Internationally acclaimed wildlife and nature photographer Gianpiero Ferrari FRPS DPAGB FBPE AFIAP entertained and informed members of the club with a stunning display of images via Zoom from his 2017 trip to the Falklands Islands on April 14th. He titles his talk “W.W.W. Falklands” and explained that the three “Ws” stand for Wild, Windy and Wonderful.
Gianpiero spent 18 days visiting the 4 of the larger islands to photograph the wildlife. The terrain was mainly flat and very boggy and he had also to cope with unexpectedly cold and windy conditions throughout his stay. Accommodation was fairly basic in most of the locations but nevertheless comfortable. He did however have to decant on one occasion to escape a snoring colleague!
Gianpiero’s first port of call was to Bleaker Island, commonly called Long Island. He shared two flower images to start his talk. Firstly the Pale Maiden, which is the national flower of the Falkland Islands and then one of only 5 species of orchid found on the islands, the Slipper Orchid.
Next Gianpiero began to share some of his truly amazing images of the wildlife that he studied and photographed during his stay. He commented on just how trusting most of the birds and ducks were. They were used to people and as a consequence he was able to get “up close and personal” but in a sensitive and responsible manner.
The varieties of birds Gianpiero shared would take a long time to list but some of the highlights were the Falkland Pipit, the Magellanic Oystercatcher, the King Cormorant and the Dolphin Gull that eats the poo of the King Cormorant. Then we were shown images of the Striated Caracacara that is a scavenger and we saw the evidence in a photo of one of the species pulling Gianpiero’s Canon 1DX away from his camera bag – but fortunately recovered in tact.
We were taken to East Lofers Bay on Sea Lion Island. Again a long list of birds and ducks were shown including the Magellanic Snipe that Gianpiero photographed from only 3 feet away. We were shown the Southern Elephant Seal, the Southern Giant Petrel and the rare Blackish Oystercatcher.
Then it was on to Saunders Island where Gianpiero was looking forward to catching sight of the Black-Browed Albatross. This was a special day for Gianpiero and he wasn’t disappointed when he photographed this amazing bird. He was able to sit next to the bird and even stroke it. The bird has a life span of about 70 years and is paired for life. On that one day alone, Gianpiero took over 2,500 images and the ones he shared were truly spectacular, He summed up that event by saying that it was an incredible, beautiful and emotional day.
Gianpiero’s final destination was Carcass Island where he photographed many birds and then went to a King Cormorant colony. Then it was off to see the “beautiful but boring” King Penguins!
This 2 hour talk was over in a flash and held the audience spellbound throughout. It was a fascinating and very informative presentation and we were grateful to Gianpiero for coming to the club and sharing such a wide variety of stunning images with us.
Please click on the images accompanying this post to discover what each of the subjects are.