Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekly High Five #25

There is something special about being in a Game Reserve in Africa.

Last night this was again apparent again when the guests at Tuningi were treated to a bush dinner.  Five star cuisine in the middle of the African bush.  The evening was illuminated by the most beautiful full moon which rounded off the perfect evening. 

Working in the hospitality industry and especially in the Game Lodge industry, is quite an adventure and takes a special kind of person.  The ability to always put your own wants and needs after that of the guest requires a strange and very rare mix of passion, patience, dedication and sometimes a decent helping of 'bite-your-tongue' self control.  I think that many times people involved on the fringes of the industry do not even understand how lucky they can be to have the people out in the field doing what they do.  I truly take my hat off to all the guys and girls who are creating lifelong memories for guests from all over the world when they visit Lodges in Africa. 

I find myself thinking about the future and where it is all going.  During this time of year when we all look back at the past year and make plans for the New Year I suppose it is normal to get these feelings.  Perhaps it is just this time of year.  Perhaps it is my mind looking to the future.  Perhaps something else?  I find myself in a strange place where there does not seem to be one clear path which is the 'correct' one.  The age old clich√© of 'wants versus needs' seriously comes to mind.  

Do you indulge your own wants and hope that needs will ultimately take care of themselves or do you take care of the needs which will in the long run give you what you want?  I guess time will tell where this incredible adventure that is life will end up.

Whatever the future holds I know that I will always have photography.  I know that many people have written about the emotional outlet it offers so not going down that road right now.  Since a concerted effort to expand my portfolio and include various other genres of photography I have learnt a lot and feel excited about it all again.  Make no mistake, my passion is still wildlife & nature photography but there is so much more.  You look at images differently and a whole new world of possibilities open up.  As Canyon Ranch's tag line reads - the power of possibilities!

In between all this playing around I have not had much time to upload new images to the Photo-Africa Stock Library but the new material has still been rolling in.  With that, here goes with this weeks High Five.

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Image 1 - Shaking Lion by Gavin Tonkinson

With all the lens techniques I have been playing with this week I was quite amused to see this shot.  Great example of a motion blur captured with a slower shutter speed.  Two things to note.  You can see that the lion is pretty much in focus which shows how still you have to hold your camera when shooting with low shutter speed.  Another thing that makes this image work is the fact that Gavin focused in the lion's face.  You can see the motion blur forms a circular feeling around the face which pulls you gaze in that direction.  Fun image.

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Image 2 - Leopard Tortoise by Brett Hoy

Nice capture of one of the 'Small 5'.  What makes this specific image unique is that Brett got low down - eye level!  By getting at eye level, or is possible even lower, you are on your way to create dramatic animal and wildlife images.  Too many people shoot small creatures like this from the top which gives it a very 'the-human-is-in-control' feeling.  Wildlife images should highlight the animal and this image does a pretty good job.

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Image 3 - Brown Hyena Cub by Gavin Tonkinson

This image is tightly framed and initially it feels a little bit cramped.  The reason for this is that at first glance your focus is the larger animal on the left of the image.  This animal is just a part of the story but the punchline is the youngster on the right.  The little guys is looking at the camera as he is following his mom on their morning patrols.  This image shows that you should always look at breaking the photographic rules when shooting wildlife.  If Gavin left empty space on the left of the image you would not have been as drawn to the youngster.  Cute youngster.  Great image.

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Image 4 - Elephant Herd by Paul Benson

Plain and simple.  And it works.  This image would happily hold it's own in any wildlife photography book.  No funny business.  A neat, clean capture of an African icon.

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Image 5 - Drinking Leopard by Gavin Tonkinson

Three things make this image work.  The tail curling to the left of the image, the background and the eyes.  Every image, wildlife or otherwise, needs a place where your viewer's gaze can enter the image which should then lead it to the focal point.  The white tipped tail does this perfectly.  The background works very well as it is not cluttered and you get the feeling that the leopard is in it's natural environment.  I also like the slight diagonal line created between the mud, water and grass at the top.  The only thing I would have wished for in this image is to have seen the leopard's whole face reflected in the water.  You probably did not even notice it before I said it so it is not something that is going to take anything away from the image but it would have made it even better.  Great capture of Africa's most elusive cat.  Tough one this week but am going with this a my pick of the week!

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Another great mix if images in this week's High Five.  To see more of the latest images that have been added to the Stock Library click here.

Check back again next Friday for the next edition of the Weekly High Five!  I will also be back in the week with new posts and images.

As always I look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time.

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