Last Friday (November 25), I had the great honor of receiving the first award of the man and nature category of the prestigious contest GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, with the photograph “My hands”.
I would like to thank the jury for deciding that my photograph is the winner, but also to thank all the people that make possible that the GDT is a reality that helps to show works like this. Realities that we find very near us, here in Europe.
Really, it’s not a nice image, in fact, the opposite, the image shows the state that many of these places in habited by animals are in, in countless zoos. This kind of place is one of the main reasons of why we have a lack of animal welfare: the stereotipies that are “movements and repetitive actions without an end”.
“My hands” is an example of these stereotipies; it was made in Madrid Zoo and shows a mandrill who, now and then, returns to the glass and hits it, leaving his fingers impregnated,
This award it will help me to continue making this project strong (www.theconfinedsoulsproject.com)
This Christmas I spent several days in the Entinas-Sabinar Nature Area and Reserve (Paraje Natural de Punta Entinas-Sabinar) to see which wintering birds were there. In one of the ponds I always saw around 50 or 60 Waders, so I tried my best to take a good picture of them. But the day I went there I couldn’t have the chance to see them, and the ones that were there were quite dispersed in the different ponds of the surroundings. I didn’t really know what to do, because there wasn’t too much activity and I spent a big amount of time thinking where to place myself. In the end, I ended up in a small pond where I had already seen a group of black-necked grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) since summer.
Times passed and the grebes didn’t come near, I could only take pictures of them with the 600mm, but I wanted them to be nearer. But if I’ve learnt something in photography is not to be impacient, so I decided to stay a little longer. All of a sudden, a western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus) dropped sharply a bit further from where I was, and in a few minutes tok flight again to my position. I knew it would fly above me, but when you are laid down you don’t have too much freedom to move and, in that momento, I had to decide whether to try and take the picture probably scaring away the bird, or forget about the picture and enjoy the moment. I decided to go for the second option and the western marsh harrier passed by 2 metres above me beating its wings. A very precious momento that doesn’t happen every day. I don’t know what would have happened if I had tried to take the picture, but what I do know is that in this world where everything is more often accelerated, it is ok to stop and listen and feel the present, without seeking its fast consumption.
Later, nature provided me with the approaching of the grebes, of which I could take a great collection of pictures.
I hope you enjoyed the story and the picture!