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A splash of colours

by Editor Michel Romaggi in collaboration with the author Alessandro Rossini.
Published the 12th of November, 2020

To get a picture of a kingfisher is a kind of 'Grail' to every nature photographer.
This one is a stunning.  It's documentary and technical performance was achieved by Alessandro Rossi. His portfolio is full of amazing wildlife captures.
Let’s ask him how he managed to photograph such and exquisite shot of high photographic quality.


'Autumn's coming' by Alessandro Rossini


You have a lot of impressive wildlife pictures in your portfolio, Alessandro. Tell us about your passion for nature photography. Where does it come from?
I have always been a nature and animal lover since childhood, I grew up in the mountains near home. Passion for photography was randomly born with the birth of Instagram. At that time, I loved to take pictures of everything with my phone. But I saw my passion for photography growing when I bought my first camera.


How do you manage to achieve such beautiful pictures, how do you surprise animals?
Everything starts with the Knowledge of the subject, his behaviour and his habitat.
Then, the most beautiful part begins.  Looking for the location where the subject lives and watching his movements. Once you fully understand that, you can start shooting with adequate camouflage or hiding or with a mimetic net . Of course, there is always a big part of luck involved.  However, I like walking in the mountains looking for alpine fauna too.


I know that to take such pictures, it is very difficult and needs a lot of knowledge, patience and high performing equipment, especially for this bird shot which is wild, super fast and extremely difficult to photograph.  In which circumstances did you take this shot?
The kingfisher is one of my favourite birds.  I took this shot near to a little pond close to my home.  I build a little hide on the shore to get the best perspective possible.

Kingfishers are common birds in Italy.  They are important members of the ecosystems and good indicators of healthy freshwater. The highest density for breeding birds is found in clear water environment, which permits optimal prey visibility and trees or shrubs on the banks. These habitats also have the highest quality of water.
Like all kingfishers, they are territorial since they need to eat about 60% of their body weight every day.  Watching them fishing is a true show.  They remain perched on branches till they see a fish and then, dive as fast as bullets.

Photographers can impossibly not love kingfishers.  They have beautiful colours and it is not easy to take an action shot of this amazing little bird.  So, it became a fun challenge to do it.


Can you tell us which camera and lenses you use and which settings you choose to catch such moments?
I have a Nikon d500 camera and a Nikon 16-35 f4, Nikon 400mm f2.8 f VR, sigma 120-300 f2.8 Sport, and a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 fl VR. 

For this shot, I use the Nikon d500 with the sigma 120-300 f2.8 Sport.
I used the camera in manual mode, f4, and ISO 1400 for 1/8000: you need to have a very fast shutter speed because kingfishers are very small and very fast.


Can you tell us what place Photography takes in your life ?
For me, photography takes the first place in my life, although unfortunately, it’s not my job.
I started photography just 10 years ago.  I read many photography books and articles.
I have always been fascinated by the wonderful work of the most famous wildlife photographers. My first target of course was the kingfisher.  But nowadays, my desire to improve my technical skills led me to finding new subjects in the wonderful wildlife world.


Thanks a lot for sharing these interesting thoughts with us, Alessandro.

Good lecture, my compliments.