One of the things I’m asked about most often is what went into creating some of my unique images, especially those made at the top of rain forest canopy. So I thought I would share the story behind one of my most iconic images – The Bird-of-Paradise Sunrise – an image that has been used to champion the conservation of rain forests of the New Guinea region.
Making this image required over a week of preparation and lots of tree rigging and climbing. It was made with a remote camera attached to the tree where the birds displayed. I climbed the tree in the dark every morning, and hid the camera by wrapping it in leaves. I controlled the camera from a neighboring tree, where I had constructed a blind with the help of Aru Islanders out of poles and palm fronds, and run a cable from the camera in the display tree over to the blind tree. After rigging the camera I descended to the ground, and then climbed the blind tree (all in the pre-dawn darkness), carrying my laptop up into the canopy, where I connected it to the cable, and used it to remotely control the camera. A wide-angle view of a bird-of-paradise displaying in the canopy like this had been a dream shot of mine for years. On the particular morning when I got this shot, the sun cracked the horizon and lit up the mist just as the Greater Bird-of-Paradise spread his wings overlooking the canopy. I clicked the shutter, and I knew I had something magical. At moments like this, all the effort is forgotten.
The remote camera in position, facing the display branches.
The remote camera hidden in leaves, with my blind in the tree behind.
Blind under construction in the canopy.
In the blind with my laptop set up, ready to shoot.
The view from the blind with a 400 mm lens allowed me to also capture images such as this – two males displaying in unison!
If you have read this far, I hope you got a bit of a sense of how much work can go into creating one special image. To me, it’s worth it.
33% Off Holiday Sale Ends Dec 8! The Bird-of-Paradise Sunrise and many other Tim Laman images are available in our gallery, and there is still time for printing and shipping before the Christmas. Just saying!
Thanks for reading, and best wishes to all.