The story behind the photo: mirror-loving bird

A bird catches its reflection, Ramat Gan, Israel

In the first half of 2010, we ran a photo competition, asking travellers to submit their travel shots and help create a virtual photo mosaic of the world. We received over 130,000 amazing images and had to whittle entries down to finalists and a winner – no easy feat! We interviewed some of our finalists to get the story behind the image – like this one taken by Jean Spector.

Where and when was your image taken?

This is not my typical image as my main specialty is landscape photography. Taking it required a combination of  location, season, subject, subject's behavior and choosing the right moment to take the photo.

The image was taken in Safari Ramat Gan, Israel in April 2004. I visited with my wife Olga and while I was in the driver's seat, Olga had the back seat to herself so both of us could take photos from both sides of the car. The crowned crane obviously had a fit of curiosity as after I stopped the car next to it, it came towards the car (click!) and took a peek inside (click!). After it was satisfied with what it saw inside, it went to briefly examine itself in the driver's mirror (click!). That last 'click!' resulted in the image presented to you here.

Tell us about your camera?

The Sony DSC-F717 (point-and-shoot) camera I used to take the shot offered some huge advantages and posed some significant issues: The camera has a close-up mode that lets the camera focus very closely. Had I encountered the same situation today, chances are I would've missed the shot altogether as most SLR telephoto lenses commonly used on safari can't focus close enough and the bird was 30cm from me when I took the shot. The main disadvantage was that the camera is quite slow and I only had one chance to take the shot, so I had to do it right on the first attempt.

Tell us a bit about yourself, and where we can see more of your work?

I was born in 1976 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine (yeah, try to pronounce that!). When I was 8, my family moved to another town and when I was 14 we immigrated to Israel where I live now. Probably all these moves caused me to love travel so much. While my main vocation is software assurance and test automation, photography has been my main hobby for the last 7 years, since 2003 when digital became affordable. For a while I tried different areas of photography from macro to animals, but eventually decided to focus on landscapes. Everything I know I learned from reading the web, photography books and practicing a lot.

You can see more of my photos at