Exhibition "Atmospheres on the ponds of the Dombes"
In October 2017, we exhibited 20 wildlife and artistic photographs at the Château des Creusettes in the district of Ain in France. The wildlife exhibition entitled "Atmospheres on les ponds of la Dombes" was intended to unveil the wild beauties of migratory and wintering birds in this huge wetland. We chose live birds only on the ponds.
Several hundred-people crowded under the tent to discover these little-known treasures.
An exhibition in keeping with our artistic approach
All the photographic works presented at the exhibition "Atmospheres on the ponds of la Dombes" are in keeping with our artistic approach. All our sceneries are carefully chosen to highlight the birds. The lights are very soft and very sifted to better showcase the wild beauties of the region. All our scenes are ethereal with one or two birds but never more.
This exhibition is primarily artistic and naturalistic. The birds are perfectly identifiable. The goal we pursued was to show the Dombistes (people living in La Dombes) and the living people in the Ain department that La Dombes is full of unknown treasures that must be cared for.
This naturalistic approach does not prevent us from showing dreamlike scenes. The part of the dream is very important in our photographs. We are passionate about the beauties of nature and we like the spectators to escape by contemplating our photographs. This is the main purpose of our art photography collections.
An exhibition created at the castle of Creusettes in La Dombes in Ain
This exhibition took place in a magnificent castle, the Creusettes located in the heart of La Dombes in the village of Chapelle Chatelard in the department of Ain. This place was perfect for hosting these 20-photographic works dedicated to birds of this huge wetland with at least 1000 ponds.
The castle Creusettes was built in 1860 by the Lyon industrialist Alfonse Clément-Desormes. It is in La Dombes, halfway between Lyon and Geneva. The red brick house with its glazed tile roof has been completely renovated to restore its former glory. Along a river, the Chalaronne, the castle is surrounded by French gardens and animal parks.
The exhibition was sheltered under a huge marquee. We chose a horizontal format with a width of 90 cm (3 feet) to make the entire exhibition completely homogeneous. The community of communes of La Dombes who had commissioned this exhibition had made modular grids available. We could set up a scenography with aisles and passages in which the spectators could wander at their pleasure.
Four years of work
All the photographs presented during the exhibition were realized from 2012 to 2016 during the months of May and June. The end of spring is a very interesting period in La Dombes to photograph birds as it is the breeding season for migratory birds or sedentary birds.
Love parades and couples are usually formed during the months of April and May. This is an opportunity to photograph unusual behaviors such as dances and offerings of Great Crested Grebe. The laying occurs in May. The chicks start to come out of the nests in June. This is the period we prefer because the show is extraordinary. We have photographed at many scenes where adult coots or Great Crested Grebe feeding the chicks.
We are always surprised by the young swans leaving the nest to discover the ponds following the parents.
Every year, the show on the ponds is constantly renewed. We never know the feeling of weariness.
But La Dombes is not just the wild beauty of birds living on the ponds. It is also very flat landscapes bathed by soft and subdued lights that welcome us every morning before the first photographic session of the day.
During all these years, we became aware of how lucky we were to be able to come every year, to photograph these hidden animal treasures. Indeed, during the opening, we could notice that many dombistes (inhabitants of the Dombes) had no idea of the treasures that they rub daily.
La Dombes: a paradise for wildlife photographers
For us professional wildlife photographers specializing in live animals in wetlands, La Dombes is a real paradise. In fact, nearly 280 species of wild birds have been recorded in this region.
They are distributed among 94 species of passerines. They are small songbirds, like the melodious linnet or the song thrush ... but also the rook crow. There are also 183 non-passerines. They are generally larger, most of which are game species, such as ducks but also protected species, such as storks.
Another distinction considers the breeders: 154 species. But also, non-breeders such as migrants, wintering and summer visitors numbering 123 species.
These various birds are not evenly distributed in the ecological space of La Dombes, which can be subdivided into four main functional compartments: the woodlots, the crops associated with what remains of the hedgerow, the ponds, without forgetting the eutrophic environment of the villages.
For our project dedicated to the birds of the Dombes, we chose to focus only on the birds of the ponds. These very humid environments are beautiful landscapes with reed beds, flowers on the water, reflections on the surface. The ponds are for us beautiful cases that highlight the beauty of birds. We did not find in the woods or in the high forests the same interest for the sets.
The pond environment includes many species of birds: about fifty nidifies, as many migrators, even if this quota is here more fluctuating than in the other environments, according to the seasons and the years. The main systematic groups are grebes (crested, pygmy, black-necked), anatidae that include not only ducks, surfers and divers, but also geese, shelducks and swans, and archaeoids (eight species, heron butternut (also known as a cochineal rattlesnake), the commoners (aquatic rattlesnake, but also coot and waterfowl), the laridae (black-headed gull and moustac); the "aquatic" diurnal raptors are represented in nesting only by the harrier of the reeds and it is necessary to wait for the migration or the winter, to observe species as prestigious as the osprey or the bald eagle. In passerines, only sylviids are well represented as breeders: frightening and turdoid marsh warbler, reed warblers, luscinioid locusts, accompanied by reed sparrow. The other species remain occasional. Given the importance of the "freeze" parameter on the ability of ponds to retain water birds, their avifauna is less sedentary than those of other compartments: just over one-third of breeding species overwinter in winter. the region, still it is not always the same individuals; this is the case of the gray heron.
The use of the floating hide
To create all these photographs, we used floating hides as we have described in this article. It allows us to move around the ponds while walking. We can thus approach closer to the birds to observe and photograph them.
In our wildlife photographs, we like to photograph animals at eye level but specially to capture the brightness in the eye. This is what we call the spark of life.
The floating hide is very mobile and does not make noise. We can thus choose the best angles to seize the light and to better emphasize the birds.
Some birds like ducks are very fearful and cannot be approached easily. To make the photographs of the two common pochard presented in the exhibition, we had to wait for 3 days in the middle of a pond so that they become familiar with our presence.
The choice of artistic photographs
These 20 artistic and naturalistic photographs show sedentary species such as the gray heron or coots but also species of migratory birds such as the purple heron, the common pochard.
We resigned ourselves to making choices in the hundreds of photos we had. These choices were conditioned by our artistic approach but also by the desire to show the greatest of these unknown wild beauties. We hope to have achieved our goal.
The exhibition in photos
You can click on each photo of the exhibition to enlarge it.
Our business: professional photographers
Our artistic vision
Portfolio: Lights and colors
Portfolio: shades in blacks and whites
We are fascinated and passionate about the beauties of nature. We love to see the landscapes and observe wild animals whether on land or underwater. We have chosen to become professional photographers to share the emotions we feel when we observe nature whether it be on land or underwater. Our goal is to create art with our photographs. We always try to transform the banal into a contemplative and artistic interpretation.
We are wildlife professional photographers, landscape professional photographers and underwater professional photographers. We also strive to document nature with a focus on conservation and education.
We make art prints from our artistic photographs. These art prints are available on our website. We make exhibitions to show all the beauties and the incredible richness of nature that surrounds us.
We also love to share our love for the beauties of nature with other photographers. To communicate our know-how and to exchange our techniques and our points of view, we organize wildlife photography workshops, underwater photography workshops and landscape photography workshops. We gather together people who have the same passion as us for the beautiful photographs taken in nature.