Friday, July 18, 2008

Weekly High Five #8 * Special Edition *

Compared to last week this week has seen a huge amount of new images added to the Photo-Africa Stock Library. Everything from Wild Dog to Abstracts and then of course in between all the great images - the Weekly High Five.

If you have just stumbled across this Blog for the first time (Welcome!) here is, in a nutshell, what the Weekly High Five is all about.

Over twenty photographers contribute African Wildlife and Nature images, taken in the wild, to Photo-Africa. (Want to start contributing? Contact me!) Every week I look through the latest uploads and chose five or more images that stand out either for their photographic qualities or the fact that they capture a unique bit of Africa's natural heritage. The ideal is of course for an image to have both technical qualities and raw emotion but these images are far and few in between even though we are getting more and more of these images being uploaded. Absolute African magic in a single frame!

So without further delay here goes with this week's High Five!

Image 1 - Lion Approach by Gerry van der Walt

I used a cropped version in an earlier post this week but I feel this image still has that something special. Normally an image where the subject is placed dead center does not have as much ‘punch’ but this approaching lion still makes an impact. I think what helps the image is that the background is blurred enough not to distract from the subject and that tree line at the back gives you a feeling that the lion is moving from there towards you. A great image of a lion in its natural environment.

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Image 2 - Pangolin by Grant Marcus

As you will recall Gavin Tonkinson uploaded a Blog on the Pangolin sighting some of the guys had in Madikwe a few days ago. Grant was also there and was able to capture this image. I like the detail on the scales on the upper back of the animal. It would have been amazing if the Pangolin would play along and lift his head for a few images but the scarceness of this animal and the fact that this image had to be taken in the evening with flash puts it in this week’s High Five.

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Image 3 – Ditaba Looking Over the Shoulder by Gavin Tonkinson

This is Ditaba, one of the largest and most dominant lions in the Madikwe Game Reserve. It is always a truly rewarding experience to see an animal like this, who is in his prime, in the wild. This image captures the essence of this ‘King of Madikwe’. The head up and looking over the shoulder with such a relaxed look in his face makes this a great portrait. Very well captured.

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Image 4 - Elephant Sunset by Gavin Tonkinson

This was a very strong contender for my favorite of the week. It is amazing how much mood and African atmosphere there is in this image! The colors, the silhouettes and the birds check almost all of the boxes. If there is anything I would change, and this is really nit-picking, is that the elephants and dead tree could be further to the right of the image as there is a little bit of dead space on that side. This would however have meant putting the ellies and tree in front of the black mountain which might have lost a bit of impact. In situations like this you don’t always have the option of moving more to one side of further back. You have a few seconds to capture that magic moment which, in this case, was done very very well!

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Image 5 - Flying Sunset by Craig Muller

Beautiful capture. It is not easy to capture birds in flight and to get this amount of color into the frame as well is quite exceptional. I would have (nit-picking again) placed the bird and reflection off center so that there was active space for the bird to fly into but overall a stunning image.

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Image 6 – Wild Dog Background by Grant Marcus

I am not sure what this would have looked like in color but I absolutely love it with the sepia tones. The dappled shading in the background makes it a very striking image and the shade also mimics the coat pattern that you find on a Wild Dog. The diagonal lines on the road, where the dog is resting, gives it a slightly dynamic feel and this again is complimented by the dog also looking in that direction. Great use of lines and sepia tones.

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Image 7 - Dusty Elephant by Gavin Tonkinson

Brilliant image! You cannot place the elephant better (on one of the power points). The colors in the image get complimented by the dusty mood in the scene. There are diagonal lines which draw your eye form the left of the frame towards the focal point and the little bonus for me is the little cloud of dust at the elephant’s feet which shows you that he is moving into the African sunset. An easy choice for my top image of the week!

Even though there were a very large number of images uploaded to the Photo-Africa Stock Library, these images stood out. An amazing collection of African wildlife images in this week’s High Five. I look forward to hearing which is your favorite image of the week!

And now for the 'Special Edition' part...

As you will probably now today is Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday and I would like to take this chance to also wish this great man a Happy Birthday from Photo-Africa!

Nelson Mandela celebrating the Springboks World Cup victory in 2007.

Nelson Mandela with Springbok rugby player Bryan Habana (perhaps good luck for tomorrow's match against Australia!)

Nelson Mandela as the world knows him! Happy Birthday Madiba!!

He has lived a truly amazing life and has been an inspiration to many people. To that end I want to end off this Blog and leave you with the closing lines of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech made in 1994. With everything happening in Southern Africa, and the world, these words still hold true.

“We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! God bless Africa!”
~ Nelson Mandela

As always I look forward to hearing from you



SAPhotographs said...

I love the bird flying into the sunset by Graig, especially as he has captured the birds shadow in the water too. Great shot.

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Stunning set of shots again Gerry, the sunset shots are stunning, not sure how he got the bird in flight so clear in low light. The sunsets you get are amazing and make for great photography. The Elephant shot image 7 is the one for me this week.

Travis Photography said...

The elephant in the sunset is amazing. My favorite of the set.

Travis Photography said...

The single elephant in the sunset is amazing. My favorite of the set.