Feeding of the five thousand

Yossi Eshbol's Image

Each autumn, thousands of great white pelicans on migration from Europe to Africa rest and refuel in Israel.

The fishponds at Ma'ayan Zvi in northern Israel are a favourite meal stop. The pelicans usually stay a few days at the most. But on this occasion, much to the fishery keepers' chagrin, 5,000 of them stayed a whole month. A lot of expensive fish were eaten, and the pond guards had their work cut out trying to chase the pelicans away. One day, as Yossi approached the ponds, he saw the pelicans concentrated on the bank. 'I wanted to photograph them with a depth of field and a quick shutter speed to highlight the sheer size of the flock,' says Yossi. 'But the sun was sinking fast, and I could see the guards approaching.' At the moment the birds simultaneously tensed, flashed their bills and looked in the same direction, preparing for take-off, he took this photo. Then they were gone.

Behind the lens

Yossi Eshbol

Yossi Eshbol


After retiring from the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in 1986, Yossi became an independent photographer. He also teaches nature photography workshops. His photographs have been published in Israel and around the world in exhibitions, international photography competitions, photography books, newspapers and textbooks.

Image details

  • Nikon D3
  • 600mm f4 lens
  • 1/200 sec at f18 (-1.3 e/v)  •   ISO 640
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