Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekly High Five #24

I cannot believe that this year is almost over.

So much has happened in what feels like a very short time.  Adele and I have had a helluva ride this year and I reckon that adventure is not over just yet.  There is always more!

As soon as I have finished this High Five we will be heading back to Madikwe to start the 'silly season'.  This will be the sixth year running that we will be working over Christmas and New Year.  It has been a while since we got to spend the festive season with family but at least we have each other, good friends and a very busy time ahead so I suppose it is not all bad.

On a certain level I am looking forward to getting away from the city and all the drama that sometimes go along with it.  It feel that the slightly heightened emotions and more time on people's hands during this time of year only leads to confusion, overly dramatic statements and things then get said that, if everybody just slowed down and thought about it for a second, could have been avoided.  We all have our own experiences, opinions and ideas on life and the beautiful balance of family and friendship come from accepting people for who they are, learning from each other and embracing the differences.  

Photography has for a long time now been an outlet for me and by capturing images and going through the entire process of editing and scrutinizing my own work I have not only learnt a lot about my own photographic progress but also found the head space to work through other people's issues.  Anyway... moving swiftly along!

I have uploaded more than 100 new images to the Photo-Africa Stock Library so make sure to stop in there to see more of my and the other contributing photographer's recent work.  This week's images is again pretty diverse so here goes with this week's High Five!

Image 1 - Proud Male Lion by Gerry van der Walt

This image was taken on a slightly overcast day but this diffused light does not really detract from the proud attitude the lion is showing.   The road he is laying on creates a nice pathway for your gaze to enter the image from the top.  I also noticed how the little purple flowers just right of his face catches your eye and this then leads you to the nasty injury on his cheek.  How did it happen?  What is he looking at?  Any image that can make you ask questions works.  

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Image 2 -  Springbok in Grass by Gerry van der Walt

Background, background, background.  Yes, this is an image that is suppose to highlight and show the Springbok but the background of grass makes it work.  The natural canvas that gets created by the streaky wisps of grass give the image texture and places the animal in it's natural environment.  Very simple composition that works purely because of the background.

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Image 3 - Digital Art:  Elephant Eye by Gavin Tonkinson

As a large, stretched canvas print this would be absolutely stunning.  Based on this image, the original was perfect in capturing the elephant's eye.  Crisp and perfectly placed within the frame.  The circles that is created by the elephant's skin feels like it draws your view in towards ultimately making eye contact.  I would love to see the original, unedited image but absolutely love this digitally edited version.  Awesome capture and great edit.

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Image 4 - Cactus Landscape by Gerry van der Walt

This Namibian landscape is another very simple composition that uses basic guidelines to highlight the cactus in the front of the scene.  The rule of thirds comes into play twice.  The first is the placement of the cactus on the bottom right power point and in the second instance the diagonal line at the top is almost a third down from the top.    This kind of image, with diagonal lines, feels like you should look at it from left to right which also leads your gaze naturally to the focal point in the front.  The late afternoon light on the cactus, combined with a shallow DOF makes the cactus stand out by making it 'pop' out of the images.  Beautiful image of an unbelievable landscape.

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Image 5 - Sleeping Lioness in Black & White by Gerry van der Walt

In my opinion a black & white image is always hit or miss.  There is very seldomly an in between.  In too many instances people shoot away with reckless abandon and when they check their images afterwards they convert the so-so images to black and white to hide exposure flaws and give it more punch.  It is a skill to create striking black & white images.  Understanding the Zone System does help and when you are able to combine this with strong composition you have all the tools to create a beautiful work of art.  The above image shows great contrast without taking the focus away from the lion's paw which is the focal point.  The zones, which ranges form pure white to pure black, are almost all included yet it does not feel like they are competing with each other.  The original image can still stand up and hold it's own based on colour and composition but I prefer this black & white version and because of that it's my pick of the week.

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I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on these images.  During the next few busy weeks I will do my utmost to keep the posts on the Blog coming and I am sure that with being out in the field almost everyday the Photo-Africa photographers and I will all be able to get some great images.

I am also going to do my best to get back to Supingstad to try and do more portraits of the people in the local community and also look at expanding my Hospitality and Lodge portfolio which I will feature on the Blog in the next few weeks.  (I have already loaded a few to the new galleries on my page on Photo-Africa so pop in there as well when you get a chance!)

Before I go, for those of you who use who gets excited when you hear D3x - click here!  Wow!!

As always I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

"accepting people for who they are, learning from each other and embracing the differences."

If only this was a law!! What a wonderful world this would be!!

A beautiful post again Gerry, with fantastic pictures. That first lion looks as if it was in a massive fight and came off second best.

Michael Palmer said...

Nice tonality on the BW edit -

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Stunning high five Gerry as always.