Item Number: 1665LR
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ABOUT THE IMAGE:
One of Thomas D Mangelsen’s heroes of photography, the pioneering Frenchman Henri Cartier-Bresson, said this of the promise and challenge for those who carry a camera: “Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.” For Mangelsen, Cartier-Bresson’s wisdom can also be applied as a sobering reminder of the conservation threats to many species and it is a profound aide-memoire about how the magical opportunities that appear spontaneously must be seized before disappearing into the ether.
No matter what one’s taste in art—Realism, Impressionism, Abstraction—this Mangelsen composition, American Kestrels
capturing a pair of the smallest of North American falcons in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, is a marvel of composition. “To me, the image has the feel of an ancient Asian watercolor,” Mangelsen explains. The scene is the culmination of an afternoon in which the photographer watched the bonded kestrels search for a nest in the cavity of a woodpecker bore hole, hunt, ward off rivals, and engage in poetic courtship. For a brief instant, the ambient elements converged and it was this single frame that the photographer deemed worthy enough to print. “It is, beyond doubt my favorite bird picture,” Mangelsen says. “The asymmetry, the color and plumage patterns of the kestrels enhanced against the snowy winter sky and the negative space are the elements created by the aspen branches. Nature serves up a composition and you either see it or you miss it forever.”