Photography Contest XIII: Finalists

Here are the finalists of the 2021 photography contest. It was nice to see some new names as well as old friends. With assistance from Our Wife and Harshest Critic, we chose 8, which we display below the Figurative 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 majority of finalists are either macros or close-ups, so we did not define a macro category, as we had suggested in the “RFP.”

The finalists are presented in alphabetical order of last name. Please look through their photographs before voting for your favorite. Polling will close Friday, July 30, at approximately noon MDT, and we will display the winner at noon Monday, August 2.

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

Ring necked parakeet, by Philip Abrams.

Psittacula krameria, ring necked parakeet, photographed 27 June 2021, at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3, United Kingdom. The photographer writes, "Although they are not indigenous, there are estimated to be some 8600 breeding pairs in the UK, mostly in and around London. They are very noisy, and, often, quite tame and trusting! More info from the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (link, above)."

Giant water bug predating backswimmer, by Al Denelsbeck.

Giant water bug
Belostoma flumineum – Giant water bug – and Notonecta kirbyi – backswimmer prey: The photographer writes, I'm not absolutely sure of the prey species, but we'll pretend that I'm confident/competent. I had collected some aquatic arthropods from a glorified ditch for some detailed aquarium shots, when the water bug cooperatively snagged the backswimmer for a meal – not exactly rare, because they're notoriously rapacious. The macro aquarium allowed both good lighting and a decent angle to fit within the short depth of field, and I cannot recommend one enough. The $5 'breeder' aquarium had one plastic side removed and replaced with a pane of glass from a photo frame for better clarity, allowing for desktop aquatic photos."

Whistling ducks, by John Harshman.

Whistling duck
Dendrocygna viduata – white-faced whistling ducks, Botswana. The photographer writes, "Here is a trio of white-faced whistling ducks. It’s not a particularly scientifically informative shot, but it’s one of my all-time favorite photos. Whistling ducks, on the other hand, are interesting from a number of perspectives. They’re the sister group of all other Anatidae, and they’re a very old genus: genetic divergence within Dendrocygna is approximately equal to that within the rest of Anatidae. And yet they all look pretty much alike, so we have a fine example of morphological stasis. That may also be the reason that white-faced whistling ducks, with fairly sedentary habits, are nevertheless found in both Africa and South America with no recognized subspecific variation. (Fulvous whistling ducks D. bicolor are worse: they’re found in North and South America, Africa, and India, still with no subspecies.)"

Pitcher plant, by C. Joseph Long.

Pitcher plant
Sarracenia sp. – pitcher plant, Green Swamp, west of Wilmington, N. C. (not the Green Swamp west of Orlando). The photographer writes, "This is a Nature Conservancy site which is typical nitrogen-poor lowland where plants that can find their own protein are favored. There are also Venus flytraps in the near vicinity and, reportedly, sundews. Recommended as an easily accessible example of this type of environment."

Tent caterpillar, by Ken Phelps.

Tent caterpillar
Malacosoma californicum – tent caterpillar, photographed on Thetis Island, B.C.

Snowberry checkerspot butterfly, by Malcom Schongalla.

Snowberry checkerspot butterfly
Euphydryas colon – snowberry checkerspot butterfly, Hillscreek, Oregon, June, 2021. The photographer writes, "Some references list this as a subspecies of Euphydryas chalcedona (chalcedon or variable checkerspot). I am not a butterfly expert and this is my best attempt at identification."

Tawny crescent butterfly, by Seanna Watson.

 Tawny crescent butterfly
Phyciodes batesii – tawny crescent, Neys Provincial Park, Ontario.

Atlantis fritillary, by Steve Watson.

Speyeria atlantis – Atlantis fritillary on goldenrod (Solidago sp.?), Neys Provincial Park, Ontario.