Selection of October 2020: MiraGirafes by Florence Dabenoc-Devaux

MiraGirafes by Florence Dabenoc-Devaux

This picture was taken in Etosha (one of the most beautiful African national park, located in Namibia), during the dry season. I've wanted to make this image for a long time, and it's rare that I mentally build an image beforehand, generally I let myself be carried along by the inspiration of the moment. I was dreaming of abstract giraffes' silhouettes, reflected in profile... like a mirage...

Implementing it was quite difficult, because usually, when animals come to drink, they turn around and leave the waterhole, as soon as they finish drinking, especially giraffes. I already had their reflection from the front, their reflect seen from the back, was of less interest to me. But with those two giraffes, my hopes were high: they didn't leave the waterhole ,but walked along the edge and their majestic distinct silhouettes were perfectly reflected. Still, this was not quite the image I've dreamt of, too "classic" even if beautiful. All of a sudden, a light breeze (the one I was waiting for!) softly broke up the reflection. I was lucky as a few meters further, the water point ended and their reflections would have been incomplete.; it was only a question of a few seconds!

First thing I had to do was to turn the photo upside down to make my dream of "MiraGiraffes" come true. I re-framed the image to make the stony banks of the water point disappear, I wanted something really uncluttered. Then converted it in black and white. This photo works well in colour, but I had imagined it in black and white, I have a special thing with B&W ;-) . Then "improving" all my greys (water) in "pure" white by overexposing them while protecting my main subjects, and adding a bit of contrast and darkness (black) in their silhouettes. Nothing else. As I often say to spectators who ask me questions about this image during exhibitions (because it challenges them, and I like it !) - there is no need for photoshop or to add anything, just observe the magnificent special effects that nature offers us. Nature is the most gifted artist!  

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