Thank you to all the photographers that shared their photos in the photo contest that we ran in collaboration with Chirping Central. Mary Rose is passionate about birds. This summer she will be rowing solo, across the Pacific Ocean, to bring awareness to avian conservancy, and raise money to help save them. She has entered The Great Pacific Race, departing from Monterey Bay, CA on June 7th, and rowing to Honolulu HI, over the following 90 days....No motors, or sails, she will be doing this single-handedly for her cause. She believes "Extinction is Optional", and is doing her part to make it so.  A big thank you to guest judge Richard Altman: "The focus of my photographic journey is the development and expression of my personal photographic vision which has taken me in a variety of directions. My interactive media company supplied corporate, non-profit and educational clients with audio and visual material to tell their stories. I also taught photography and visual communication design at the college level. I have created the Digiphoto Quick Start Guide, an eBook available at or Photography is an important part of my creative life and I enjoy sharing ideas that help others express themselves in creative ways through photography."

"Mary Rose, founder of Chirping Central, is passionate about birds and in corporation with ViewBug, sponsored the Flock of Birds Contest. Mary’s dedication to bird conservation is highlighted by her commitment to personally row a boat for 90 days and 3,000 miles across an ocean to support her cause.

Mary’s personal dedication to her cause was in my mind as I studied the final group of photos for this competition.

As a judge, I’m looking for a demonstration of the photographer’s dedication to developing and expressing their craft and vision. How successful was each photographer at delivering his or her individual vision of a Flock of Birds?

From a craft perspective, did the photographer exhibit control of the technical aspects of the image? That control might be evident by either following, or strategically breaking, basic photographic guidelines for elements like, focus, composition and exposure. From the perspective of aesthetics or Vision, did the photographer show us something insightful or visually arresting that grabs our imagination or demands our attention and/or our appreciation?

There was one image in the collection that, in my estimation, demonstrated both technical and aesthetic elements that set it apart from the other submissions and that image was “Shadows in the Sunset”" - Richard

Grand Jury Winner

"Shadows in the Sunset has a very nice compliment of elements that contribute to a winning photograph. The image has an interesting subject, in an interesting scene, with dramatic lighting and it was composed and captured at a decisive moment. Technically the image has been rendered to support all the elements previously mentioned. So the image represents a “complete package” and a job well done by the photographer." - Richard

Runner Up

"The juxtaposition of the elephant, a large animal to begin with, which has been dwarfed by a flock of birds, is a fascinating and arresting image. Few people will ever have an opportunity to witness such a display of nature. The photograph itself illustrates the value of the still image as a document of a special moment in time. There are a few image elements that could be improved upon to enhance the image in postproduction. These potential improvements include some adjustments to color saturation to help differentiate the sky from the birds, and the birds from the elephant. Additionally, a slight bit of vignetting on the corners to help draw the eye into the image might be worth a try. Overall, this is a captivating image." - Richard

Runner Up

"This image has many of the same characteristics as the winning entry. The photographer did a nice job of using depth of field to separate the flock of birds from the background. The birds themselves were illuminated so their coloration also helps separate them from the background. The other element that helps separate this image from others is the water droplets that add a sense of action and immediacy to the image. It appears that the photographer used a strategic combination of settings to capture, compose and render this moment in time. Even though there are many birds in the scene, we can still pick out several that have been captured to highlight their posture and movement in flight." - Richard

People's Choice