There have been rare moments in a long career in the field, when the image I had pre-visualized in my head came to life, and in fact exceeded my expectations (which are pretty darn high by the way). This is one of those moments. At least a week of effort went into planning and executing this shot. Every day I climbed, in the pitch black before dawn, first the tree where the bird had been coming to display. There I rigged a remote controlled camera camouflaged with a leaf wrapper. After I rigged the camera, I descended and climbed a second, neighboring tree while it was still dark, and perched in a little blind with my laptop, connected by cable across the canopy to the camera. When the male arrived that morning, it was before sunrise. But he stayed, calling and displaying, and when the sun popped out and lit up the bird and the mist in the canopy, I saw the scene come to life on my screen and I made this image. When you are in the field and in the heat of the moment, you often aren’t sure exactly what you have. But this time I really knew at that moment I had captured a very special image. I can still remember how my heart raced. This image has been a double page in National Geographic, and it has won top honors in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, but I am most proud of the role it has played in helping to elevate Birds-of-Paradise as the ambassadors for conservation of rainforest of the New Guinea region.
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