An impressionistic image of European Cormorants by Majed AlZa’abi from Kuwait has won first prize in the 2020 Bird Photographer of the Year competition, organized by UK-based conservation charity Birds on the Brink. Majed wins the first prize of £5,000 (approximately $6,500) and the title of “Bird Photographer of the Year 2020”. Majed’s image was also the winning image in the Best Portrait category of the competition, and for this he won a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars.
The team of judges, which included Bird watching Editor-in-Chief Brian Small and Editor-in-Chief Matt Mendenhall had this to say about the shag photo:
“To win this competition, you need very special photography. Technical perfection is simply not enough; it is the imaginative eye and a mind that seeks the unusual and the artistic in everyday life that will do good. The vast majority of the 15,000 images captured each year are of an astonishing standard, attractive enough to feed even the most visually gluttonous. But create a photograph that makes us sick with envy or that makes us scream with uncontrolled excitement, then you have a chance. When the judges’ collective cry is “I wish I’d taken that myself,” then you’re on the right track. Well done Majed for sharing this stunning image with us – it’s a well-deserved winner.
The slideshow below features the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in each category, as well as the competition’s Inspirational Encounters Award, which conveys a photographer’s important moment with a bird. The images here represent some of the best bird photography we have ever seen. Appreciate!
END OF THE DAY by Majed AlZa’abi, Kuwait.
European cormorant, Vardø, Norway.
Photographer’s Story: I took this photo in April 2019 during a visit to the famous Norwegian seabird island of Vardø, a place filled with birds that offer endless photography opportunities. It was my first visit to the island, motivated by listening to its birds. Despite being warned, I was truly amazed by what I saw: hundreds of birds flying all the time, all day during the five day visit. I planned to stay on a particular topic for an entire day: one day with puffins, another day with shags, and so on. Additionally, there are many possibilities for creative composition, playing with foreground and background; here I like the blurred shag framing the individual in focus, as well as the bokeh of the sea as the sun sets. By experimenting, I aimed to create artistic and impressionistic shots of cormorants, and I hope I achieved my goal with this image.
Nikon D850 with AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens. Focal length 550mm; 1/1000 second; f/5.6; ISO 160. Portable.
More photo contest winners
2019 Bird Photographer of the Year Winners
Winners of the 2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards
2020 Audubon Photo Contest Winners