Top Six Tips for Standout Bird Photographs

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) feeding on crabapple fruit in late winter, Ithaca, New York, USA. Canon EOS 7D, EF 500mm f/4 IS USM lens, 1.4X extender, Gitzo tripod. 1/1250 second, f/5.6, ISO 800.
Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) feeding on crabapple fruit in late winter, Ithaca, New York, USA. Canon EOS 7D, EF 500mm f/4 IS USM lens, 1.4X extender, Gitzo tripod, 1/1250 second, f/5.6, ISO 800. © Marie Read

By Marie Read

Whether beautiful or bizarre, colorful or cryptic, exuberant or elusive, birds captivate us with their spirited ways and fascinating lifestyles. It’s no wonder they top the list of favorite subjects for many nature photographers. That’s been true since the dawn of nature photography, even more so since the digital age brought getting great photos within reach of anyone with a camera. The result is a world saturated with gorgeous bird imagery. So, how do you create images that stand out from the crowd? Once you’ve mastered the classic portrait, take your photos to the next level: make more meaningful images by showing the bird in its habitat or by capturing its behavior. Here are a few tips to help you.

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 24, 2020

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Patterns in a Dried Mud Flat, Death Valley National Park, California” © Ian Frazier
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Patterns in a Dried Mud Flat, Death Valley National Park, California” © Ian Frazier

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 24, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Top Seven Tips for Choosing Winning Images for Photo Contests

2021 NANPA Showcase
Time to get your entries ready for NANPA’s 2021 Showcase competition.

In a photo contest, everybody wants their entry to win. So, what can you do to maximize your chances of having one (or more) of your photos chosen for recognition in NANPA’s 2021 Showcase photo competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?

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Photographing Hummingbirds: A Pandemic Escape

Hummingbirds getting ready to migrate. (The right front is an adult male Rufous; the other three appear to be Broad bills.) © Debbie McCulliss
Hummingbirds getting ready to migrate. (The right front is an adult male Rufous; the other three appear to be Broad bills.) f/6.3, 250mm, ISO 640, 1/8000 sec. © Debbie McCulliss

By Debbie McCulliss

On the snowy first couple of weeks of this past spring, to lessen pandemic anxiety, I was thinking of migration—movement from one region to another. It was timely. Epic animal migrations take place every spring. Some of the feats that these animals accomplish, crossing oceans, traveling without stopping, are unthinkable. Their destinations are clear and instinctual.

But this spring was different. People all over the globe were migrating, many without a clear destination, back to their home continent, country, or state, not knowing if, when, or how their lives would be permanently or temporarily altered.

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 17 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Rialto Beach Sunset, Olympic Peninsula, Washington” © Don Larkin
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Rialto Beach Sunset, Olympic Peninsula, Washington” © Don Larkin

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 17, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 10, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Monarchs by the Hundreds, no Thousands!, Wendy Park, Cleveland, Ohio” © Kathryn Cubert
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Monarchs by the Hundreds, no Thousands!, Wendy Park, Cleveland, Ohio” © Kathryn Cubert

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 10, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 3, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Cape Buffalo in Morning Light, Chobe National Park, Botswana” © Barbara Fleming
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Cape Buffalo in Morning Light, Chobe National Park, Botswana” © Barbara Fleming

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 3, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

Get ready! The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition began Saturday, August 1st! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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It’s Showtime!

2021 NANPA Showcase Graphic

Saturday, August 1st, marks the opening of the 2021 NANPA Showcase photo competition. The beginning of the Showcase entry period is something I look forward to each year. It gives me an incentive to review my work over the past year and motivates me to get outside and do some photography.

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Weekly Wow! Week of July 27, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Photo collage of solar and lunar eclipses, Tennessee and Virginia” © Joyce Harman
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Photo collage of solar and lunar eclipses, Tennessee and Virginia” © Joyce Harman

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, July 27, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

Get ready! The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition begins Saturday, August 1! Enter your best photos between then and September 21 and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows. Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Weekly Wow! Week of July 20, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "American White Pelican Pod Preening” © Dennis Fast Photography
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “American White Pelican Pod Preening” © Dennis Fast Photography

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, July 20, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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