Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekly High Five #23

It is always slightly surreal sitting in the concrete jungle while looking through the images on the Photo-Africa Stock Library and having to choose images for the High Five.  During these times I appreciate these images just that little more. 

You see, many events during the last few days have triggered thoughts about appreciation.  Even at the best of times my head is quite a busy place so this morning when I woke up quite early I decided to take all these thoughts and ideas and go for a jog.  As I walked outside I was absolutely blown away by the color of the clouds as the sun was rising over the Johannesburg skyline.  As I set out it was strange to see that almost no one even paid the slightest bit of attention to the painted sky.  Apparently no appreciation.

It has, the last while, also seemed that many people who visit Game Reserves have this same kind of attitude.  Expectation rather than appreciation.  One would think that when visiting a place of such awe inspiring beauty people would take a moment to just let their preconceived ideas go and appreciate the privilege of being out in the wild.  Out in a place that, tragically, will more than likely not be around forever. Out in Africa.  

Perhaps this is one of the things that drives wildlife photographers in Africa.  Creating, or at the very least attempting to create, images that will stand the test of time and many years from now still be able to convey the power, beauty and mystery of Africa.  There are many different ways in which these images can create a visual memory and awareness and therein lies the challenge and reward.

By taking a visual safari through the diversity of African wildlife images available on Photo-Africa it is in a very small way good to know that the photographers out there are all capturing the African magic in their own special and diverse ways.  With that in mind, here goes with this week High Five.

Image 1 - Playing Wild Dog Pups by Grant Marcus

A good capture of one of Africa's most endangered species.  I quite like the long crop which makes your gaze move sideways across the image enhancing the feeling of movement.  My initial thought was that it would have been nice to see the dog on the left completely in the frame.  Problem would then have been that the dog being targeted by the others would have been close to the centre of the image which might have taken some of the image's strength away.  If you have ever witnessed these little guys go at it you will know that is quite difficult to decide where to point your camera.  By focusing on the dog being picked on Grant got a great action image.

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Image 2 - Rhino Horn by Gavin Tonkinson

White rhino is one of my favourite photographic subjects and this image shows why.  These giants of the African savannas must be one of the animals that offer you the most amazing lines and shapes.  You could spend an entire afternoon photographing them and images like this will be your reward.  Gavin's framing here is spot on and the front horn leads your view from top to bottom and then you slowly work your way back up to the small horn at the back.  Nice and crisp with great use of late afternoon and perfect black background makes this one of those images that, in my opinion, transcends the normal wildlife image and moves towards abstract art.  Great close up.

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Image 3 - Blurry Lions Playing by Gavin Tonkinson

Wildlife photography contains an undeniable element of luck and this images shows what the result can be.  Animals are unpredictable yet if you work with what they give you this is the result.  Gavin managed to use a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the centre lion, who played along and stood still for long enough, yet blur the motion of the other two lions running around.  This image almost demands a double take as it looks like the one lion is running into the still standing cat - almost as if they are merging into one.  The black and white on this image keeps the ghost-like feeling of movement going.  Nice one!

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Image 4 - Hyena and Flamingoes by Paul Benson

Mood.  Something that is quite challenging to capture out in the wild but something that Paul did perfectly in this image.  The use of color is perfect with the orange mist and black top and bottom framing the scene with emotion and mood.  The hyena moving across the bottom of the frame while visibly looking at the bird creates a mood of foreboding and mystery.  Even though at first glance the image seemed pretty straightforward a lot of elements make it work perfectly.

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Image 5 - Wild Dog Motion by Gavin Tonkinson

Great motion capture.  This image shows that even when you start running out of light it is still possible to capture striking images.  By tracking your subject you can create artistic images.  This image stood out for me as the background assists the feeling of movement to the left due to the diagonal lines 'dropping' in the direction that the dog is moving.  Wild Dogs move around and rather then stop shooting when they do this around the end of the day, select a slower shutter speed and keep firing away!  Love this image and my pick for this week!

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Nice collection of images that show there are more than one way to photograph and appreciate wildlife.

Since writing this post, a large number of new images have been added to the Stock Site and from Monday I will be catching up on all my own editing and uploading quite a few new ones.  Make sure to stop in at the site and have a look at more great African Wildlife & Nature images. 

As always I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time.


Anonymous said...

Your photography on here is amazing. I found this blog through a link on another website, and it's absolutely incredible. I've always wanted to go to Africa, this makes me want it even more!

J. Luque said...

felicidades por el blog!!! Grandes fotografias!!!! Saludos desde Espa├▒a

Michael Palmer said...

stunning as per the weekly high 5

Mike - Fenphotography said...

As always truly stunning, image 4 sets a great seen and is amazing.