© Krisztina Scheeff / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2020

Holbrook Leader Recognized as Photo Contest Finalist

Holbrook Leader Recognized as Photo Contest Finalist

Sep 17, 2020|PhotographyNews| by Holbrook Travel

Congratulations to trip leader Krisztina Scheeff of KS Nature Photography, whose image of a piggish puffin was named a finalist in the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards!

Winners will be announced October 22. For a good laugh, check out the other finalists and help Krisztina win the Affinity Photo People's Choice Award with your vote. 

 © Krisztina Scheeff / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2020

Here, Krisztina shares the story behind the photo:

So let's start with Atlantic Puffins. I absolutely adore these funny birds. They are called “Clowns of the Sea” because no matter what issue you have in this world, once you watch a Puffin go about his/her business for even 10 minutes—you will smile. I call it “Puffin Therapy.”

I took this shot in Scotland, on Isle of Lunga. I visit every summer when I lead my nature photography tours there, but this time I went out on my own to get some shots and just spend time with the Puffins. Isle of Lunga is an uninhabited island, no humans, but over 15,000 birds (Puffins, Guillemots, Razor Bills and more). Once we land and get off the boat, we have about two hours to hang with the puffins, which is plenty. Then you better be on the boat or you get left behind for the night. 

Atlantic Puffins are super fast birds—amazing swimmers, and even faster at flying. They were bringing in lots of fish for the Puffling, and once they land, they quickly disappear in the burrow. It takes some quick reflexes to get shots (and a neck massage after). So I was having a great time, me and 40 other folks, photographing the Puffins. Two hours was up and it was time to head down to the boat, it is about a 10-minute walk, down the cliff-side trail, then over the rocks. I had my camera gear all packed, and most folks were already down at shore. It was me up at the cliff side and about 10 more folks.

Then…the Jane Wayne shot happened. (I call it Jane Wayne—see how fast can you draw your camera—get it? John Wayne moment but I am a girl, so Jane Wayne it is.) This Puffin lands. With all that fish. And just stands there. And the three-way standoff goes like this: Puffin looking at me, I am looking at Puffin, 10 people looking at me, and we are looking at the Puffin. I can see it in the 10 folks' eyes: so are you gonna take a photo or what?

I am thinking: “He is going to disappear in the burrow.” But he is not, not yet, the Puffin is just standing there. So then I am thinking, “How fast can I get the bag off my back, unzip, get camera out, dial in the right settings, and I knew I wanted to get a low-angle shot, so I will have to drop to the ground.” And then I said to myself – FINE, let's do this. Within seconds, camera was out, I was on the ground and I was photographing the Puffin with the fish. I can see the other one enter my frame, I am just shooting. I get in about 10 shots then he is gone into the burrow.

Still laying down on the ground, I quickly look at the display of my camera to see if I got the shot of the Puffin with fish. But then I see THE shot—and this just made me smile even more. Then I look up and there are 10 people hovering over me, all I see is wondering faces and I hear the voices, “Did you get the shot? Did you????? Please say yes."

And I said, “Yes, I got it—but please, please, someone start going down to the boat and tell them to wait for me.” I still had to get up, pack all my gear back in, and make the walk down to the boat. I made it to the boat, and the ride back we had an amazing time chatting with the folks, sharing stories.

See, I enjoy taking photos of wildlife that are unique. Any photo of mine that evokes a feeling in my audience, happy, sad, smiling, laughing or a WOW, it is a great shot. 

When you visit my website you will see that I do love Puffins (just don’t tell the Western and Clark’s Grebes – those birds that dance on water. I specialize in them, and I do love them dearly. They are also my favorites).

The Puffin with the fish in my shot is actually bringing in all that fish for the Puffling. Puffins raise one chick, and sometimes I wonder if they just feed them to death. Nah, kidding, that little cute fur ball will be ready to fly when they all head back to sea.

To see more of Krisztina’s work and learn about her conservation and education projects, please visit her website at ksnaturephotography.com.

Watch Krisztina's webinar with Holbrook: "Photographing the Spirit of Birds."

If you'd like to join Krisztina on a photography expedition, here are a few of her upcoming trips with Holbrook:

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