TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Elijah Goodwin, a Tarrytown resident, was able to combine his love of birding and his love of photography into an award winning photo.
Goodwin took home Best of Show at the 44th annual International Exhibition of Photography, which is run by the Color Camera Club of Westchester for his photo of an egret. Goodwin is the first Color Camera Club member to win.
More than 1100 photographs from 200 photographers from 28 different countries competed in the contest.
"It was amazing," Goodwin said. "I was very surprised."
Goodwin's photo "Swamp Angel", was taken while he was in Florida at an alligator farm.
"I was looking up underneath at the egret and I bent over backward to follow the bird in flight," Goodwin said. "I was really excited to see how it came out. I knew it was good, but I didn't know it was going to win an international award. I was very proud of it."
Wild birds often nest at the alligator farm since the alligators provide protection from predators.
"It's an amazing opportunity for photographs," Goodwin said. "There are beautiful birds everywhere."
Goodwin, who has a doctorate in ornithology, began taking photographs in high school. He resumed his hobby when he achieved his doctorate and discovered digital cameras.
"I love shooting on digital," Goodwin said. "When I used to shoot slides, I had to send them away. I didn't have a lot of control over the process. With digital, you can see what you did right away. I love having more control over the final product."
Goodwin is currently doing a bird research project at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. He recently participated in a fundraiser in Westchester where 93 species of birds were seen in 24 hours. Goodwin said Westchester is a great spot for birding and photography.
"It's both urban and suburban," Goodwin said. "You're not far from world class wildlife areas. New York has fabulous parks. The state park system is awe inspiring. It's far and away the best system I ever encountered."