Bruno D'Amicis - Birthday present


One year ago (+/- 24 hours) I woke up at dawn in the heart of the mountain wilderness of Majella National Park and crawled out of my sleeping bag. I had spent the night in a cold cave, but the morning was warm and it was introducing what promised to be a fabulous day: it was my birthday. I was there in the hope to photograph chamois with their newborn kids, but on the previous two days I couldn’t locate the herd of females and young I was looking for. Without much hope, sitting at the rim of the cave, I scanned one more time the surrounding slopes with my binoculars, but all I could see was a little flock of noisy red-billed choughs. The pink hues of dawn quickly left their place to the much more yellow tones of the sunrise. The best hour for photography was over. I had to get back home that day and join my girlfriend for my birthday, so I started packing my stuff and left the humid hole to step into the light to warm up. Once found a nice stone to sit on, I unwrapped my breakfast and ate it, happy to be there and enjoy the warm morning sun. A few hundred meters in front of me one of the most terrific gorge of Majella: two steep rock cliffs going straight for hundreds of meters. On the south-facing slope some huge century-old black pines were surprisingly growing on the almost vertical slope.

Those die-hard trees are true celebrities among the lovers of the National Park and I had admired a few pictures and even a painting celebrating their endurance. The latter is the work of an artist living in the Park territory and it decorates one wall in the National Park’s headquarter. On the canvas, alpine swifts flying among the trees and a majestic eagle sitting on the branches of the giant trees. It was the product of the artist’s fantasy or an experience he really had? I often wondered. It was beautiful and enough to feed my dreams of wilderness visual experiences for a long time.

That morning my breakfast was over and I was saying goodbye to the trees, when my eyes glimpsed a familiar shape perched on one tree that was getting the first sun rays. I had to stack two converters behind my lens to get a barely decent image of that scene. At such magnification and with such a distance, many pictures turned out blurred and none great: it didn’t matter. What I saw is still here with me, vivid in his beauty, and I thank the wilderness for such a special birthday present.

Tags: abruzzi, aquila, bruno damicis, chrysaetos, golden eagle, italy, majella, mountain, spring, wilderness

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  1. Ugo Mellone said:

    05/06/2012 10:35

    "300 f/2,8 with 1,4x and 2x stacked converters on tripod "... desert eagle owl style :-)

  2. Oriol Alamany said:

    05/06/2012 18:15

    Yes, I also am surprised by the use of the two stacked teleconverters. I used two also in some Brown bear pictures on the 500mm and the quality was not very good. Excellent environmental portrait, Bruno.

  3. l'oeil libre said:

    05/06/2012 18:22

    yes , very beautiful work with a beautiful light

  4. Carlos Acín said:

    05/06/2012 19:23

    A beautiful and thankful birthday present, being there just for watching this and brought this image as a memory.
    Congrats Bruno :-)

  5. David Guimaraes said:

    07/06/2012 12:41

    What birthday present you got! Although all the discussion about sharpness and the use of the 2 converters stacked, it is a great iamge of an idilic moment, I trully envy you! I simply like it! And by the way, Happy Birthday and best wishes of many years to come and moere joys and success!