egyptian goose family rimlit

Favourite Photo from 2018

It’s quite hard as a photographer to choose your favourite photograph from the thousands that you will have taken. Some people may choose based upon the rarest species that they may have photographed, whilst some may choose a photo that they feel took the most amount of skill or time to obtain. I however, believe that the best photo is the one that has the best story behind it.

 

This photo is of an Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) with two of her goslings. It was a sunny day, with the occasional cloud to provide dapples of shade, in other words the perfect day to be experimenting with lighting in your photography. The photo was taken in Highfields Park in Nottingham. The lighting of the photo was achieved by having shadow in the foreground and background and exposing for the slight amount of light hitting the subject. Whilst this makes for an interest technique and rimlighting effect in the photo, it needs to be relevant to the story that you want to tell in the photo.

 

Egyptian geese are an invasive species here in the UK, and they are well documented to have troubles with breeding in such a different climate. The time of year that they would usually breed is normally in a much warmer climate, and hence breeding in similar months in the UK is often too cold for the baby goslings and many of them struggle to survive. Over time, the invasive Egyptian geese have begun adapting their habits to breed slightly later in the year. However, the spring of 2018 was a notoriously cold season, and within a few days of birth the goslings had already experienced snow for the first time (as shown in some of my other photos). I therefore knew at the time of taking this photo, that the future of the goslings was uncertain. This is where the image I had in mind for the photo started to come together in my mind. Only illuminating the subjects (mother and goslings) emphasises a dark and uncertain future, but the light on the subject shows the promise and beauty of life. This narrative is also followed by the positioning of the subjects within the frame, with the goslings facing away and into the darkness that represents their uncertain future. On the contrary the mother’s body is facing in the same direction but she is turning and looking at her baby goslings, showing protection and affection.

 

After taking this photo I continued to work with the goslings over the next few days, producing more photos over varying conditions.

Egyptian goslings march

spring gosling

egyptian geese winter bench

 

Unfortunately, one morning as I arrived into University, they were nowhere to be found. After finding both parents in good health, and following them for most of the morning, it was safe to say that the little goslings were gone. I searched the area high and low for any signs of a struggle, or in case they had merely been separated from their parents, but there was no evidence of this at all. The fact that all the goslings had disappeared without a trace over one night, and that the parents were entirely uninjured, leads me to believe that this was a human intervention. The fact that they are an invasive species also points to this conclusion, so perhaps it was the doing of the local council or even the University. I am however, at least glad that I managed to spend so much time with them while they were here, and that they at least got to experience the wonders of the weather such as rain, sun and snow. The following photo was taken on the day I found the goslings missing, and shows the mother goose in the same spot she would sit with her goslings underneath her, but this time looking up and out into the distance.

 

egyptian goose sunlit lighting

 

In loving memory of the first wildlife subjects that truly captured my heart,

Jordan

 

 

P.S: Thank you to Jusep Moreno, who alerted me when goslings had been born. https://jusepmoreno.com/

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