Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016
My picture “Eye-light ” was awarded in the Black and White category of what is the most prestigious and long-lived wildlife photography competition in the world. It’s really hard to hide the emotion even in having a photo in the fantastic exhibition in the Museum and rolling in dozens of other cities in the world. One of the reasons why I practice nature photography, and I think it is shared by many of my “colleagues”, is to sensitize viewers to the conservation of nature, but to do that it’s necessary that a picture in one way or another reaches a certain level of exposure. This exhibition is visited by millions of people, at least from this point of view I can be satisfied and doubly proud.
The photo portraits a stunning Lesser Blue-eared Starling and was taken on the shores of Lake Awasa in Ethiopia. The sun was setting over the lake and the atmosphere has become magical, so I chose a position that would allow me to have as background the water reflecting the last light of the day. The idea was to emphasize this “dark” atmosphere, the perfect setting for the enticing eyes of the starling, with a black and white which has prevailed in spite of the beautiful colors of the plumage. The eye Of course is the strong point, the center of gravity of the picture: as soon as I realized that the color and expression of the eyes could make a difference in a photo in black and white, I decided to set the camera to this kind of shot and the incredible colors of the plumage of these birds have become secondary for a moment.
The ceremony is something that I wish to all of my photographer friends to be able to see at least once in their lives. It’s fantastic! Just as it was great to talk to many photographers, the talented (and very humble) sections of the young winners, and with many others, some of which I’m embarrassed to have my name written next to theirs. Surely I came back with a wealth of emotions, memories and knowledge that I’ll keep jealously.