Saturday, August 16, 2008

Weekly High Five #12

"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." ~Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photographing wildlife & nature landscapes, the above quote probably holds even more truth.

This week a few new photographers joined Photo-Africa and this meant a lot of new Wildlife images. I love seeing other photographers work as, if you think about it, we all are shooting the same subjects. Yes, you might get lucky and find yourself sitting at a waterhole as a leopard suddenly attacks a crocodile (like in a previous post) but under normal circumstances we have the same scenes and moments to work with.

It's interesting to see which moments and photographs people think are their best. I personally sometimes think I am too hard on my own work as I almost always find something 'wrong' with it. Am I missing getting certain images 'out there' because I am too critical? When you then page through a magazine like National Geographic you see that it is ok to sometimes cut off the animals ear. An image can be slightly blurred if the content shows something unique.Is their really such a thing as the perfect wildlife image?

I suppose it's normal to be super critical of your own work and that's why it's nice when people leave comments and give their input on your images. Working with Gavin and Grant is great as there are different ideas on images, different opinions and all of this leads that you think about your images more. I reckon it is very sad when a person does not want to share their images as they feel they might get criticised. The more you share, the more you learn, the more you enjoy the experience. Is it not normal to want to improve your composition? Use of light? Exposure technique? I think it is the only way to grow in your own photography.

Anyway, I am slightly off track so back to the Weekly High Five and this week the quote I started with leads us into the first image. (You will also see I have linked each photographers name to their portfolio on the Stock Site so when you are finished reading the Blog, pop over and have a look at more of the work!)

Image 1 - Duke by Denzel Edward Rogers

This is Duke. Currently the largest of the 'emerging tuskers' in the Kruger National Park and probably the world. Duke was named after a ranger, Tom Duke, who worked in the Sabie area between 1903 and 1923. As the quote said, some things cannot be brought back. The days of the truly big tuskers seem to almost be gone. The Magnificent Seven were the most famous tuskers and have been honored in various ways. Photography, I hope, is one of them and that is why I though I would include this image. The last I heard, Duke was seen with one of his tusks broken off. This is quite normal for a male elephant but if you look at the image, a very sad thing for Duke - a true beauty! For a complete list and more details on all the big tuskers - click here.

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Image 2 - Gray Heron in Flight by Edmund Fourie

The bird has been well captured but the background is quite distracting. The reason I chose this image this week is that I was sitting at Tshukudu Dam in Madikwe with Gavin and we were shooting a pair of these birds mating and flying around the dam. Very difficult. So many things to try and get right. Focus, exposure, panning along with the movement of the bird. I was happy with one or two of my images (too critical again?) Edmund did very well in capturing the bird in flight with pretty good focus. Perhaps a bit of a Gaussian blur in Photoshop might lift it a bit but I still think it is a well captured image.

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Image 3 - Red Lion by Denzel Edward Rogers

Like them or not, lions make for great photography. If you have ever sat with these great cats you will know that they have many different facial expressions. Awesome to watch. I think every guide and African wildlife photographer must have a huge amount if lion images showing the full range of behaviour. The above image is no exception and I specifically like the very wide open eyes on this male. Nice capture with the late afternoon light highlighting his eyes.

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Image 4 - Squirrels by Edmund Fourie

If you look back through the previous High Fives you might see a previous one of Denzel's Squirrel images that was featured in the High Five. This image again shows great composition, leaving a lot of the trees texture in view, and behaviour of these little animals. They are all trying to get a little bit of the early morning sun before heading out for the day. Not much more to say about this one. Perhaps it could have been a little sharper but I still think it is a great image.

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Image 5 - Lion Eye by Edmund Fourie

Not the first lion eye image that I have seen but this is pulled off very nicely. Whether a very large lens was used or the image was cropped, the detail is crisp and the placement of the eye in the frame perfect. I also like how the little black line leads your view into and towards the eye. Great image!

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Image 6 - Flying Fish Eagle by Denzel Edward Rogers

You might recall a few weeks ago we also featured a Fish Eagle in flight. Here it is again and perhaps even a better image. The details on the bird is perfect - something very difficult to capture. The colors , of what seems a late afternoon, beautiful. The only minor worry might be that the bird is almost dead centre in the frame. A very slight bit of space to the bottom left might have given it a bit more of a dynamic feel but hey - the image is great so why worry! Awesome shot and very close to my image of the week.

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Image 7 - Wild Dogs at Play by Gerry van der Walt

Endangered species at play. Again, like the quote says, not something that is going to be around for a very long time. Madikwe is known for it's Wild Dogs and if you have been reading the Blog over the last few weeks you will know that we are now waiting for the Dwarsberg Pack to bring their brand new pups out into the world for the first time. Soon. For now we still have the privilege of watching these amazing animals hunting and playing. The two youngsters in the above image was very excited after a kill that morning and provided us with lots of entertainment and photo opportunities. I love the action freeze in the image and the swish of the white tail combined with the dust at their feet also gives it a very nice dynamic feeling. My own personal favourite of the week.

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There you go - some of the newest images that has been added to the Photo-Africa Stock Library during the last week. You can visit the page to check out these and other authentic African wildlife images.

I am in the process of going through the last two weeks of images. The problem is that as soon as I almost get to the end we head out again and return with more. Gotta love this job!

As soon as I have gone through all my raw files and chosen my favourites (hopefully not too critically) I will add a few of them to the Stock Site. Cannot do them all now as the Internet out here in the bush is pretty slow. I will use and upload a lot of these images to the Blog during the next few weeks along with (hopefully) interesting stories and updates from Tuningi and Madikwe. If there are any of the images on the Blog you would like to purchase and cannot find them on the Stock Site, please email me and I will upload them for you asap! (I had an enquiry about images being used for educational purposes this week but there was no return address. Please email me again!)

I have also been thinking of doing a Photo-Blog called something like 'A Day in the Life' where I carry my little Sony T100 with me and take an image every half hour during the day to show what our everyday lives are like at Tuningi. Will get to this next week and should make for some interesting stories. In the last week I have had to rush Gizmo to the vet as he ate some anti-inflammatory tablets. Gavin, Grant and I cleaned the sewerage plant (damn!!) and then of course there is of course us chasing ellies out of the camp and other such everyday kind of activities. Should make for an interesting read so watch this space! :)

During the weekend I will upload another 'Photo Safari' which will feature many of the images I have been able to get during the last week. Make sure to check back for that one as well.

So... What is your favourite image this week? Are you also super-critical of your own work? What other stories / images would you like to see on the Blog? Leave a comment!!! (I have a lot of plans for Photo-Africa and the more comments I get on the site the better!! Come one... It's quick and easy!)

As always I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time.


1 comment:

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Another amazing set of shots for the weekly high five Gerry, the red lion as got to be the one for me this week, a ver special shot. Mike.