As the photo editor for Audubon magazine, I see great bird photos every day. When we decided to hold a bird photography contest, I wasn't sure what type of images we'd receive. I have to say that I was thrilled by the quality of the work that flooded in (16,000+ images!).
I can't tell you how many compliments we've received on Rob Palmer's Grand Prize-winning image of two bald eagles fighting in flight (above), featured on the cover of our current issue. A photo editor friend just emailed to say it's one of the best pictures he's ever seen. I think he's right. It's such a dynamic, vibrant image with absolutely perfect composition--the eagles could not have been posed any better if Rob had tried. The fact that they're about to crash into the ground just adds to the drama. It's really a dramatic moment, and that's not always easy to get with wildlife. Nice, nice job!
I'd also like to take a moment to say something about the Amateur division winner. Adam Felde's photo of a pelican diving into the water literally drove me from my desk to alert the other editors after I first saw it on my screen. I knew this picture was special. In all of my years at Audubon (10), I've never seen a more beautiful, artistic shot of a bird hitting the water. The light on the wings and the arc of the splash are things a photographer can only dream of catching. I love the fact that there's so much action captured in such a still photo. What a great image!