Greetings

Here’s where I post pictures that appeal to me and that I enjoyed making, including some of my more experimental and playful images, particularly those using slow shutter speeds to create motion blur, and/or digital manipulation for a “painterly” effect.

It’s also where I occasionally like to chat about the subjects that interest me – photography, wildlife and conservation, the Web and internet marketing, safari travel, and living in Africa. Please feel free to post your comments, questions, and/or observations.

Kudu Bull, Backlit

Kudu Bull, backlit, Kruger National Park

This picture of a kudu bull was taken in the Kruger National Park in late afternoon light. The backlighting confused both the camera meter and the photographer, leaving the original digital image badly overexposed. After some heavy manipulation in Photoshop and other digital trickery, a picture emerged with emphasises on the warm winter colours and distinct rim-lighting that makes the subject stand out from its surrounds.

Old Surfing Photos, Durban

The pictures below were taken years ago, when I was living in Durban. Although I’ve never surfed, I’ve always been fascinated by the sport. I didn’t have a long enough lens to capture conventional action shots from the beach, so instead used to take shots from the pier, using slow shutter speeds and colour negative film. These are scans from some of the old negs.

Surfer at slow shutter speed, Durban

Surfing, Durban

Surfing using motion blur, Durban

Elephant Trio at Sunset

Elephant trio at sunset, Hwange National Park

This picture of three elephants (Loxodonta africana) crowding around a water source was taken in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The one animal was a glistening, near-black color after wading in the muddy water, while the others were a matt grey.

It was sunset and the slanting rays turned the wading elephant’s ear into copper while emphasising the facial corrugations and creases of the tusker on the left, suggesting his great age and wisdom.

I deliberately used a slow shutter speed (1/40) to portray the constant, rhythmic flapping of ears that elephants use to cool down their bodies. Such awe-inspiring animals!

Picture taken with a Canon EOS 400D (Canon Rebel XTi) plus EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM telephoto lens.

Jaguar Hood Emblem

Jaguar Hood Emblem
Leaping Jaguar hood emblem, from an older-model Jaguar sedan. Taken with a Canon 400D digital SLR and Canon EF 100-400 IS zoom lens; shutter-speed 1/1600, aperture F5.6, focal length 340mm, ISO 200.

Rugby Action

rugby action, club match, Durban South AfricaThis is an old photograph of a club rugby match, taken many years ago when I lived in Durban on South Africa’s east coast. It was one of a series that I took of various sports, experimenting with slow shutter speeds to emphasise the movement and sense of speed.

I obviously wasn’t using digital in those days and the original was shot using colour negative film. For this image, I copied the colour print using my Canon 450D camera. I occasionally photograph artwork for a client, for which I convert my sitting-room into a basic studio, using two studio flashes with umbrellas.

The image, in addition to the blur from panning the camera, has been digitally simplified.

Leopard Lying on Hillock

Leopard (Panthera pardus) lying in warm afternoon light, Sabi Sand Game ReserveThis image of a handsome leopard (Panthera pardus) posing beautifully on a small hillock has been cropped slightly; the original includes more background. When I took the photo, I recollect deliberately including some of the background shrubs and trees, even though the light was quite tricky, with shaded and sunlight areas in the frame.

But it was late in the afternoon, so the light was not too contrasty and I opted for the wider view. I was using a 70-300mm lens, and this image was taken at a focal length of 115mm, so I could have zoomed in much tighter. I did take a couple of closer shots, but as luck would have it the leopard’s pose and position were less attractive, with the leopard’s head lined up with the tree trunk in the background.

I like adding background detail when appropriate as this places the subject in context. Whether it works in this case I’m still not convinced. I do believe a big blow-up of the image will be impressive, particularly with the warm background colors, so typical of African bushveld winters. Taken in Sabi Sand Game Reserve with a Canon EOS 400D and Canon 70-300mm IS USM lens, shutter-speed 1/640, aperture F5.6, ISO 400, 4.27pm, July. The 70-300mm is one of more than 60 Canon EF lenses designed for use with its range of digital and film single lens reflex EOS cameras.

White Rhino Under Dead Tree

White Rhino with oxpeckers under dead treeWhite rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), with redbilled oxpeckers riding on its back, sniffing the ground under an old, dead tree, Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa.

This picture was taken in July, mid-winter in the southern hemisphere, hence the brown, earthy colors of the vegetation. It was also quite late in the afternoon, so the waning sun has further warmed the colors. Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL (Canon Rebel XSi) fitted with a Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM zoom lens, one of an impressive range of Canon telephoto lenses used extensively by wildlife photographers.

Zebra Detail

Burchell's zebra detailDetailed view of Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga), Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa. Picture taken with a Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL (Canon Rebel XSi) fitted with a Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM zoom lens. Exposure: 1/1600 at F6.3, ISO 400.

Sundowners in Hwange National Park

Elephant and buffalo at Masuma Dam, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
It’s sundowner time at Masuma Dam in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, with clusters of animals arriving for a drink before nightfall. As the elephants arrive for their turn, we see a small group of buffalo reluctantly moving off and heading back into the scrub mopani.

The photograph was taken with a Canon EOS 400D (Canon Rebel XTi) plus 70-300mm IS zoom lens. Shutter speed was a relatively slow 1/60 at an aperture of F11, with ISO set to 400. It was around 5.30pm in August (ie winter in the southern hemisphere so early sunset).

Great White Egret Making a Splash

Great White Egret

Great White Egret (Egretta alba) making a splash near the banks of Nyamithi Pan, Ndumo Game Reserve, South Africa. In all honesty, I can’t remember if the egret was landing or taking off, but think it was taking off after landing very briefly. The small bird standing on the bank (left foreground) is a Threebanded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris).

Camera used for this image was my Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP) with a Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS zoom lens at full zoom. Shutter speed was 1/640 at an aperture of f8.

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