The elegant crowd
Jasper learnt about the crowds of demoiselle cranes that flock to the village of Khichan, in Rajasthan, India, every year from a BBC documentary. He was captivated ‘by the mass chaos of the vast gathering and their elegance’, and decided he had to visit the village. Some years ago, the villagers started putting grain out for the few dozen birds that stopped over during their migration from breeding grounds in Eurasia. Now thousands of cranes visit and winter in the region. Jasper joined crane conservationist Sevaram Malli Parihar on his roof at dawn. His house overlooks a large enclosure erected to protect feeding cranes from stray dogs. ‘Rows of v shapes would come from every direction, the birds descending into the dunes. Once one had entered the enclosure, others would follow. Soon, it was filled with a sea of cranes, turning their heads in synchrony.’ To ‘limit the information to just what was necessary’ while emphasising the size and dynamic of the flock, Jasper converted the image to black and white.
Canon EOS-1D X + 400mm f2.8 lens; 1/250 sec at f22; ISO 1000; Gitzo tripod.
Khichan, Rajasthan, India
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Jasper Doest, The Netherlands
Jasper's work has received multiple awards, including in Wildlife Photographer of the Year, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Travel Photographer of the Year. He has also appeared in numerous international journals and books, including National Geographic magazine, Smithsonian and GEO. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).