Marbled Godwits caught my eye. As one preened, the other waded in the shallows. I followed this godwit with my lens as it worked along the edge of the reeds. Suddenly, it decided to take a full bath. It dropped down into the water and submerged its head and neck, then tossed the water everywhere. I was lying in the mud along the opposite bank and timed my shot to when its beak was perfectly perpendicular to the surface. I like how it isn’t immediately clear what you’re looking at in the resulting image.
  1. Red-breasted Nuthatch by James MacKenzie

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Salmon Point, Vancouver Island, Canada
  • Camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 1600
  • Behind the Shot: In my first winter since moving to Vancouver Island, the weather was overcast, damp, and windy. At the end of a long birding walk along the Pacific Ocean, I first heard the typical (and adorable) honking of a Red-breasted Nuthatch. When I spotted it foraging industriously along the pine cones of a Douglas fir next to my car, I quickly positioned myself to avoid my photographic nemesis: a white background. My only other option was a building currently under construction. I always try to integrate color into my backgrounds and creative decisions like using manmade structures often yield rewards.
  1. Bald Eagle by Suresh Easwar

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park, New York, New York
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/1000 second at f/8; ISO 2000
  • Behind the Shot: For two weeks in January 2022, a Bald Eagle terrorized the denizens of the reservoir in New York City’s Central Park. The eagle, banded “R7” in 2018 by Connecticut Fish and Wildlife, would swoop in and snare gulls in mid-flight. One frigid morning, I walked to the reservoir, which had nearly completely iced over. The sun had just risen, and I saw the eagle in the distance, defeathering and devouring its prey on the ice. I ran as quickly as I could with my heavy gear and positioned myself. The surface of the icy reservoir shimmered golden-yellow from the sunlight that reflected off skyscraper window glass. I bumped up the ISO to 2000 and set my camera to the highest burst rate it allowed. As the eagle took off, it left feathers, viscera, and other body parts from its kill strewn below.
  1. Trumpeter Swan by Natalie Behring

Category: Professional

  • Location: Kelly Warm Springs, Wyoming
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 100
  • Behind the Shot: It was bitterly cold on New Year’s Day 2021, and it took a lot of willpower to bundle up and drive over the Teton Pass, but I wanted to start the year off with some nice photos. I wandered down the road to Kelly, where I thought I might see some moose. When I passed a warm spring, which normally looks like an ordinary pond, I saw mist coming off the water and swans swimming. I scrambled out of the car. My fingers froze immediately, but I still spent 20 minutes taking photos, only going back into my car to warm up and wait for the sun get lower in the sky. When I saw the setting sun had turned the mist yellow, I got this photo as a swan stretched its wings.
  1. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron by Caleb Hoover

Category: Youth

  • Location: Sarasota, Florida
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 600mm F/4L IS USM lens; 1/1000 second at f/4; ISO 400
  • Behind the Shot: A small Yellow-crowned Night-Heron had found a home in a small stretch of mangroves surrounded by tall buildings, a busy road, and boat traffic. He seemed relatively undisturbed by the hectic surroundings. I had watched this bird hunt and chase off younger herons from his coveted hunting grounds. After a successful crab catch, the satisfied heron began preening, his breeding plumes blowing in the air. To reach him in front of the mangroves, I army crawled to my subject. The short distance felt like an eternity. Once I lined myself up, the heron composed himself and did a post-preen shake to align his gorgeous plumage.
  1. Clark’s Grebe by Dakota Lamberson

Category: Youth

  • Location: Santa Margarita Lake, Santa Margarita, California
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/6400 second at f/5.6; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: Ever since I first saw grebes rushing at a lake near my home, I have wanted to capture the courting behavior. When I attempted to photograph them from the shore, though, they would never rush close enough. I noticed that fishing boats that moved right by them didn’t scare the birds, so I decided to try kayaking. After several outings, I realized the best time to see grebes rushing in good light was in the morning. I got up early and launched my kayak while most grebes were still sleeping, their heads tucked under their wings. I paddled near a group while staying distant so I didn’t force them to move and positioned myself with the sun behind me. Hours later they became more active, and this pair rushed right past me!
  1. Austral Pygmy-Owl by Carter Kremer

