Photography Contest XII: Finalists

Here are the finalists of the 2020 photography contest. We received 21 photographs, all of which were excellent, as you will no doubt see during the coming months. With assistance from our wife, we chose 6 finalists and then added one rather than bite the bullet and break a tie. We display the 7 finalists below the proverbial fold. We chose the photographs more on the basis of their pictorial quality than on their scientific interest. The text, if any, was written by the photographers and lightly edited for consistency.

The finalists are presented in alphabetical order of last name. Please look through their photographs before voting for your favorite. Polling will close Tuesday, September 8, at approximately 8 a.m. MDT, and we will display the winner at noon that day. (Monday is Labor Day in the US.)

Please remember that this is a photography contest, not a popularity contest, and discourage your friends from enlisting others specifically to vote for you.

Domestic pigeon, by Muharrem Gorkem.

The photographer writes, "A domestic pigeon, Columba livia domestica, on her evening tour just before my apartment."

Common gray moth, by James Kocher.

Common gray moth
Anavitrinella pampinaria, common gray moth, resting on block of limestone masonry – "a nice example of camouflage (cryptic) coloration, St. Louis, Missouri."

Black-headed grosbeak, by Mark Lee.

Pheucticus melanocephalus, black-headed grosbeak, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas.

Roseate spoonbill, by C. Joseph Long.

Roseate spoonbill
Platalea ajaja L., with young. The photographer writes, "This shot was taken at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida. This is a popular place (among the birds, as well as humans) because, while nestlings that fall to the surface are lost, the nests are safe from such predators as raccoons, bobcats, and snakes due to the inaccessibility of the trees’ bases. The color is due, as in flamingos, to carotenoids in the diet. According to Wikipedia, the roseate’s closest relative is the yellow-billed spoonbill, which is found in southeast Australia. They do get around."

Green hyalite, by Alan Rice.

Hyalite glowing green, or fluorescing, under ultraviolet light (ultraviolet C 100–280 nm). The photographer writes, "Hyalite is a form of opal with a glassy and clear appearance. My brother builds ultraviolet lights for mineral exploration and is silhouetted by the abundant hyalite. This sample is deep underground in a tungsten mine in Nevada, USA."

Giant ichneumon wasp and mystery visitor, by Mark Sturtevant.

Giant ichneumon wasp
Megarhyssa atrata, giant ichneumon wasp. The photographer writes, "This large female ichneumon wasp is using her long ovipositor to drill into wood in order to lay an egg on a wood-boring sawfly larva. The smaller wasp riding her is probably a male in the genus Rhysella, and he appears to be mightily confused about his prospects for mating and passing on his genes."

Gatekeeper butterfly, by Marilyn Susek.

Pyronia tithonus, gatekeeper butterfly. The photographer writes, "This butterfly was taken at my garden in Rotherham, S. Yorkshire, UK. I noticed that the under wing of this Gatekeeper is not the same as other photos of gatekeeper butterflies. It is sitting on an Echinacea."