Photo of the Month October 2019 – Winter Ptarmigan

The photograph of the month for October 2019 comes from my last snow mobile expedition to Svalbard in winter this year and is of a Ptarmigan in its winter plumage. I had been wanting to try and photograph this bird properly in a winter setting for some years now and this year I was afforded several opportunities over the period of two weeks I spent on snow mobiles in the winter landscape (mostly searching for Polar Bears). Whenever I am photographing wildlife like this I make every effort to get down as low as possible so that I can be at eye level with my subject and create a stronger connection between the viewer and the photograph. In this case, I lat down in the snow and actualyl partially buried my lens in the soft snow to create the soft transition between the snow and bird. The key to all of this style of wildlife photography is to carefully choose your background and then work with the subject to achieve the ‘look’ you want. In this case, a combination of a clean background with just a sudden gust of wind to ruffle the birds feathers and create some movement.

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