While on a trip to photograph the wildlife of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil, Lee Dalton captured this majestic scarlet ibis at Venezuela's Morrocoy National Park. He had come to the park intending to shoot waterbirds in general, and American flamingos and scarlet ibises in particular. He'd had some luck with large flocks of flamingos, but he couldn't say the same for the scarlet ibis.
On his last day in the park he found a prime spot in the mangroves, with natural cover and a good view of passing birds. The conditions weren't ideal—it was overcast, and there were lots of hungry mosquitoes—Dalton says, but after about an hour this scarlet ibis appeared. He focused his camera and took the picture as the bird flew past. Dalton had a hunch the picture was good, and after checking the image on his camera he saw he was right. The bird was in focus, and the overcast conditions provided a good contrast against the ibis's striking color. "I learned that even in subpar lighting conditions, you can still get great results."
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.