Heavenly flamingos

Junji Takasago's Image

Junji Takasago (Japan) powers through altitude sickness to produce a dream-like scene.

Junji crept towards the preening group of Chilean flamingos. Framing their choreography within the reflected clouds, he fought back his altitude sickness to capture this dream-like scene.

High in the Andes, Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia is the world's largest salt pan and is known as the 'mirror in the sky'. These otherworldly salt flats are the legacy of an expansive lake that has long since evaporated. The salt pan is also home to one of Bolivia's largest lithium mines, which is threatening the future of the area's flamingos. Lithium is used in batteries for phones and laptops. Re-using and recycling electronics is vital in managing the demand for these rare earth metals.

Sugandhi Gadadhar, wildlife filmmaker and judge said, 'This is surreal, like a painting. Flamingos themselves are synonyms for grace, but here, they appear to be elegantly suspended in mid-air. It is so serene.'

Behind the lens

Junji Takasago

Junji Takasago


Junji has authored 33 publications and his work has been widely exhibited in Japan. He has collaborated with Nikon, Fujifilm, Epson and Olympus and serves as the Deputy Representative Director at the Oceanic Wildlife Society - a non-profit organisation for marine research and conservation. He has also been active in raising environmental awareness and has been collaborating with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and many others.

Image details

  • Nikon Z7
  • 80–400mm f4–5.6 lens at 400mm
  • 1/3200 sec at f10 (+0.7 e/v)  •   ISO 800
  • Salar de Uyuni, Daniel Campos Province, Bolivia
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