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Vaughn Larsen of Littleton, Colorado is the third winner of our 2020 Bird Portrait Contest with this stunning portrait of a wood duck he took at Sterne Park in Littleton in October 2020.
“The sunrise light off the fall foliage reflects off the water in this little pond where the Wood Ducks swim,” he says. “I was lying on the ground as this male wood duck swam directly towards me through the yellow and gold reflection.”
Editor Laura Erickson has this to say about the photography:
“Good Wood Duck photos are inherently beautiful, which makes it difficult to get great Wood Duck photos. This photo goes one step further, capturing a perfect moment of frontal symmetry with a drop of water hovering at the tip of the beak. This makes the composition extraordinary, and even better, every shade of iridescence on the facial feathers shines in perfect light, and every brilliant color of the plumage, beak and eyes is perfectly captured, without oversaturating or using too much contrast. And as if all that wasn’t wonderful enough, the water shimmers with yellow which highlights the colors of the duck, making this photo as picture perfect as it could possibly be.
Vaughn used a Nikon Z6 camera with a 500mm f4 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 second place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.
First place: cedar waxwing
Second Place: Elegant Trogon
See the contest finalists
See the honorable mentions of the competition
Enter your photos for our BirdWatching Photography Awards