May 01, 2014

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams
Igor Shpilenok

Again and again, Russian nature photographer Igor Shpilenok felt the pull of Kalmykia's wide-open steppe. Few other places in Russia have this hold on him.

For five years running, as each spring drew near, Shpilenok packed his truck and headed south toward Kalmykia from his home in the Bryansk Forest. His photographic mission was twofold: to capture the saiga antelope giving birth to their young and to photograph the steppe in bloom with thousands of wild tulips.

After several spring expeditions, Shpilenok finally photographed the rare saiga antelope and their young (see Russian Life, Sep/Oct 2003). The wild tulips, however, continued to elude him.

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