Eye to Eye by Renato Granieri (United Kingdom) Best Portrait
Renato Granieri, United Kingdom. Category: Best Portrait. BPOTY 2019.
One of the stunning entries from the 2019 competition is this Shoebill by Renato Granieri.
Photographer's Story: ‘It was a sunny afternoon, with a warm light bathing the Mabamba Swamps. When we first arrived at a small village nearby, our guides were preparing a long, wooden canoe for our departure. We jumped on and I set up my tripod, locking my 500mm into it. As we started paddling away in the silence of the lake we spotted a returning canoe, so we ended up with the entire area to ourselves. Before long, we spotted a Shoebill - one of only nine of these prehistoric-looking birds found in this vast area of the swamps. We silently kept paddling until we got a clear view of this beautiful adult female. I feel fortunate that I managed to capture a rare moment that would stay with me for a very long time: my eyesight got interlocked with hers for a fraction of a second. That is when I realised I had my shot. Its current status is vulnerable and decreasing. The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in swamps in Sudan, Uganda, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia.
Nikon D810 with Nikon 500mm f/4 lens. 500mm focal length; 1/1,000 second; f/4; ISO 100.
Judge’s view: ‘Every year I view thousands of images on my computer screen as I run through all the competition entries. Most of these images are technically sound, well lit and nicely composed; but most lack that certain something special. Admiration for a picture well-taken is simply not enough; for me there needs to be a strong and rather impulsive response. I wish I could list the ingredients that make that happen, but they never seem to be the same. I simply know that when a photograph makes me leap from my chair with joy, or sick to the bottom of my stomach with jealousy, they are there. This bird is on my bucket list and should I ever take a photograph as good as this, then I’ll rest a happy man.’