Spanish wildlife photographer Mario Cea is known for his incredible bird photography. Using slow shutter speeds and artificial light, he’s able to capture feathered creatures in unexpected, artistic moments. Regularly winning international photography competitions, Cea’s stunning photo of a kingfisher diving into a pond won the People’s Choice Award at the 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and was recently shortlisted for the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards.
With over 25 years experience as a wildlife photographer, Cea is an expert at techniques that allow him to make this magic happen in the field. Through hard work and perseverance, the expert wildlife photographer was able to bring his artistic vision to life. In fact, The blue trail is the fruit of 6 months of work and 2,000 shots in order to obtain this perfect result.
So just how did Cea manage to obtain the streaking effect as the kingfisher touched down in the water? “This image DOES NOT USE PHOTOSHOP. It is made only with photographic techniques,” Cea tells My Modern Met. “The image was taken with a slow shutter speed of 1/15s, combined with continuous light to capture the wake left by the bird in its path, with a flash to freeze the flight. When the exposure begins, the continuous light of a lantern is on and the flashes are fired at the second curtain, just when the exposure ends. Some people ask me, ‘Why doesn’t the wake appear in the reflection?’ The answer is simple…the wake is only visible when the background is dark enough.”
There you have it, no special post-production tricks, just knowledge of equipment and hard work to get the perfect photo. For Cea, it’s all worth it in order to get across his creative point of view and draw in the viewer. He hopes, that through his photography, people will not only gain a greater appreciation and respect for wildlife, but also understand the work and effort that photographers go through to capture stunning images of birds in nature.