Friday, August 1, 2008

Weekly High Five #10

It is great to be back in the bush. It is about a month now since Adele and I were in Madikwe and I was amazed to see how dry it has become in that time.

Combine all the browns and dull greens with the black areas that have been burnt and you end up with quite a few ‘morbid’ looking areas. Fire is a natural and very important part of every ecosystem and I understand why it is vital to do block burning every couple of years but the first impression, after having last seen the bush very lush and green, is almost one of disappointment. If you think a bit further this feelings quickly changes. Apart from the fact that when the first rains come we are going to have many beautiful green areas attracting large amounts of grazers which in turn will draw the animals with nails and big teeth as well!

The burnt areas also now creates a whole different atmosphere which you can attempt to capture along with striking images of animals like zebra contrasting with the black background. Very different and a nice photographic challenge during the next few months until the rains come again to breathe fresh life into the African bushveld.

Another thing that struck me immediately is how the previously dense, thick bush has become very sparse and open. From a game viewing point of view this is great as your visual range into the bush has increased dramatically and for the next few months we will hopefully get a lot of great sightings which will lead to many chances to create images that show Africa at it’s best!

So on that note, here goes with this week’s High Five which includes images from lions to ducks and great captures of the African sky.

Image 1 – Sun Through Clouds by Craig Muller

This image shows that there is more to the African sky than mind-blowing sunsets. Keep your eyes open and shoot whatever creates an emotion and you will get images like this. This is quite an interesting image to meter for as you have to keep in mind that the silver lining is the focus and you don’t want to overexpose it so that it burns out completely. Beautiful image.

* * *

Image 2 – Lion Reflection by Mat Jones

Lions. Gotta love them. The lions, especially the female, are placed perfectly on the power points (Rule of Thirds) while the lines of the dam is made up out of a few combined diagonals that draws your view to her face in the water. Great scene and well composed.

* * *

Image 3 – Flying Shellduck by Grant Marcus

Awesome capture of the pair of ducks. Not something you can always plan for when composing bird images but the combination of one wing up and one wing down on the two birds creates a very nice balance to the image. The two ducks are placed in a way that creates a dynamic, diagonal line through the images which then compliments the movement towards the right of the frame. Grant hit this one on the head with sharpness as well. When you view the images at full size you can see all the detail including the water still on the head of the duck on the left. Very well captured bird image!

* * *

Image 4 – Grass Silhouette by Craig Muller

The silhouette shot is almost perfect. The sun is placed in the perfect position in the frame, the grass is crisp and sharp and even includes little bits of orange on the stem. It is interesting to play around with where you meter from in images like this. It is very easy to blow the image highlights by metering on an area which is too dark but in this image it was done perfectly. Initially I thought the blurred shapes on the right detracts from the scene but on second thought they are blurred sufficiently to balance the image out. This is a great image for a pc desktop or large print on canvas. Great image.

* * *

Image 5 – Lion Fight Abstract by Grant Marcus

The image shows two female lions having a go at each other and you can see the intensity through the combination of blurred motion. The colors, which adds to the drama, shows that it must have been early in the morning or late afternoon, a time that is normally difficult to capture sharp images. Lesson in here – never stop shooting. Bump up your ISO, pan along with the action and you can come up with images like this. Also never delete images while in the field. I spoke to Grant and he said he only liked the images when he viewed it on his pc back at the lodge. I am very glad he did not delete it from his camera. Awesome action capture and easily my personal favourite this week.

It is great to look back at all the previous High Five posts and see the different images being uploaded. Just goes to show how diverse nature is – beautiful! To view or purchase any of these, and other, images you can visit the Photo-Africa Stock Library.

On another note, and hopefully something that will be featured through images in the upcoming months, the Dwarsberg Pack of Wild Dog in Madikwe which is already 15 strongm has denned and we are now waiting for the first signs of the new pups. They have chosen their den site up on Tswene Tswene, the highest point in Madikwe which makes it inaccessible by vehicle. Like rock stars they come down from their home up on the hill to make an appearance as they go hunting and then just as quickly disappear back up to feed the pups. Sightings of Africa’s most endangered carnivore is always special but when you add a few brand new puppies to the mix and it just raises the ‘cute’ factor and you get to witness absolute magic. Watch this space for some of the first images of the new additions to Madikwe’s Wild Dog population!

As always I look forward to hearing your thoughts and which image you like most.

Until next time.



SAPhotographs said...

That lion action shot is terrific Gerry but I think my favourite is the one with the grass in front of the sun. Excellent series of photographs again!!

Michael Palmer said...


Mike - Fenphotography said...

Another excellent high five Gerry really like them all this week.