Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekly High Five #4

I have finally gotten around to browsing through last week’s images and putting together the Weekly High Five.

This week there were more than 70 images added to the Photo-Africa Stock Library which includes the work of three new photographers. It is great to see the work of the new guys and girls on Photo-Africa. I believe one of the best ways to improve your own photography is to look at the work of other people or, even better, go and on a shoot with them and see how they approached the same subject. We can all learn from each other!

Anybody can take great images of an elephant if he is feeding within five meters of your vehicle – not difficult. The challenge is to try and capture that animal, that moment, in a special way and convey your own interpretation of the scene in front of you. Focus on a small part of the animal. Create an abstract of the natural lines. Taking a wide angle shot and including some of the surroundings. Zoom close into the eye. Capture a moment of movement. The possibilities are endless if you just allow yourself to keep an open mind (or eye?) and learn from the way in which other people approach their photography.

There is still a debate as to where one can draw the line, if at all, between wildlife photography and fine art photography. Some people think that there is no way in which these to art forms can be mentioned in the same sentence. I disagree. There are most definitely times when they are the same thing.

It is VERY challenging and frustrating to capture these moments in nature that can pass for fine art, but they do happen and I think it is possible. When the natural light illuminates your subject and they give you that one single moment of perfection. That beautiful moment when everything just falls into place and you capture that moment on film - fine art photography is possible. I am digressing and could carry on, so will pick up this again at a later stage.

So anyway, on that note here goes with this week’s featured images.

Image 1 – Elephant Splash by Gerry van der Walt

What makes this image is the splash of water. Whenever you can freeze some kind of an action in wildlife photography you are onto something. The light here feels a little off and the image could have been a little sharper but the focus is not on the elephant. The trunk leads you to the ‘action’ along with the ellie leaning into and looking at the water and because of that this image pulls it off.

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Image 2 – Elephant Abstract by Matt Jones

Clever image. The framing on this image is perfect. By losing the curl of the trunk (at the bottom) it looks like there are two different subjects to the image. The focal area is obviously the point where the eye and tip of the trunk get together and everything in the image helps this. The eye is placed off centre at the point where the ‘Rule of Thirds’ tell us you should place your focus point. This is balanced by the tusk in the opposite corner and everything is rounded off by the trunk leading your eye from the bottom of the frame at a slight diagonal to the focus point. Nice abstract and an image that could be used in class during a Photography 101 course.

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Image 3 – Crazy Eyes by Gerry van der Walt

If the small patches of sunlight fell over both lions eyes this would have been amazing. Technically this image lacks a bit in terms of contrast and sharpness but it tells a story and that is why I like it. Both cats are obviously focusing on something very interesting and the fact that both there tongues are out also adds to the drama. The older of the two, on the right, has the scars on the face which also just give it that slightly ‘edgy’ look. This is not the way you want lions to look at you when you are on foot and somewhere in that feeling that the image creates is what makes it a winner.

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Image 4 – One and a Half Rhino by Sharon Bishop

This is a great image of the White Rhino - technically good with great composition. My main concern would be the bodies of the two rhinos in the right side of the frame. If they would have kindly moved out of the way (which is something I say quite often out in the field) this image would have been perfect. The mom’s horn gives her a very dominating presence in the image which is combined with the innocence of the youngster staring at you from the safety of mom’s side. Lovely image.

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Image 5 – Springbok by Craig Muller

I like everything about this image (perhaps a little more on the exposure side, but with digital easy to fix) You really get the feeling that this animal is dominant and surveying his territory from the top of the hill he is standing on. Should the image not have had the dead plants in the foreground it would have been a good image, but the inclusion thereof makes it brilliant. Nice contrast of colors, great positioning of the Springbok and an overall beautiful wildlife image – this is my pic of the week.

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To view these and many other images that have been uploaded during the last week you can visit the Photo-Africa Stock Library and click on ‘Newest Images’.

Make sure to visit the Blog again soon as I have a few different shoots and ideas that I will be uploading during the week. Remember that you can also subscribe to the Blog and receive all updates via email.

As always I look forward to hearing from you!


1 comment:

Safari Stories said...

Awesome Blog!! Well done!!