May 2017. Wildlife Photography Project on Birds of the Danube Delta in Romania
In May 2017, we journeyed to the Danube Delta in Romania, to photograph birds living near the Ukrainian border. Our goal was to photograph not only migratory birds such as purple herons, gray night herons or Eurasian penduline, but also to photograph birds who stayed year-round in this area such as Dalmatian pelicans.
The month of May is particularly interesting for us as the landscapes and scenery are magnificent. In our artistic approach designed for our artistic photographs, we always focus on: the decorations, the lights, and the birds, specifically in that order.
Since the weather conditions were very peculiar this year with rain and wind, the lights were challenging. Often, the rain beat down heavily upon us. Because our equipment is of a professional quality, it is sensitive to the abundant humidity, and we cannot use it in the rain. However, the rain did not merely affect our equipment, it also affected the creation of the photos themselves. When it rains, there is tiny light. Shutter speeds become slower. It is difficult to freeze the flight or the movement of a bird. Despite these difficult challenges, there is a positive side to when it rains. During rain, a photographer can create incredible and very special photographs with strange atmospheres.
The wind is also a very annoying element for shooting. On one hand, birds do not like to fly when the wind blows. They prefer to remain sheltered in the immense beds of reeds within Danube Delta. But as always in wildlife photography, we showed tenacity and the sun eventually showed itself to be generous. On the other hand, it takes time for a bird to take off. This is a good situation for a photographer to create pictures of a pelican or a pelican starting to fly.
The Danube Delta covers an area of about 5800 km2. The number of species living in the delta is about 300. Each year at the time of the migratory period in spring, millions of birds come to breed, before leaving again in the fall. This period is certainly the most suitable for making animal pictures.
Photographing the poultry fauna of the Danube Delta can be done either from fixed blinds, from floating blinds or from a wooden boat.
The technique of a fixed blind is interesting because it only requires the use of a simple camouflage cloth or a summary camouflage created from branches and leaves. Once this is constructed, one has only to wait for a bird to land within the frame chosen by the photographer. The advantage to this method is that the photographer chooses the scenery and the light to highlight the subject. The disadvantage is that the birds do not often stay in the same places unless they nest. They move according to the wind and the food they find. A photographer can stay for several hours without seeing a single bird in his viewfinder. The technique of a fixed blind requires a lot of time on the spot because the photographer will be able to choose only two places each day: one in the morning and one in the evening.
The technique of the floating blind is more profitable for the number of photographs realized. The photographer can move in the pond he has chosen without scaring the birds, which is an advantage. In fact, animals tolerate the floating blind because it has a rounded shape, very far from the human form that maddens all wild animals. Unfortunately, this has a disadvantage. The floating blind requires a certain level of water to move across the pond. Two or three feet of water are acceptable, but during periods of drought such as this year, 2017, most of the interesting ponds are dry. It is thus impossible to use a floating blind.
The technique of a wooden boat remains the easiest to use. The photographer can easily move along canals to search for birds. During a photo session that lasts 5 hours, it is possible to travel nearly 30 kilometers using the engine, a great advantage. This technique is certainly the best one for the creation of many photographs of distinct species. But it has two major disadvantages. The first disadvantage is the sound of the engine, which often frightens the birds. They run away as soon as they hear the first sounds. Also, the canals of the Danube can be very winding. It is impossible to predict the presence of a bird before approaching a turn. Even when the speed is reduced and the engine is idling, the birds flee as soon as they see the boat arrive. It is often too late for the photographer to take any pictures.
The second disadvantage of the boat is that it is impossible to choose the scenery and the light to create the photographs. The photographer must adapt himself to the scene presented in front of him. Even if we find a beautiful purple heron or a night heron in an exceptional behavior, we may decide to not trigger the camera because of the scenery, which may be very unattractive, such as damaged trees or faded vegetation. However, these situations occur quite rarely because the Danube Delta offers magnificent scenery and very little degradation made by human presence.
Because the entire Delta is a world biosphere, the locals protect these natural areas. There are a few villages established historically in the area, nevertheless, the fishermen have understood the importance of nature preservation since the World Heritage listed in 1991. Most fishermen have reconverted into tourism by offering accommodation for many ornithological enthusiasts, who come to admire the natural beauties of the region.
Finally, this trip in 2017 appears to have been placed under excellent auspices. We have produced several interesting series that will feed our different collections of photographs of art whether they are in the register lights and colors or in the register of shades of blacks and whites.
White spoonbill flying. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Whiskered tern flying. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Dalmatian pelican taking off. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
White stilt walking in a mudflat. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Elegant Avocet taking off. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Elegant avocet in a mudflat. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
A collared pratincole in a mudflat. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Squacco heron in one of the arms of the Danube. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Eurasian penduline tit building his nest in a weeping willow. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Purple heron in one of the arms of the Danube. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Black-crowned Night Heron in one of the arms of the Danube. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.
Gray heron in one of the arms of the Danube. Wildlife photography project dedicated to birds of the Danube Delta in Romania.