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Puerto Natales, Chile
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 1250
  • Behind the Shot: While living in Chile, I struck out multiple times looking for this tiny owl. Finally, I had luck on the evening of my birthday. I got okay photos but decided to come back later that week to see if I could get luckier. To my surprise, I did. This owl spent an hour hunting between a couple of perches as the beautiful Chilean sun set on the mountains behind it.
  1. Yellow-breasted Chat by Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Irvine, California
  • Camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 640
  • Behind the Shot: Every spring I go to the same spot to rendezvous with a beautiful Yellow-breasted Chat. I wait until the mustard flowers are in full bloom, a wonderful cover for the bird. I carefully scan the area, listening for its whistles, screeches, mew calls, cackles, high-pitched notes, and clucks. After a while, there it is, proud and wonderful, in the open, singing its heart out as if its life depended on it. It gives me its best spring song and shows its vibrant color. My camera is ready, I take a breath to calm down my excitement. Click!
  1. Snowy Owl by David Lei

Category: Amateur

  • Location: Central Park, New York, New York
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 7S III with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens and a Sony FE 2x Teleconverter; 2.5 second at f/8; ISO 8000
  • Behind the Shot: In the winter of 2021, New York’s Central Park had its first reported Snowy Owl in more than 130 years. She perched in this locust tree regularly, so I was able to experiment with different compositions and techniques without disturbing the owl. I found a position several hundred feet away to frame the illuminated windows of a Fifth Avenue apartment building in the background and took this photo using a long exposure without flash. Perched owls can be quite still, and the wind was thankfully not blowing. Given the distance, I used a 600mm lens with a 2x teleconverter, as well as a tripod and remote shutter release. The owl was a symbol of hope and wonder in a city suffering greatly through the pandemic, including me personally. My experience watching her led me to develop a deep passion for urban owls.

For more information and Photographs, please view the following link:

Go to the top

All Black Lives Matter Mural on Halsey Street, Newark, New Jerse

All Black Lives Matter Mural,

Halsey Street, Newark, New Jersey

Photographs by John Watts and Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

In the celebration of Juneteenth becoming a national holiday,“The day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law[7]  (Wikipedia)”,  I would like to congratulate the event by posting the, All Black Lives Matter, mural on Halsey Street, Newark, NJ.  The mural is located in front of Hahne & Company building.  It is in the same block as our building.  On Saturday, June 27, 2020, John and I step out of our building, seeing people working on the mural.  We both ran inside the house and took our equipment; John had his camera and I had my camcorder to record in video and photographs.  John was very clever; he went onto the flat roof of our building and was able to view and take photographs of the whole length of the mural.  I videoed and photographed the event on the street from the beginning to the end of the mural.  We enjoyed seeing the activity.  All types of people, Black, White, Brown and others joining together to accomplish the meaningful mural “All Black Lives Matter”.


For the occasion of the “All Black Lives Matter” mural, which was in the process of being made, I asked my husband, John Watts to display my two artworks of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi on our shop gate.  Both of these great leaders were practitioners of equal rights and non-violence which was the essence of the event. 

This is a lady who lives in one of the Hahne’s apartments.  Her living room is opposite our building, and she came down to view my artworks close up.


The mural was successfully achieved.  Everyone who participated was happy. The mural is the evidence of all humanity organizing and helping one another.  This expresses a need to accomplish the same goal as Equal Rights for all, recognizing that no person or race, should be abused or treated as less valued than others.  

