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When I visited the Atacama deserts of northern Chile recently, I was struck by the spare beauty of the region; it couldn't be more different than my normal everyday studio in the tropical rainforest! While I was captivated by the lack of life in this area, one of the driest on the planet, I still longed for a bit of color and maybe even some feathers :-)

My wish came true very late one afternoon as I visited a highland lake with my friends. A lone Chilean Flamingo was foraging right next to us on the path! I immediately changed from my telephoto lens to a wide angle, screwed on a polarizer, and grabbed a flash (which I always have handy no matter where I go). My idea was to expose for the larger scene, look for some compositional lines, and then use the flash to slightly fill in the shadows on the bird caused by the sun setting to my left as I viewed the scene. 

After a couple of shots I had things dialed in and began shooting. The flamingo, however, was just kind of mulling around with its beak in the mud. I needed a more dynamic pose and, luckily, was rewarded with one for just a split second as the flamingo lifted its head and stretched out its back leg. This is the shot I envisioned from the moment I came upon the scene, and I was so happy to have accomplished it. I hope you like it!

Canon 5DsR, Canon 16-35 mm f/4 L IS zoom, polarizer, handheld, flash in manual mode at full power, f/22, 1/50, ISO 500

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