Photography tips from WPOTY People’s Choice Award winner Cristiano Vendramin

A frosty mirror image of Lake Santa Croce, Italy, has won the 2021 People’s Choice Award for Wildlife Photographer of the Year hosted by the Natural History Museum in 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 have this feeling that I will never forget,” Vendramin noted. “For this reason, this photograph is dedicated to him.”

We chatted with Vendramin to learn 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 make this shot?

It took years of passion and dedication to photography to arrive at this trophy. I lost count of the time I spent at the lake taking photos. Of course, the vote of the people was also decisive.

Can you tell us the story behind your photo?

I can say that Santa Croce Lake was one of my photographer friend Bruno De Lorenzo’s favorite spots. Bruno, who unfortunately passed away in 2018, had always underlined the photographic potential of this area. The award-winning photo was taken on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I can guarantee that I have never seen such an extraordinary situation before. For me, everything is connected.

Cristiano Vendramin, out of competition in his field. Image courtesy of Cristiano Vendramin

Funny stories of photographing in nature?

I remember once I wanted to photograph a canyon that is only accessible in winter: you had to walk on a frozen stream. Unfortunately, after a few hours of photography, the ice broke and I took a nice cold bath.

Otherwise, do you never leave the house?

At the photographic level, I would say that I never forget the tripod at home, which helps me a lot in the composition of my photographs.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into wildlife photography?

First of all, I would advise to stay outdoors as long as possible and to be respectful of nature. Then, we must also study and read about what surrounds us and what could be interesting at the photographic level.

You can see the other People’s Choice Award winners here, and see some of the winning shots from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition here.

Stewart C. Hartline