John Watts and Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Wednesday, June 29, 2021

Go to the top

LGBTQ Youths Comment on Ing’s Peace Project

LGBTQ Youths Comment on Ing’s Peace Project

LGBTQ Youths Comment on Ing’s Peace Project & the Photographs at Military Park on Friday, June 28, 2019

I took my grandson to ride his bicycle in the park on Friday, June 28, 2019, I saw two models, photographers and others.  They were taking pictures for the LGBTQ events by Wisetastie Productions. Gmail:

Photographs by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

This occasion makes me think of my Peace Project with LGBTQ youths at Hetrick-Martin Institute which shows as the following:

  Finished “Peace” artwork 10

Shadow of Peace and LGBTQ youths from Hetrick-Martin Institute in Newark, NJ, comments on “What does Peace mean to you?” during fall and winter 2012, organized by Gabriela C. Celeiro, bilingual counselor.  Finished artwork, after the written comments by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

Link to LGBTQ Youth at Hetrick-Martin Institute

LGBTQ Youth At Hetrick-Martin Institute

Ing’s Peace project and LGBTQ Youth

At Hetrick-Martin Institute, Newark, NJ

Comments on “What does Peace mean to you?”

And artworks, during fall and winter 2012

Organized by Gabriela C. Celeiro, Bilingual Counselor

I love flowers, they are beautiful.  I wait for the weather to change till spring then I can go to my backyard garden.  I cultivate my garden seeing the plants rising and growing each day.  Then the magic will come when the flowers show up to greet me.  I can spend hours in my little garden.  To keep the beauty of these flowers in winter when I long to see them I take a lot of pictures.  Thanks to the evolution of digital cameras I can take the photographs and print to give to friends or make a slide show or movie.

 When I sat wanting to compose the finished artwork from the LGBTQ youth comments poster I thought of something beautiful.  I want this group of youths to feel beautiful just like my beautiful flowers.  When we feel beautiful then we feel good.  As long as we feel happy we can do a lot of things no matter what some people say.

Below are the sections of my finished artwork that show the written comments from the LGBTQ youth on “What does Peace mean to you?” on my Peace Project Poster that accompanies beautiful flower images that I took from our backyard garden. 

You Are Beautiful

Life is precious

Life is short 

Enjoy as much as you can

Try to be independent 

But ask when you need help

Help yourself as much as you can 

And help the others as much as you can

That is life 

As long as you try your best

Then you will be worthwhile 

Be kind and be happy

Because you are beautiful 

We are all beautiful

And we are all equal

Lead your life in a harmonious and peaceful way

Because you are beautiful to me

 Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Thursday, March 28, 2013, 10:25 pm

Appreciate simple things around you

Minimize luxury life styles

 Be more concerned with conservation

  Be generous and kind

 Remove ill thought

  Broaden your knowledge

 Learn and do your best

  Understand things beyond yourself

If you are still dissatisfied

 Then sleep and after your rest

 Try again the next day

 Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Saturday, February 9, 2013, 4:38 pm

Equality for All

There will be no Peace

Without equality

If the scale of justice

Is unbalanced

There are always reasons for oppressors

To put others down

At one time women could not own property

And could not vote

And slaves of all races could be sold like cattle

And others historically were also treated wickedly

Humanity has evolved

Using our brains and our knowledge

To progress and change

Change we must!

Equality is balance

Human Rights is for all

And equality is for all 

This will bring peace to the world

 Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Friday, March 29, 2013, 12:03 am

I am glad to know Gabby.  I appreciate her help bringing my Peace Project to the LGBTQ youth.  I even more appreciate her enthusiastic helping to educate the youth.  It requires a special kind of person to undertake the work that she does. 

Ing’s Peace Project & LGBTQ Youth

Link to YouTube:

(7:42 minutes)  

Hi Gabby,  

Thanks for the attachments.  I do love your composition about the LGBTQ youth.  Your writing helps the readers to understand the lives of this group of youths and how they can get themselves into bad situations and become homeless.  My love and my heart go out to these youths.  The help that you and your organization offer to these youngsters is to be complimented and should be recognized as a good example for others to follow.  

I am glad that you have the finished peace project artwork framed and exhibited.  

Please let me know if you would like to work on my peace project with the new classes and the new group of youngsters again.  

I hope you enjoy your summer.  Please stop by when you are near our shop.  

