The Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards are back: both senses: NPR

Penitents penguins. A horrified stamp. A turbocharged wigeon, a gnu vain and a kickboxing kangaroo.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have returned. This year's winners were announced on Thursday morning.

The annual awards are "ingeniously titled to avoid confusion," according to their website, and they recognize "happy, optimistic, possibly unpretentious images, and mainly about wildlife doing fun things." "Like a fox poops in one of the holes in a golf course, for example, not much pretentious about it.

The photos are judged by technical excellence and comic value of the subtitles, so we can not attribute the merit (and we will not accept the blame) for the ridiculous previous subtitles.

This author could continue all day on the other finalists for the 2017 competition. (Did someone say jackrabbit mustache?) Better, however, let some of artists (photographers, not wildlife) speak for themselves.

The finalists are divided equally between professional wildlife photographers and people who take photos mainly for fun. "George Cathcart says he has been interested in photography since he bought his first camera in 1968, when he was serving in the Vietnam War. "Cameras were cheap on the PX," where soldiers could buy things, remember.

  PHOTOS: F of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2016

He returned to photography after retiring a few years ago, and began taking pictures of birds and aquatic wildlife. "I love sea elephants," he says. "This time from December to February they are giving birth and mating," so there is a lot of drama on the beach.

Cathcart spent a week going down to the beach in San Simeon, California, every day. One day, he saw a young sea elephant posing in another male. "Clearly, he opposed," says Cathcart. "As soon as I took it, I knew I had something, it broke me immediately"

He titled the image, which is included above, "WTF ?!"

Next, there's Carl Henry. Henry is from Houston, right on the migratory path of many birds that come and go from South America. When he started as an amateur wildlife photographer about 15 years ago, people badumed that he photographed birds. They were wrong.

"I do not like birds," says Henry. Or at least he thought he did not like them. It turns out they're fine, and they even got him a place as a finalist in this year's competition.

It was on the island of South Georgia, near where the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton is buried. "I saw the three penguins go to the church," he recalls. "I thought it would be a good picture."


Henry thinks it could have been even better. "I think one of the disadvantages of my photography is that the penguins are not so prominent, and then you realize, eh, they are penguins."

Anyway, he's happy to be a finalist. "We all need to laugh these days," he says. Something to make you feel that way.

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