Flamin­gos at Lake Nakuru

NPhoto - - Into Africa -

The vast gath­er­ing of flamin­gos at Lake Nakuru in Kenya is one of na­ture’s great events. “The flamin­gos move up and down the Rift Val­ley, de­pend­ing on where the con­di­tions are best. When I was there a num­ber of years ago, I learned that the con­cen­tra­tions of birds were ex­cep­tional at Nakuru, so I went there and it was ex­tra­or­di­nary. Half the birds were stand­ing or rest­ing, and the other half were feed­ing on shrimp. That

gave me the idea to do a long ex­po­sure, to cre­ate an im­age where the sta­tion­ary birds are rel­a­tively sharply de­fined and the feed­ing birds are very blurry. It worked out quite well here with a shut­ter speed that was prob­a­bly about half a sec­ond.”

Frans cre­ated this im­age in the days of film, so wouldn’t have been able to gauge how suc­cess­ful this cre­ative ap­proach would be in the same way that you can with a dig­i­tal cam­era. “This tech­nique for de­lib­er­ate blur­ring has be­come pop­u­lar. I started ex­per­i­ment­ing with it early in my ca­reer, when it was a nov­elty, and a lot of ed­i­tors thought it was a mis­take, so would re­ject those images. But I think I helped con­trib­ute to mak­ing this tech­nique part of the main­stream in wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy, by show­ing what you could do if you re­ally thought about it and cre­ated in­ter­est­ing images with blurs and swatches of colours in­stead.”

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