“Argentinian Christmas Lights” – Ituzaingo, Argentina – Daniel Fox – Featured Photographer
Today’s post is packed jam full with lots of really cool information about a really interesting photographer/scientist, Daniel Fox. Many of our great photos come from scientists working in the field on a particular species, but Daniel seems to go everywhere, literally. He is embarking on a six year journey travelling around the world on an extreme island expedition. Let me be one of many to cast my name into the hat as a marine mammalogist/photographer if there are any legs with an opening. Please read Daniel’s description below and then follow one of his many links. I suggest the Expedition page at the end of the post
This picture was taken on July 2nd 2010, at the Yacare Pora farm (http://www.yacarepora.com.ar/) in Ituzaingo, a little village in the north of the province of Corrientes, in Argentina
I was there with my partner Jasmine Rossi (www.jasminerossi.com) doing an interview (http://vimeo.com/channels/lasmarias#13245057) for the Mate Expedition (http://www.kontain.com/thewildimageproject/entries/101111/mate-expedition-by-taragui/) (http://mateexpedition.taragui.com.ar/) The trip was sponsored by Taragui, a famous Mate (tea) company. The trip was also for me to photograph representative animals from the north of Argentina. I was having a show at the Consulate of Argentina in New York that coming October, called “Wildlife of Argentina” http://www.kontain.com/thewildimageproject/entries/101107/ny-show-at-the-consulate-of-argentina/
Yacare Pora (owned by Grupoinsud, http://www.grupoinsud.com.ar/) is a sustainable caiman farm. The local indian community used to hunt the black and broad-snouted caimans. The black market was huge and the animals were in sharp decline. The farm started to hire the local community to find the eggs instead and take them back the farm and to be hatched. Half are returned to the wild and the other half is kept for the market. The black market has been dramatically reduced and the population of caimans in Argentina saved. They have created a sustainable economy based on live animals, not dead ones. You can watch the little documentary here http://vimeo.com/13380831
Caimans are separated by age and size. Interestingly enough, caimans will grow faster and eat more if there are many of them in the same place. So each little “pool” contains a specific number of caimans – enough to provoke them in eating more, but not too many so that it stays healthy and clean.
Jasmine and I knew exactly the kind of shot we were after. That doesn’t mean that it was a “piece of cake”! The caiman eye at night not only produces an “Eyeshine” but it is also iridescent, meaning that the color changes with the angle of the light source. The challenge was to get a good composition, clarity, and many different colorful “eyeshine”. And since I do not photoshop my images, I was hoping for a little bit of luck too!. Thank god caimans are good subjects to photograph – they don’t move much We must have taken at least 200 shots that night. Trying various flash angles, exposition, aperture, etc.
This shot was done with a Canon 5D, at ISO 200, Aperture f/16 open for to 2 minutes. It is exactly what I was looking for. It is kind of abstract, you don’t really know what it is, until you look close enough to realize what it is. On the composition side, I am really happy. I always look to have a central element in the photo, from where the rest of the story evolves. Without even cropping the photo, I was able to get my focus on one caiman slightly off the middle to the right, looking at me.
It is important for me to stick as much as possible to the essence of photography and value the challenge of capturing “THE” moment. It is too easy today not to care and manipulate everything on the computer.
As for the future, right now I am working on an expedition like none before – 6 years navigating the most hostile oceans on earth. Find out more here http://www.wildimageproject.com/The_Extreme_Islands_Expedition.html
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