Galapagos joy, day 2: flamingo pink


Like many animals in the Galapagos, there are no guarantees with the flamingos — either they’re there or they aren’t and there isn’t much you can do if they happen to be feeding elsewhere that day. Fortunately, we lucked out, and were able to watch them graze on lunch for awhile. I choose this shot out of 40 or so flamingo photos because of the constrast in the poses of the two birds, the reflections in the still water, and the vast expanse of blue lagoon around them.

The reflections and the negative space accentuate the absurd gesture of the flamingo form and its odd proportions: the weight of the body atop implausibly skinny legs bent at awkward-seeming angles; the long, S-curved neck with the hairpin turn at the top; the chunky, toucan-esque beak; and the unlikely color, make these birds look like caricatures of themselves, like living lawn ornaments. And yet, what seems so cartoonish was transformed in an instant when the birds took flight.

Necks and legs in one smooth, undulating line, with black-fringed wings outstretched, they were not only no longer absurd. They were utterly graceful.

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