Thursday, January 31, 2008

Photo of the month - February

"The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man." (Rachel Carson)

The picture of this month represents an old dream of mine, wich finally came true! Indeed, since I moved to live in Germany, about three years ago, I've spent countless hours (and driven many kilometers...) every winter, vainly searching for waxwings to photograph. These beautifully coloured birds are irregular winter visitors here in Central Europe, from the breeding grounds in the Northern and Arctic Regions. Every year, many or just a few of these obliging birds spend the winter months in Germany, moving continuosly through the land on the look for berries, their main food. Therefore, it is almost impossible to predict where to find this species and plan a photographic session. Just luck and patience allowed me a close experience with them feeding on some old rose hips in the German countryside. Despite the dim light and the grey sky, I've managed to get some sharp shots of the birds moving hectically around the shrubs, totally oblivious to my presence. Then, after about an hour, as if the spell broke, they suddenly flew all away, disppearing into the fog.
Let's hope that these birds would not be negatively affected by the ruthless global warming process, so that their delicate metallic call will still sound loud in the shrubs for many winters to come...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photo of the month - January

"...a rimirar tra le rossastre nubi stormi d'uccelli neri, com'esuli pensieri, nel vespero migrar." (Giosuè Carducci)

As far as I can remember, I've always spent the winter holidays in my hometown Rome. Beside the warmth of my beloved family and friends, the great food and the often beautiful weather, there's also something else making the city very special in the cold season. Every evening, in fact, hundreds of thousands of starlings fly into the city from its sourroundings, to gather in some particular spots they use as common nocturnal roosts. The dynamic of flight and the behaviour of each single bird, multiplied by thousands time as they cluster into huge swarms, create a marvellous array of incredible patterns and abstract shapes in the sky. As masterly depicted by Manuel Presti in his famous pictures, the flocking behaviour of these birds shows all its evolutive efficacy as defensive measure against the attacks of the Peregrine falcon, common presence at the evening gatherings.
Well protected against the droppings "bombing" from the sky, once again I couldn't miss this annual spectacle with my camera. And, of all the images recently taken at the site, I've chosen this particular one, where the last sunrays are being reflected by the wings of some birds in the swarm. And, as soon as those moved away from the light, other birds were reached by it, therefore creating a beautiful impression of golden waves crossing the flock. What a special moment for me to begin a new year of nature and photography!

If you want to discover the most secret corners of Rome and enjoy the spectacular behaviour of the flocks of starlings, get in touch with the Author or stay tuned on this website: we are organizing a dedicated workshop for winter 2008 -a unique opportunity to explore this city and its wonders with your camera. More informations coming soon!