Share on Twitter
Print this article
Share by email
Derrick Z. Jackson of Cambridge, Massachusetts, describes this puffin photo, which took third place in our 2022 bird portrait contest, as a “happy composition on Eastern Egg Rock, Maine.”
“It’s a row of puffins along granite boulders with a wave crashing behind them to give an idea of the harsh conditions in which they breed,” Jackson writes. “Atlantic puffins were nearly hunted to extinction on nearly every island in Maine in the 1880s, including this one, for their meat and eggs. There are more puffins in this picture than none existed anywhere in the state when one or two pairs remained on Matinicus Rock in 1902. In the 1970s, Steve Kress and the National Audubon Society initiated the world’s first successful restoration of a seabird on an island where humans killed it. They restored puffins at Eastern Egg Rock, Seal Island, and exponentially grew the surviving birds on Matinicus Rock. Today there are more than 1,300 pairs of puffins on several islands off the coast of Maine, in a world-famous victory for wildlife conservation.
Editor Pete Dunne, one of our judges, asks, “I mean, who doesn’t love puffins? But what I find most compelling about this image is the dynamic interplay between the seeming indifference of the clown-faced birds and the menace of the rushing wall of water.
Jackson used a Nikon D810 camera body with an 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 zoom lens. Exposure data: 1/320 at f/14, ISO 250.
Read about “Project Puffin,” a book Jackson co-wrote with Steve Kress
Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: editors Laura Erickson, Pete Dunne and Brian E. Small; professional photographer Marie Read; Outdoor photographer editors Dan Havlik and Kristan Ashworth; And Imagery resource editors William Brawley and Jeremy Gray.
See the first place winner
See the second place winner
See the finalists