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Technique

Le présent article n'est pas disponible en Français
March 2010

When CPN spoke to Brutus Östling, he was about to jet off to Thessaloniki, northern Greece, to pay the second of a series of scheduled visits to photograph rare Dalmatian Pelicans for his major 2010 book project. CPN editor Steve Fairclough talked to Brutus Östling about his amazing close range shot of Dalmatian Pelicans.

Incredibly this picture, of hungry Dalmatian Pelicans, was shot by Brutus Östling from the shore of Lake Kerkini in northern Greece. This is due to a curious fact, as Brutus reveals: “The fishermen at Lake Kerkini feed the pelicans – they like them as, unlike cormorants, they don’t destroy fishing nets. Fishing is very old-fashioned at the lake but it is the livelihood and occupation of many. The fishermen have been throwing fishes to the pelicans for years and very much approve of them.”

© Brutus Östling

Top wildlife photographer Brutus Östling.

Brutus admits: “I heard about these pelicans from another photographer and they are quite spectacular birds. They weigh up to 15 kilograms, are nearly two metres in height, and have a wingspan of up to three and a half metres. There are only about 4,000 of them left in the world and around 1,400 of those are in Greece.”

For the shore-side shot he used the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV DSLR using the 16mm end of the EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM wide-angle zoom lens. He elaborates: “The camera was nearly at water level, so it’s very good to have a waterproof camera. You are constantly getting a ‘shower’ from the pelicans. It’s difficult to tell which picture is going to be good as they come towards you at a very fast speed, so to have a 10 frames per second camera is ideal.”

He explains: “I went for a rather high ISO (2000) because I wanted to keep a wide depth-of-field in the picture and I shot at around 1/800sec to get it sharp. The AF was continuous with various points used.”

Brutus adds: "I like the fact that with this camera I can use high ISOs and I don't have to worry about it. ISO 4000, and even 6400, is good enough for spreads in my books that are around half a metre horizontally. There's no problem. With a dark background I may use some extra noise reduction at ISO 6400, if I was planning to use the picture for a book spread."

Brutus admits: “I’ve been shooting this project from a boat and from the shore. So far I have taken over 6,000 pictures of these birds and will be going back two or three more times to shoot more. I plan to try and publish a book on these birds in August this year and I will be publishing in English as well as Swedish.”

Technical

Rare Dalmatian Pelicans in Greece – Brutus Östling

Location: Lake Kerkini, Thessaloniki, northern Greece
Date: 2010
Camera: EOS-1D Mark IV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM
Exposure: 1/800sec at f/11
ISO speed: 2000

Biographie: Brutus Östling

Brutus Östling

Brutus Östling was born in December 1958 and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. He started a publishing house at the age of 22 in 1981. After publishing more than 1,000 titles in 2005 he changed his career and became a professional photographer, specialising in wildlife photography.

Three of his photo books have been bestsellers in Sweden, and some have been translated into English, and other languages. His first ‘Mellan vingspetsarna’, with photographs of birds from the Arctic to the Antarctic was published in Sweden in 2005 and won the WWF Panda Prize 2006 as the best nature book in Sweden.

Throughout much of 2010 Brutus shot a project on pelicans in Europe and the USA, which resulted in the book 'Dalmatians and other Pelicans'.

In 2012 Brutus photographed birds in the US states of Alaska and Florida, including iconic bald eagles, and in 2013 travelled throughout Europe to appear and speak at a variety of photo events and workshops. He was a Canon Ambassador from 2009-2014.