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The Award Winning Drinking Bird

December 18, 2009
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New I and the Bird #115 at xenogere. Go there, go there now.  But don’t forget to come back.

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Hey, I won something.  I know, right?

And it’s a photo contest.  Seriously.  You can stop laughing.  I realize that my photos on this blog, where I generally post the best ones I take, can be charitably described as “identifiable”.  I don’t have the equipment or the skill to pull off the stunning photos that so many of my blogging colleagues seem to present with regularity.

But even a blind squirrel can find an acorn occasionally, or a terrible photographer can stumble upon something that doesn’t make you squint your eyes when you look at it.  I have taken one digiscoped photograph, camera hand held up to the scope, that I can consider to be “good”, a Willet photographed near Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks last year.  I submitted it to the Digiscoper of the Year contest sponsored by Swarovski and held at Birdchick’s blog a couple months ago not expecting much.  Imagine my surprise when I get an email from Swarovski saying I won second place, which comes with a cool pair of travel binoculars from Swarovski!

I would be remiss if I didn’t present the photo.  So behold, the only good photograph I’ve ever taken and a testament to the power of dumb luck and a small field.

So the question now is, can I call myself an award winning nature photographer if the one nice photo I’ve ever taken won something?

I’m going to say yes, but that it probably requires a footnote.  Good thing no one reads those anyway.

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15 Comments
  1. Greg permalink
    December 18, 2009 9:14 am

    Very cool! Hey, that’s not the ONLY good photo you’ve taken. The photo of the Ash-throated Flycatcher you found was very nice, too! 🙂 Way to go!

  2. December 18, 2009 9:24 am

    Hey I call myself a published photographer for one photo taken from my flickr stream that was used in a cover montage for a newsletter by some European charity, this is way less exaggerated than that. Good going.

  3. December 18, 2009 9:27 am

    Congratulations, Nate! You can also say your work has been published on multiple websites.

  4. December 18, 2009 9:27 am

    Congrats! Technically I think you can call yourself an “award-winning photographer” even if you took the blue ribbon at the state fair for growing a big pumpkin. You won an award and you’re a photographer.

  5. Marv permalink
    December 18, 2009 9:37 am

    Great photo! The only awards I have ever received for photographs are the ones I give myself when I really like what I have done. It’s good to know a real award-winning photographer, and having tried digiscoping, I know how difficult it is.

  6. Nate permalink*
    December 18, 2009 10:09 am

    Thanks guys!

    And dad, that Ash-throated Flycatcher came out pretty well, but it’s got a big leaf in the middle of the bird that prevents me from being entirely happy with it. I think that’s why the Willet worked out. No sticks on the beach.

  7. December 18, 2009 10:12 am

    Nicely done. Anyone can win an award but how many win Swarovski bins?

  8. Matt permalink
    December 18, 2009 10:34 am

    I don’t know what half of those words even mean, but that’s really cool. Congrats!

  9. December 18, 2009 11:15 am

    Way to go Nate. A nice photo too.

    ~Kirk

  10. December 18, 2009 12:08 pm

    Hee, Nate. You’re much too modest. I know what you mean, though, it’s hard to compete with the big guns out there lugging their 20 lbs of equipment around, which I’m just not prepared to do (or able to afford, besides).

    My best digiscoped efforts have also come from the beach, where, as you say, the lighting is always good and there are never any twigs. This one’s my favourite, of a Baird’s Sandpiper (a rare visitor for our parts) with lunch: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rustyblackbird/1433540548/

    In any case, congrats on the win! I used to always keep a spare pair of bins in my glove compartment for emergency roadside birding, and those would be perfect.

  11. December 18, 2009 12:15 pm

    Congratulations! And that is one heck of a Willet shot!

  12. December 18, 2009 1:12 pm

    Congratulations, Nate! It’s a beautiful shot indeed.

    And yes, yes you can now call yourself an “Award Winning Nature Photographer” without feeling the least bit dishonest.

  13. Nate permalink*
    December 18, 2009 1:12 pm

    @all- Thanks again! And I’ve got plans for the bins already. I look forward to getting them in my hands.

    @Seabrooke- That’s a really nice shot of a Baird’s, but your photos have always been really nice.

  14. December 18, 2009 4:32 pm

    Congratulations Nate! Nicely done.

  15. December 18, 2009 4:51 pm

    Let me add my congrats on the award and my accolades on a really beautiful shot, the “award-winning” title and the binoculars are well deserved.

    Hopefully that’s encouragement to shoot even more!
    -Mike

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