Battling The Storm

As a wildlife enthusiast, I am constantly looking to the professionals for inspiration. In the November issue of BBC Wildlife magazine were some of the winning images from Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015. One particular image in the Birds category had a lasting impression on me.

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Technical Specification: Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 70-200mm lens at 163mm; 1/800 sec at f5.6; ISO 500

 

This image, named Battling The Storm, was taken by Italian photographer Vincenzo Mazza, who predominantly captures Italian and Icelandic landscapes. The location for this image was a lagoon in Reykjavik, the subjects were Whooper swans (foreground) and Greylag geese (background).

What I love most about this shot is how effective the juxtaposition is. Initially, the image looks tranquil with cool, diluted colours and a simplistic composition. However, when viewed more closely, it becomes apparent that the scene is far from tranquil. The birds are caught in a violent storm and the dreamy mist on the surface seems more like froth from the churning tide.

This image is significant to me because it puts into perspective the struggles that migrating birds face each year. The majority of Whooper swans spend winter in Britain or Ireland, flying up to 1400 km to reach Europe. This journey is the longest sea crossing of any swan species.

This shot was captured in January, so it is unusual that these birds were found so far from their winter home so late in the season. This context brings up questions about why the birds were not where they would usually be. In my opinion, that makes this photograph a great one; it has evoked an active response in me, the viewer. That is the ultimate objective for a photographer, so Vincenzo Mazza has produced what I consider a successful outcome.

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