Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly High Five #22

The diversity never fails to impress.

This does not just refer to nature but the variety of images that is being uploaded to the Photo-Africa Stock Library.   It is great to see how all the contributing photographers have their own style, their own way of looking at the natural world around them.  That is what keeps it interesting, exciting, beautiful!

For me it personally it is amazing to see how normal photographic principles get taken and applied in wildlife photography.  The composition and use of space is just two of the things that stood out the last while.  I still maintain that looking at other people's work is one of the best ways to learn and improve your own photography.

I think many photographers, or wanna-be-photographers, miss a lot of useful hints, tips and tricks by not looking at other people's images.  I would like to think that I have a half decent eye and can take a pretty decent photography but even the guest how arrives with their out-the-box-brand-new DSLR can sometimes show you an image that makes a coin drop. Something you might have never thought of before or something that reminds you about the basics.  

Photography is a journey, not a destination.  And the journey is filled with amazing images and many lessons to learn. 

So with that all out of the way, here goes with this weeks High Five.  Let the teaching begin! :)

Image 1 - Female Leopard by Grant Marcus

I still reckon this is the most beautiful cat.  And the image does a great job of showing that.  Grant did a great job in capturing the cat's movement, backward stare and a little bit of the environment.  One thought though.  There is a little space on the left for the cat to move into - great.  The image might have been even stronger if the space was left on the right hand side for her to look into.  Create a bit of mystery?  Still, I reckon this is a great leopard image that could be used for the next field guide on South African mammals!

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Image 2 - Jackals by Paul Benson

Background, background, background.  That is to me what makes this image work!  Stunning use of colour and background to highlight the vast size of the area in which these two little jackals find themselves.  The original thought, to many, might have been to zoom in a lot closer to the two youngsters but this image shows how you can create images with impact when considering the total picture.  The space on the right of the two jackals and the grasses leaning in that direction also all add to a great wildlife image!

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Image 3 - Black Shouldered Kite by Paul Benson

Action and framing.  The ability to capture a bird in flight is what makes some photographers walk away from a day in the office with images like this.  Awesome!  The blurred wings, angle of the body and the direction the Kite is looking in all adds to the feeling of movement but what makes it work for me is the fact that both wings have been cut off.  Too many times you might think an image is a no-go as you have chopped a part of the animal off.  If you did not get it in the original shot see if you could perhaps crop it to highlight the focal area which made you click the shutter in the first place.  Love this shot!

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Image 4 - Concentration by Grant Marcus

This image shows the absolute definition of concentration.  The lioness is in the process of stalking and the images shows the focus in her eyes and the stealth like movement in her body.  Another thing that stands out is that, as with the Lion Fight image from last week, it feels as if you are almost at eye level which adds a lot of tension to the image.  The eye level shot makes you a part of the animal's world rather than someone looking down onto the animal.  (Check how many wildlife images you can see where the photographer was obviously higher than their subject - just does not feel natural!!)  Anyway, back to this image...  The tight crop produces a frame filling images of absolute power and focus.  One of the better lion images I have seen for a while.

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Image 5 - Anemone Fish by Paul Benson

When I started Photo-Africa I never even thought of this.  Since Paul Benson, who works as a wildlife photographer in Kenya and is also a Scuba Instructor, joined the site there have been numerous underwater images added to the Stock Site.  It is amazing to have this new and different images on the site.  Underwater photography.  I truly admire anybody who can go underwater and produce images like this. Think of how difficult it must be to get the lighting right.  Perhaps it is because I have not had any underwater images on the site before that this is my pick of the week.  No.  I think the image is brilliant.  Great lighting.  Great colour and the background fills the frame with the fish's natural environment.  Yip.  This is my pick for this week!

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There you go. Probably one of the more diverse group of High Five images we have had on Photo-Africa.  Which image was your favorite?  Why?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these images and whether you did, in fact, learn something from any of them.  For me personally I guess it all comes down to one big lesson - look at all the aspects of the scene before clicking the shutter.  Background, space, whatever!!  

If you can take a breathe, look again and then shoot!  :)

During the next few weeks I will be posting a Q&A with the various photographers who contribute to Photo-Africa.  Just a few interesting questions on their equipment, what drives them, etc.  I am sure there will also be a number of other wildlife and other images that I will be posting as I get time to work through them.  The rain clouds are still painting the sky dark here in Madikwe so no new images but still have a lot of images to work through and finalise.  As they say... watch this space!

As always I look forward to hearing from you!  

Until next time.


Michael Palmer said...

Nice round up, I like the critique's and look forward to the interviews - my fav this week is the fish also

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Another great high five and very diverse this week, the fish shot is stunning, however the Jackel shot is my favourite this time, I think its the crop that I like and probablno the way I would have gone for but it looks great, nice one.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I am green with envy again at these beautiful photographs!! How I wish I were there!! :)

Ken Mac said...

absolutely gorgeous shots. So glad you visited my blog so I could find yours! Amazing.

Tuga7 said...

uau! great images, lovely blog, I will be watching for sure :-).

Lily Hydrangea said...

saw your comment on greenwich village daily photo,gorgeous images. I can't wait to show my son.