Window on life of SA’S cranes
PATIENCE is a vital attribute for any wildlife photographer and Daniel Dolpire had to have it in bucket loads when he decided to capture the cranes of South Africa.
Dolpire’s photographic journey, which started five years ago, has resulted in a book,
and features the Blue Crane, the Wattled Crane and the Grey Crowned Crane species. He teamed up with local ornithologist David Allan, who has been the curator of birds at the Durban Natural Museum for 22 years.
In 2013 Dolpire set off on his passion-driven odyssey and was immediately enthralled.
Often rising long before dawn and finishing a shoot after sunset, Dolpire has captured tens of thousands of images and travelled thousands of kilometres.
“The best time to photograph wildlife is in the early morning and late afternoon. Photographing cranes at roost sites always presented a problem as the birds would typically fly off before the sun was up and come in to roost after the sun had set. Patience is a photographer’s most valuable attribute, as getting the right images is a waiting game that can stretch over hours,” he said.
The book provides a map identifying the best places and times of years to see the cranes.
It describes how wetlands work and there is a chapter that features the conservation project run by the Kwazulu-natal Crane Foundation in rearing the Wattled Cranes in captivity. The long-term goal of the project is to re-introduce the captive reared Wattled Cranes into the wild to help bolster the numbers of the critically endangered species.
Dolpire said cranes acted as sentinels indicating the fragility and health of our natural resources, particularly wetlands and water catchments.
“The sentinels provide insight into the fragile, threatened life of cranes and their habitats – a world that we need to protect,” he added.