Early and late in the day when the sun is low, opportunities arise for lengthy shadows to create a dynamic element to many landscape compositions. This image depicts a bird in its habitat. Unlike a landscape when long shadows can linger – if clouds don’t cover the sun – the opportunity was a fleeting one.
African penguins were coming ashore on Boulders Beach near Cape Town, late in the day. I was shooting verticals of a penguin walking towards me with an 80–200mm lens. Suddenly the penguin turned casting an ephemeral shadow on the flat sandy beach. Fortunately the camera was on a tripod with the lens mounted using a lens collar, so I could speedily change the format from vertical to horizontal and zoom out slightly. Even so, I only managed to take two shots before the penguin turned to resume its walk up the home stretch and the novel Concorde shadow was lost.
I watched several other penguins returning to the beach from the sea, but none paused and turned, and the shot would never have arisen if the beach has not been a flat sandy one. A case of being in the right place at the right time.
Watch out for this continuing series of images – A Seeing Eye – in which I descibe in 200 words , or less, how I saw, composed and took the picture.