When Ronald Bielefeld headed to Lake Tohopekaliga in Central Florida, it was in hopes of capturing images of snail kites foraging along the shore. As is often the case when photographing birds in their natural habitat, there were “significant lulls in the action,” he says. During the downtime, Bielefeld turned his attention to the thousands of tree swallows foraging in aquatic grasses for midges that were hatching by the millions.
Bielefeld challenged himself to get an in-flight image with a background other than blue sky. “Getting sharp, detailed images of such a small bird is difficult even when shooting against a non-busy background such as the sky,” he says. “However, getting an in-focus, up-close image of a swallow against a more interesting background was a real challenge.” After about an hour, he captured this shot.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.