A frosty mirror image from Santa Croce Lake, Italy, scooped the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award 2021 organized by the Natural History Museum, London. Captured by photographer Cristiano Vendramin, the shot is dedicated to his dear friend who once loved the lake. "I want to think he made me feel this feeling that I'll never forget,” Vendramin said. “For this reason, this photograph is dedicated to him.”
We spoke with Vendramin to find out more about his winning photo and his tips for nature photography.
What do you do?
I am a lawyer and I deal with civil law.
What did it take to achieve this shot?
It took years of passion and dedication to photography to get to this trophy. I have lost count of the amount of time I have been to the lake to take pictures. Obviously, the people's vote was also decisive.
Can you tell us about the story behind your photo?
I can say that Santa Croce lake was one of my photographer friend Bruno De Lorenzo’s favorite locations. Bruno, who unfortunately passed away in 2018, had always pointed out the photographic potential of this area. The awarded photo was taken on December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, And I can guarantee that I have never seen such an extraordinary situation before. For me, it's all connected.
Any funny stories from photographing out in the wild?
I remember once I wanted to photograph a canyon that is accessible only in winter: it was necessary to walk on a frozen stream. Unfortunately, after a few hours of photography, the ice gave out and I took a nice frozen bath.
What do you never leave the house without?
At a photographic level, I would say that I never forget from home the tripod, which helps me a lot in composing my photography.
What’s one piece of advice you'd give to someone wanting to get into wildlife photography?
First of all, I would advise to stay outdoors as much time as possible and to be respectful of nature. Then, it is also necessary to study and read up on what surrounds us and what could be interesting at a photographic level.