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#52weeksofnature Photo Contest Week 3 Winner

The winner of Week 3 of our #52weeksofnature photo contest is Benny Jacobs-Schwartz (@birdsbybijs). Wildlife photography is full of complexities, but sometimes a simple silhouette is all you need to create a stellar image. Benny has won $150 and is getting his winning image printed on a HippyTree t-shirt. Explore the Nature Photography Collective section on our site to view t-shirts of past winners.

Where was the image shot?
Santa Cruz, CA

What camera did you use and what were the settings?
Camera: Canon 7D Mark II
Lens: Sigma C 150-600mm
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
Aperture: f/6.3
ISO: 600

Was there any special preparation required to capture the photo?
This was an experimental shot. As the sun was setting, I flipped my settings to take advantage of the beautiful Brown Pelican silhouettes streaming along the ocean cliffs and the deep orange sunset hues.

How long have you been shooting?
I began when I was twelve or so, playing around with a little point-and-shoot. I’ve consistently taken pictures since then, but I really started to think of myself as a photographer 5-6 years ago when I started photographing birds and wildlife.

What's your favorite subject matter to shoot?
Birds are by far my favorite. Wildlife and the outdoors are my inspiration, and I’ve recently been trying my hand at drone cinematography, which is exceptionally rewarding and fun.

Where would be your dream location to take photos?
Wherever there are colorful birds and good light!

Who are some photographers that inspire you?
There are so many, but in my realm I’d say there are two who I really respect and admire. My buddy Sean Graesser @gourmetbiologist is a talented conservation biologist and powerful photographer. The other, Greg Basco @deepgreenphotography is a professional photo tour leader and exceptional naturalist.

What excites you about photography?
I get so pumped on the mystery of the hunt. As a bird photographer, there is so much you can get out of your subject and the possibilities to present your subject are limitless. With 10,000 species of birds in the world, there’s a lot of images to create!