This year has already seen stunning examples of wildlife photography, both humorous and otherwise. But the winners of the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers (SINWP) takes the medium to new heights.
This year, the grand prize for the SINWP Bird Photographer of the Year competition went to Gianpiero Ferrari of England for his image, “Winter Fieldfare.” The winning photo earned Ferrari a Newell voucher worth £250, an Anthropics Collection valued £229.95, Topaz Photo AI valued at $199, a PermaJet voucher valued at £100, and an annual Professional Membership to SINWP.
“The shot is from my home garden in Leicestershire, UK. After a snowfall during the night, several Fieldfare came in the garden to take advantage of the apple that I provided,” a release announcing the winner states. “This one was very aggressive and took over the entire garden chasing away all the other birds. I started to take some pictures from the house through a window, but I was not happy with the composition. I thought a ground level composition would have been much better. So first I had to build a pile of snow to use as a background and then lay on the ground under a camouflage blanket, waiting for the bird to return to eat the apples.”
It seems Ferrari’s dedication paid off in the end. The image was taken using a Canon EOS-1DX, and it perfectly captures the territorial bird’s haughtiness and it lords over its meal.
Other winners of the 2023 SINWP Bird Photographers of the Year competition include Robert Gloeckner from Florida and Kevin Rooney from England, who took second and third place, respectively. Gloeckner’s entry, appropriately titled “Tucked In,” shows a baby wrapped in its mothers wings. Meanwhile, Rooney’s photo depicts an Oxpecker doing what it does best, pecking at a buffalo. The bird have a symbiotic relationship with buffalo and similar large mammals, one that Rooney captures in detail.
“My photo of the Oxpecker cleaning the nose of the buffalo was taken in Mara North Conservancy in Kenya, north of the main Masai Mara Reserve,” Rooney said in the release. “We were sat in a land cruiser amongst a huge herd of buffalo watching the Oxpeckers fly from one to another cleaning flies and ticks from the noses, eyes and ears of the buffaloes. My camera on the day was a Canon 7D Mark II with a Canon 100-400mm zoom lens attached, either positioned on a bean bag or taken hand held.”
Vince Burton of the United Kingdom, Alain Poirot of France, and Bjørn H. Stuedal of Norway each took home Judge’s Choice awards. More entries showcasing exquisite avians can be seen on SINWP’s website, which shows photographs that landed in the Very Highly Commended, Highly Commended, and Commended categories.
Further, the contest was in aid for The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and entries required a minimum donation of £1 per image, which went to the organization.
Image credits: Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers