Each year the National Audubon Society asks photographers from across the United States and seven Canadian provinces to submit their best bird imagery. With over 6,000 submissions, the 2020 Audubon Photography Awards was hotly contested. In the end, American photographer Joanna Lentini came out on top for her magical photograph of a double-crested cormorant diving into the waters off Mexico.
“I’ve spent many hours underwater at this California sea lion rookery in the Bay of La Paz, but I had never before encountered diving cormorants there,” she told Audubon.org. “Shifting my focus from the playful sea lions, I watched in awe as the cormorants plunged beak-first into the sea to snap at the sardines swimming by. Although I spent a long time admiring these birds, I didn’t see a single one catch a fish. Adding insult to injury, curious sea lion pups would zip by the hunting birds and nip at them from behind.”
Lentini's work is complemented by the other winners and honorable mentions of the contest's four categories—Professional, Amateur, Youth, and Plants for Birds. The Plants for Birds category, which celebrates the vital relationship between animals and nature, is making an appearance for the second year. Also in its second year is the special Fisher Prize. Named after Audubon magazine's former creative director Kevin Fisher, it awards the photo that best blends artistry and technical ability.
Each winner displays a wonderful sense of timing and keen observational skills. Whether it's amateur photographer Bibek Ghosh clicking the shutter just as a drop of water circles a hummingbird's beak or Christopher Smith capturing the moment a Greater Roadrunner seizes its prey, each photograph is a masterclass in wildlife photography. These winners will have the opportunity, thankfully, to share their work with an even larger audience as their photos will be featured in Audubon and Nature's Best Photography magazines.