The Making of "European Bee-eaters"
How the winning image in the September 2013 photo contest was made
By PF Staff in Photo Contests on Nov 23, 2013
This photo was taken in Northern Italy during the last spring. Bee-eaters just came from their winter sites in Africa, returning after their annual migration. They started making nests in the sandy slope of the river close to my town just some days before. Every year during this period, males of bee-eaters start having very interesting behaviors, that precede the coupling, giving good occasion to observe these beautiful birds and making nice shots.
So I reached the place that I already knew very well, before the sunrise as I usually do when I go out photographing birds. I set up my K-5 with the DA* 300 on the tripod, adjusting the camera position so as to have a good background. A bit above the trees in the photograph I had the sky and a little bit lower was the river water, so the set-up required a bit of time and attention.
Then I laid down on the grass and I covered myself and the camera with my camouflage net, waiting for the birds to start flying around and for the right light condition, relaxing a bit in the meanwhile and enjoying the new sunny day that was beginning.
After a while the first voices came, announcing the arrival of the bee-eaters. Then some of them started settling on the wooden branch I had positioned last time I visited the site, some 5 or 6 meters away from me. It's always a great emotion observing these colored birds, being sure that they don't see me as I'm hidden in the grass and under my mimetic net.
After some hours of waiting the right moment came: these two individual started interacting, giving me the opportunity to shoot several exciting photos, the best of which is the one I posted.
The jpg file posted was converted from the raw file, just with minor increase of saturation, light temperature and contrast and a little crop. The light conditions were very good and there was no real need of post processing.
Thank you very much to everybody who voted for it!