“Birds – Poetry within the Sky” – 10,000 Birds

One needn’t ponder whether or not Birds:  Poetry within the Sky is extra a chicken e book or an artwork e book:  it matches every class.  However no matter shelf it belongs on is de facto irrelevant – it’s sufficient to say that the e book is magnificent.

The multi-award-winning photographer Christian Spencer, an Australian native, has lived in Brazil for a few years; the birds of each international locations are represented right here.  The e book is split into 5 chapters of types although, since there’s little or no prose, it may be extra correct to name them “themes” – relating to photographs of hummingbirds (twice), birds in flight, birds within the water, and birds in bushes.

The glitziest star of the present is the primary part, titled “Winged Prisms:  Hummingbird Rainbows.”  In 2011, whereas making a movie, Spencer found an uncommon prism impact attributable to “a mixture of particular atmospheric situations and the feel of the hummingbirds’ delicate feathers.”  Obtainable, because of the solar’s various alignment and the birds’ migrations, for a restricted variety of days solely, it precipitated the hummers’ wings to be crammed “with a wash of rainbows,” like this one, which he titles “Sundance”:

. . . and this, “Opal Wings”:

The photographs (these two, of South America’s Black jacobins) are beautiful, and fully pure (although past people’ capacity to see, at the very least more often than not); however the impact looks as if a cross between surrealism and one thing otherworldly, heavenly.  Most remarkably, Spencer’s pictures are, based on his writer, unedited.

Different birds, Spencer demonstrates, change colour when moist, like this Violet-capped woodnymph (which, when dry, has a brilliant metallic inexperienced physique):

The remainder of the e book contains different species, resembling, within the “Birds in Flight” part, what Spencer calls “probably the most stunning of birds,” the Blue-and-yellow macaw (beneath, left) and, within the “Birds and Bushes” part, Galahs taking off from a Coolibah tree with, he says, a transparent define of a map of Australia (beneath, proper).  Speak about being in the appropriate place on the proper time . . . .


In endnotes, Spencer offers the background story for a couple of of the images.  This beautiful grouping of emus in the course of an Australian salt lake, for instance (beneath), was the product of his eye and his genius — but in addition of luck, in a few regards.  The solar was setting simply as he arrived on the scene, which made for the extraordinary colour, however that very same setting solar pressured Spencer to run to get in place for his shot, although he knew that some salt lakes, when lined with water, act like quicksand.  This one, fortuitously for the e book and for the photographer, didn’t.

Because the expertise has superior, there are many books with stunning and achieved chicken pictures (a number of of them have been reviewed on this website within the final yr or two alone).  However you gained’t discover one other one fairly like Birds:  Poetry within the Sky.  Handsomely printed and certain, sized massive (10 5/6 x 13 3/8 in.), with 120 breathtaking images, it’s completely good.


Birds:  Poetry within the Sky.  By Christian Spencer.  teNeues Publishing UK Ltd., 224 pp., $70, November 20, 2022.  ISBN: 9783961713882.


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