Juan had marvelled at the pattern caused by a crack in a huge agave leaf. The succulent was growing near his parents’ house in Sierra Blanca, southern Spain. As the weighty leaf had grown it had curved over and started to split. Now it was about to be destroyed in a controlled burn, lit to prevent flash fires in summer. Juan was struck by the contrast between the cool blue of the leaf and the warm light from the fire ‘seeping through the wound’. He had to work quickly – its colour was darkening and its smooth texture deteriorating fast in the heat. He used a cool white balance to enhance the leaf’s blue tone, and opted for a flash from the side to emphasise the cracks and give more contrast in the early evening light. But he managed just a few shots before the effect he wanted – ‘like a sheet of ice with fire below’ – was spoiled by the blaze.
Canon EOS 7D + 100mm f2.8 lens; 1.6 sec at f8; ISO 100; Manfrotto tripod; flashlight.
Ojén, Málaga, Spain
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Juan Jesus Gonzalez Ahumada, Spain
Juan Jesus has spent almost 20 years photographing and studying animal behaviour. He is passionate about wildlife, having been in regular contact with nature while growing up in the countryside. Juan Jesus is self-taught, learning from books and by experimenting with his camera.