2020 Bird Portrait Contest Second Place: Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon

Steve Wolfe of Portal, Arizona won second place Bird watchingBird Portrait Contest 2020 with this flawless photo of a male Elegant Trogon.

He took the photo in December 2017 at one of the best birding spots in the lower 48 states: the South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon near Portal. (Steve wrote about the canyon, Hotspot Near You No. 268, in our November/December 2017 issue.)

“While I was volunteering at our Cave Creek Canyon Visitor Center on December 17, 2017, a visitor came by and told me he had seen a male Elegant Trogon in the south fork of the canyon,” says Steve . “It would have been late as most of the trogons had returned south by the end of October, so the next day I hiked up the canyon with my camera and 500mm lens. After some research, I saw it in full sun on a background of late autumn colors. You understand why its old name was Copper-tailed Trogon.

Wes Pitts, the editor of Outdoor photographer and one of our judges, highlights the artistic quality of the image.

“There are several qualities of this photograph that make it so successful,” he says. “The first is dappled light and its dramatic reflections and shadows. The sense of depth created by the light and the shallow depth of field invite one to notice other details in the image, such as color repeats: the orange in the trogon’s eye echoes in the foliage in the background, and the green hues of the lichen on the branch and the feathers of the bird. The strong composition, with crisp detail in the foreground and a soft, out-of-focus background, gives this image a cohesive, painterly look.

See also  16 winning images of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021

Steve used a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF-S 500mm f/4 IS L lens and a 1.4x teleconverter.

The photo was one of over 700 photographers entered into our competition. Yesterday, we presented him among the dozen finalists. Check out the links below for first and third place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.

First place: cedar waxwing

Third place: Wood duck

See the contest finalists

See the honorable mentions of the competition

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