All the best,  


PS. I hope you do not mind; I posted your responses to my email on my website. 


The Hetrick-Martin Institute believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 12 and 24 and their families.

Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin seeks to foster healthy youth development. Hetrick-Martin’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models.

HMI:Newarkis based on the services for LGBTQ youth operated for over 30 years by the Hetrick-Martin Institute inNew York City. Offering counseling and crisis management, health and wellness programming, academic enrichment, job readiness and arts and cultural programming, HMI has implemented its first out-of-state direct service program.

Provides after-school services to LGBTQ youth in the City of Newark

•Mental Health & Supportive Services: support groups for youth-related issues including relationships and “coming out.”

•Health & Wellness: health education groups and referrals for HIV testing, provided by community partners.

•Arts & Culture Programs: service learning programs with a focus on leadership and team building.

Provides a safe and supportive environment for Newark’s LGBTQ youth to reach their full potential

•By collaborating with family and other support systems, we work to engage youth in their own growth and development and get them involved as responsible citizens of their community.

•Available to young people and their families.

•Open weekdays 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm, year round.

•Open to youth between the ages of 12 to 21.

 HMI: Newark (A Demographic Snapshot)

•Multi-ethnic: 42% African Americans, 27% Latin , 4%  Caucasian, 4% West Indian, & 22% Other.

•Serve youth fromNewark, the greaterEssexCounty, and beyond.

•Educational status comprising youth from Junior High: 9%, High School: 82%, College: 7%, & Out of School: 2%.

•53% high school graduates with  47% youth attending college next year.

 HMI: Newark

Located in the Rutgers T.E.E.M. Gateway/YES Center

200 Washington Street

Newark, NJ 07101

 For more information, please contact Juan Williams, LMSW, Site Supervisor, HMI: Newark at or 347-501-2930.

Our Programs & Services

After School Programs

Year-round, in a safe, supportive environment, the Hetrick-Martin Institute’s After-School Services Department provides its youth members (whether they are enrolled in school or not) a wide range of group activities designed to develop social and interpersonal skills and build confidence. Last year our After-School Department reached more than 2,000 LGBTQ youth and their families.

Arts and Culture programs foster self-expression through dance, film, photography, painting, theater, and more.

Health and Wellness programs range from hands-on instruction in how to cook healthy meals to learning more about STDs, fighting stress, and preventing HIV.

Academic Enrichment programs help our LGBTQ youth prep for college, do computer training, get help with homework, or join a book club (among countless activities).

Job Readiness and Career Exploration programs assist in building job skills, writing résumés, and landing internships.

Supportive Services

From the first moment a young person enters HMI, one of our team of professional Supportive Services counselors is there to:

  • Assess the safety of each youth.
  • Offer assistance in getting a meal at Café HMI, getting clothing from our pantry, and finding housing.
  • Provide counseling sessions based on individual needs. Individual, group, and family counseling are available.
  • Make referrals to LGBTQ-sensitive agencies.
  • Provide an opportunity for youth to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to move toward self-sufficiency, self-acceptance, and personal success.
  • Be a part of their care and their family.


HMI Youth Members can take their involvement to the next level through our paid-internship and experiential programs. Learn More

HMI can not accept electronic information from users under the age of 13. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Advocacy and Capacity Building

Advocacy: Educating Decision Makers on Issues Affecting LGBTQ Youth; Providing a voice for those who often go unheard. 
HMI Staff works to provide information and best practices to address the needs of the often disconnected population working with policy makers, government institutions and the community-at-large, advocating on the behalf of LGBTQ youth and those that support them.

Capacity Building: Training and Resources
With over 3 decades of experience, HMI takes its best practices in LGBTQ youth service delivery on the road!  We offer workshops, trainings and seminars in how to serve this unique population.  Our trained staff will work with you and your organization or community to provide a custom-designed training that meets your specific needs.  Workshop topics include, “Building Inclusive Communities,” “Understanding Human Sexuality and Gender Identity,” “Working with LGBTQ Adolescents,” and much more.

