Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekly High Five #21

After a break of almost three weeks the Weekly High Five is back!

Wildlife photography is difficult. No. Let's clarify. Creating a striking, memorable and technically good image is difficult. With the direction cameras are going these days anybody can hit a home run every once in a while. Getting quality images on a continuous basis is the real goal. Again... a good camera is not necessarily going to make you take good pictures.

During the last three weeks I have been having an amazing time focusing on various different types of photography and am looking forward to carry some of the rejuvenated excitement and enthusiasm back into the bush to see what I can come up with. By photographing still-standing scenes and landscapes I have had the chance to refresh the way your mind works when I compose an image.

The challenge in wildlife photography is to carry those 'skills' and experience into the field and be able to do everything very quickly. Knowing your equipment is vital. Also, nature does not wait for you to get your camera right and that is why luck plays such a great part in wildlife photography. I reckon I can steal from Gary Player by saying that "the more you practise (and go out in the field), the luckier you will get."

This week's High Five features some amazing images that shows what can happen when great photography meets wildlife. Since the last High Five there have been a great deal of awesome images uploaded to the Photo-Africa Stock Library but I decided to focus on the recently uploaded images. When you have a chance pop in and have a look at all the Newest Images.

You might recall that a few weeks ago I tried to steer away from Africa's largest cat pics as there were just so many being uploaded. Great problem, using the world lightly, to have! Having now been away from Big 5 territory for a while and seeing the amazing images I was very excited to see the big cats again! With the variety of lion images that have been uploaded I almost chose only lion images but at the last minute decided to include a great silhouette and a few rhino as well.

Here goes with my choices for this weeks High Five!

Image 1 - Crash of Rhino by Edmund Fourie

A group of gentle giants. I personally love taking images of Rhino as they offer so many angles and different lines. I like this as the Rhino look like they are having a meeting and putting their heads together. What would have really made this one stand out is if the background, including the back two animals, was slightly out of focus. This would have still let the image retain the same feeling of a group of rhino together but the focal point would have very definitely been on the front Rhino with the long horn. Still not a major worry and a great wildlife image.

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Image 2 - Lion Cubs by Paul Benson

Any image of small animals always have a slight head start due to the 'cute' factor and this is no exception. Beautiful capture of the two cubs. The two things that stand out for me is the fact that they are both staring in the same direction and the background that includes the diagonal lines in the direction they are looking. Almost as if they are looking down a road. DOF in the image is also perfect as the background is just blurred enough to keep the focus on the lions. Nice image!

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Image 3 - Lioness and Cub by Paul Benson

Again - cute! Another thing that this image shows perfectly is the way eye contact can make or break a wildlife image. In this case it happens twice. In the first instance the lioness looks directly at the viewer. Paul was even able to capture the little bit of catch-light in her eye. Secondly, and I believe this is what makes this a winner, is the way the little cub is looking up at it's mother. Perfect! The only thing that you could possibly change would be to have framed the female a little to the centre but this is being overly picky. Great image!!!

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Image 4 - Elephant Silhouette by Paul Benson

This is Africa at it's best. This image, of probably the most recognisable animal on the plant, shows the most beautiful time of the day in Africa - sunset. Capturing the silhouette is one thing but the background in this is filled with different colours which is not always the case in animal silhouettes. This image should be made into a postcard!

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Image 5 - Lion Fight by Paul Benson

Unbelievable image! For me this was an easy pick as my favourite of the week. When two lions fight the intensity is out of this world. This image has captured movement, power and conflict. The angle of this image also makes it work. It seems as if the photographer was almost on ground level which, considering the subjects, is quite an interesting thought. Through the blurred motion shows the speed and combined with the muscles in the lions back shows how brutal these moments can get. This image should get anybody excited about wildlife photography. Fantastic image! O, and the flies around the lions are pretty cool as well!

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A truly great collection of images and an amazing showcase of African wildlife.

With my backlog of images from our recent road trip I have a huge amount of Blog material and hopefully I will be able to get a lot of these images, stories and thoughts onto the Blog during the next two weeks. At the end of the month Adele and I will be going back to Johannesburg for a few days and during that time I will be uploading most of my Namibia shots, along with any new ones I get during the next two weeks, to the Photo-Africa Stock Library.

The Stock Site has been growing steadily over the last few months so just a quick thanks to all the photographers, almost thirty now, who have been continuously uploading their African Wildlife images. I am in the process of making a few upgrades and updates to Photo-Africa and I will keep you guys posted as soon as these get implemented! Quite a few exciting developments in the pipeline.

Also a huge thanks you to all the people who keep on visiting, commenting and supporting Photo-Africa!!

So as the rains pours down in Madikwe, as always, I look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time.



M said...

Love the lion fight. perfect shot even though i'm not sure i want to see it for real!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

More brilliant shots Gerry and I especially like the spots on the kittens although most people do not realise lions have them. :)

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Stunning set of images Gerry, image 3 is truly stunning the detail, light and the young looking up at the adult is perfectly timed, Image 4 is also one of my favourites, nice one.