As a passionate wildlife photographer, Ajith K Jose finally realised his dream of capturing the endangered grey-crowned crane. At around a metre in size and with a wingspan of two metres, this majestic bird is a giant.
“For me, capturing the essence of the grey-crowned crane became an obsession. Countless hours were spent observing their behaviour, learning their patterns and gaining their trust. After numerous failed attempts and missed opportunities, I was able to nail this shot,” says Ajith. His tireless pursuit of the perfect shot was fuelled by his unwavering passion, patience and perseverance.
“This close-up portrait showcases every intricate detail of the bird’s majestic head and the mesmerising movement of its head crest,” he says. As the population of this species is decreasing, it is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
“Beyond the sheer visual delight, I like to give a powerful reminder of the importance of wildlife conservation,” says Ajith. “The grey-crowned crane, like many other species, faces numerous challenges in a rapidly changing world. Habitat loss, climate change and illegal wildlife trade all threaten its existence.”
Ajith captured the bird in the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve in Dubai, the first unfenced nature reserve to be created in the United Arab Emirates. As well as the grey-crowned crane, the reserve is also home to a further 18 endangered species. Al Marmoom is spread over 40 hectares, meaning it takes up around 10 per cent of the emirate’s total land area. Additionally, it boasts 10km2 of lakes, including the man-made desert wetlands, Al Qudra Lakes.
Ajith K Jose is a skilled and passionate wildlife photographer who has dedicated his career to capturing the beauty and complexity of the natural world. Based in both Kerala and Dubai, he travels to locations in search of rare and endangered species, showcasing the incredible diversity of life on our planet. Through his photographs, Ajith hopes to raise awareness about the pressing need to protect and conserve threatened wildlife.
Camera: Canon EOS 90D
Shutter speed: 1/3000 sec
Focal length: 600mm
This article originally appeared in Digital Photographer, a monthly magazine, and the kitbag essential for pros, enthusiasts, and amateurs alike!
Inside, you'll find practical guides, shooting tips, and techniques from working photographers, plus all the latest industry news.
- "On this shoot, the rain and the strong wind were my biggest enemies”
- Photographer tells story of getting up close and personal with a python
- “I chose the ND filter to avoid overexposure and control the powerful glow"
- Urban street photographer reveals his candid capture secrets
- "I don't use any external flash, this image is shot purely with natural light"
- Photographer tells story of his amazing shot of wallabies fighting
- The 4 photographic decisions that take this motorsport shot to the next level