PBS NewsHour full episode July 4, 2019

PBS NewsHour  Published on Jul 4, 2019

Thursday on the NewsHour, the United States celebrates its birthday with pomp and presidential campaigning. Plus: Analysis of President Trump’s unprecedented July 4th military display, why national economic data can mask underlying problems, a book about why there’s so much hatred in contemporary politics and how to get past it and an update on President Trump’s speech at the National Mall. WATCH TODAY’S SEGMENTS: Trump faces criticism for July 4th military display… News Wrap: Magnitude 6.4 earthquake shakes Southern Calif.… Why Trump’s 4th of July event is complicated for military… As the U.S. economy rises, so does inequality… A book on why we hate our political enemies–and how to stop… Trump praises military in history-oriented July 4th speech… Stream your PBS favorites with the PBS app: Find more from PBS NewsHour at Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Follow us: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Snapchat: @pbsnews Subscribe: PBS NewsHour podcasts: Newsletters:

Category  News & Politics

Go to the top

John Watts’ Photographs of Street Art, Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York

John Watts’ Photographs of Street Art

Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York

On Sunday, June 26, 2016

These photos taken at the Astoria NYC, street art festival, are intended to reflect a relationship between the art, the people and their environment. I view street art as an ongoing theatrical event requiring all three elements to become a truly complete experience.

John Watts, Saturday, July 09, 2016


Go to the top

Peace Comes To Astoria, Street Art Queens, New York City, New York


Peace Comes To Astoria, Street Art

Murals and Surrounding Astoria Neighborhood

 Queens, New York City, New York

On Sunday, June 26, 2016

Photographs by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

Happy 4th of July everyone 🙂 🙂 🙂

John and I went to Astoria, Queens, NYC, New York on the previous Sunday, June 26, 2016 to view the latest murals.  We enjoyed walking about seeing murals on 30 Street, 12 Street and Welling Court by Astoria Boulevard.  I was very happy to see some artists produced Peace artwork.  We arrived about 2 P.M., the sun was very hot.  We cannot see the pictures on our equipment screens that well.  I tried my best to capture the murals that we viewed    We only viewed a small part of murals. We decided to return home and will come back again to view more murals in different areas. 

There were some people taking pictures of the murals.


I intended to walk across the street to view the murals on the other side of the road but I noticed the reflection of part of the mural with the peace sign artwork on the car window.  I realized that there is another mural on a wall inside of a gated property. 

I came back and tried to photograph the mural.  I could not capture the mural in full view because of the gate blocking it. 

Luckily my cheap camcorder is small enough to go through the space between the gate bars.  I tried my best to capture the whole image.  But I only got part of the mural.

I was glad I was able to at least capture the full peace sign.

Thanks to the artist who produced this peace mural.  I wish I could have gotten his or her full name.

These murals are on the opposite side of the street from the peace murals that I have shown above.

A group of tourists came to view the murals.  Thanks to all the artists who produced the artworks.  I love graffiti or street art because most of the artists wish to convey their thought and express them in a form of artwork in public for other people to view, to feel, and to think, no matter if you agree or disagree.  But the artists activate people’s brains to think.  Sometimes this may tickle the conscious of the viewer to absorb more information from the artwork.  Most graffiti or street art subjects are expressions of a present time which one can use as a chronicle of history in this specific time and place.  Eventually these artworks or murals will be gone if they are in the changing hands of property owners who want to demolish properties for other business ventures.

John pointed out to the lady photographer that the damaged car is a useful object to compose a photo looking through the mangled window to view the painted fire hydrant.

I will post John’s photographs in the next project.  It is interesting to see the difference in composition of individual photographers traveling  the same path.

This person seemed to be interested in taking photos of the remains of the crashed vehicle.  I felt sad to see the result of such a tragedy.  I hope the person or persons in the car survived.

This person is very smart; he used his bike to ride to more places to view murals.  He could travel longer distances, and be less tired compared to traveling by walking.

Go to the top