Ivar Leidus has long been an admirer of the natural environment and the cultural monuments in his homeland, Estonia. Leidus, 37, is a railway engineer from Keila, a town of 10,000 people in Harju County in the north-west part of the country.
Leidus was riding his bike, taking photos in Mõdriku, a village nearby, when he came across the commemorative obelisk in the park of the Modriku Estate pictured above. The monument was erected in the nineteenth century by the owner of the Modriku Estate in commemoration of the French invasion of Russia in 1812.
“The whole composition: the sun, the clouds, the oak tree and the monument all looked good together when I got there,” Leidus said of the day in June 2012 when he shot the beautiful image, which has been selected as the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Day for July 11, 2013.
This bucolic photo captures his dual interest in nature and culture. In the foreground, is a magnificent English oak tree (Quercus Robur), which he carefully noted in the picture. Leidus said he first contributed to Wikimedia projects by uploading maps showing the distribution of conifers in Estonia to help illustrate articles on Estonian Wikipedia. He felt contributing the illustrations was as important as editing.
In September 2011, Leidus saw banners on Estonian Wikipedia announcing Wiki Loves Monuments, the largest photo contest in the world, and he decided to participate. The contest motivated him to commit to photography and to donate his photos to Wikimedia Commons, the database of freely licensed images used on Wikipedia and many other projects.
Over the past two years, Leidus has uploaded 1848 photos of natural and cultural heritage in Estonia, photos that have been used more than 5,000 times on 14 different Wikipedias.
“It’s a good feeling to give good quality images away for free,” he said.
(To see more of his photos, visit his userpage on Wikimedia Commons.)
Alice Debois-Frogé, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer