August 2nd, 2011


no images were found


Huge news indeed. I am proud to announce the BIRDS AS ART 1st International Bird Photography Competition. Peter Kes and I have been working diligently for several months putting this event together and we are both tremendously excited. With eleven intriguing categories, a prize pool valued at more than $20,000, the overall grand prize winner garnering prizes totaling well more than $2,500, and a great team of judges, this new competition will quickly earn a prominent spot on the contest map. Reflecting the reality of nature photography today digital restrictions are the most relaxed of any major contest. You can read and study the rules here.

Visit the main contest page here. You can enter ten images for a single fee of $25. You can, however, enter more than once. And you can earn contest entries with your B&H PHOTO VIDEO purchases. (Read on for the details on earning free entries.) We look forward to seeing your best images soon.

You can leave a comment here if you so desire. 🙂


Wow. This is exciting! As most of you know, I have–for the past 28 years–dedicated my life to making beautiful images of birds and teaching others to do the same. This contest is simply an extension of that passion. Thanks to Denise Ippolito for coming up with the idea of a bird photography contest and helping me flesh out the categories. And thanks to Peter Kes for building the web and upload pages; Peter re-designed both the blog and the website about two years ago and helps me almost daily; his skills and work ethic are superb.

I cannot begin to talk about the contest without talking first about the incredible generosity of our many sponsors. I knew from the get-go that as the new kid on the contest block that we would need to assemble a huge prize pool. I asked and they gave. A huge thanks to Yechiel Orgel of principal sponsor B&H PHOTO VIDEO. Thanks to Martin Wood, Alan Parry, and Anna Lopez of Delkin Devices. Thanks to Clay Wimberley and Cynthia Fenton at Wimberley, to Walter (son) and John (father) at 4th Generation Design, to Scott Elowitz of LensCoat, and to Bill Sanders at Gitzo. Special thanks to Helen Longest-Saccone at Nature Photographer Magazine who will be publishing the Category winners in the magazine and all the winning and honored images in the Nature Photographers i-Pad app. Thanks also to Jonathan Keane at Canvas on Demand and to Brian Erwin at Think Tank. (Brian OKed my e-mail request for support in seconds; I hit send and moments later I got his “I’m in” response.) Thanks to Michael Tapes of Raw Workflow, Gary Ungaro of Lens Pen, John Stanford of Vertex Photographic, John Storrie of Vested Interest, Bob Peltz of Essential Photo Gear, and Walt Anderson of Visual Echoes–his Better Beamer was the first BIRDS AS ART mail order item way back when.

Why another contest? Entering contests is fun. Having an image or two honored is always a huge thrill. I enter the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition every year. And the same goes for the Nature’s Best and National Wildlife contests. I have had more than a few honored images in all three contests. But considering the huge popularity of bird photography today there are relatively few avian categories in the major contests. We aim to rectify that situation. And here is the best news of all: with the relative ease of digital photography most anyone is capable of creating a contest winning image. The BBC contest makes no distinction between amateurs and professionals and we are doing the same here. I consistently see folks photographing for only a year or two producing images with contest-winning potential.

All of the major contests have very restrictive digital guidelines; you are pretty much limited to removing dustspots and adjusting brightness, color, and contrast. And some competitions allow only global adjustments, changes that affect the entire image; making selective adjustments is prohibited. Heck, Ansel Adams would have been disqualified from those. Our digital guidelines are the most generous of any major contest. By miles. With all due respect to the purists, our digital guidelines most accurately reflect the prevailing current style of image optimization by allowing for the removal of distracting background elements. You can check out our digital guidelines by scrolling down to #12 here.

In addition there are some rules in the major contests that simply do not make sense to me. For example, a recent BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner was nowhere near his camera when the winning image was made. And several other of his camera-trap images were also honored…. All in all I simply thought that I could come up with a great contest with rules that made sense. So I did.

With eleven categories and our huge prize pools that total well more than $20,000 you have more than 20,000 good reasons to enter. The entry fee is $25 for ten images. You may enter once or twice or as many times as you like. You might enter now and then again in a few months and then possibly once right before the deadline: the closing date for entries is March 31, 2012.

If you make a purchase totaling $1,000 or more from contest sponsor B&H using this link you will receive a single free contest entry. Purchases of $3,000 or more will be good for two contest entries, of $5,000 or more for three entries, and of $10,000 of more for five competition entries. To receive your free entry (or entries) send your B&H receipt to us via e-mail to and cut and paste “B&H Contest Entry” into the subject line. You will receive instructions (for uploading your images) by e-mail.

My dream is that the BIRDS AS ART International Bird Photography Competition will quickly grow in prestige and soon rank right up there with the top-notch contests that I mentioned above. My hope is that by year two or three that we will have an exhibit of the winning images at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. My interest in nature was sparked there when I was about twelve or thirteen. I traveled alone on the subway taking the then Brighton Beach Express into the city and spending entire weekends roaming the halls.

I do hope that you join in the fun by entering and I look forward to seeing your best images. Good luck! artie

Comments are closed.