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Books: Richard Ettlinger's "On Feathered Wings" Showcases Stunning Aerial Photographs

Six years in the making, ‘On Feathered Wings’ features the work
of seven extraordinary action photographers

American Museum of Natural History to host year-long photo exhibition

Barred Owl photo taken with a Canon EOS-1D Mark IIn and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens for 1/1,250 second at f/7.1, ISO 400, hand held. ©Richard Ettlinger 

Press Release—Nature photographer and author Richard Ettlinger is being honored by the American Museum of Natural History for his 6-year project photographing and collaborating with professional photographers on five continents to capture the beauty of birds in flight. “On Feathered Wings: Birds in Flight” (Abrams Books, $40) will be on sale in May, and the American Museum of Natural History will feature 35 images in a photo exhibition June 21, 2008–May 25, 2009.

“The work I did with six of the world's greatest action photographers took hours of study and endless patience,” said Ettlinger. “Our dedication paid off, and I am delighted to be recognized by both Abrams Books and the museum.”

Through 175 color images, the photography delivers amazing images of hunters, migrators, waterfowl and songbirds living on the wing—hunting, feeding, fighting, traveling and gliding.

The international group of photographers includes Ettlinger, David G. Hemmings, K.K. Hui, Miguel Lasa, Ofer Levy, Jim Neiger, and Rob Palmer, all specialize in capturing birds in flight, each striving to outdo the others. But the indisputable stars of “On Feathered Wings” are the birds themselves, seen in vivid sharp focus and amazing detail: a Peregrine Falcon in a 100-mph dive; two Black Skimmers fighting in mid-air; a Snowy Owl keying on dinner; an Atlantic Puffin coming in for a landing; an Arctic Tern fishing; and a Barn Swallow feeding her young. 


Barn Swallow feeding juveniles, taken with a Canon EOS 10D and Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS USM lens with 1.4X converter for 1/750 second at f/5.6, ISO 400. ©Richard Ettlinger

Most birds can do in the air almost anything they can do at rest, including eating and sleeping. Ettlinger includes information on how birds fly and how their flight has evolved, categories of birds, migration, hunting, factors of flight behavior and the viewpoint behind the camera.  

Ettlinger has been a major force in pioneering techniques and creating worldwide interest in action-flight bird photography. An avid birder for more than 20 years, Ettlinger considers his time between photography expeditions doing research and study of all bird species essential to “getting inside the mind of a bird”—an all-too overlooked preparation process. Ettlinger, who has played a lead role in conservation projects, has been highly honored by the Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards in its Wildlife category, and has been featured in Birder's World