2020-12-28: Monochrome Monday

I’ve had a lovely five days off of work (and school) which has given me a great opportunity to dig into a bit of editing. I found a few images that I had shot with my infrared filter to work on, which has been a lot of fun. These were taken on different days, and I didn’t try to make things consistent between the images, but instead just edit them how they felt right to me.

2020-12-27: Trying out Capture One Express

I had an email from Fuji a couple of days ago advertising a new version of the free Capture One Express software, and decided to download it and give it a try. Since I can’t go anywhere to take photos, playing around with new software at least gives a different spin to what I have already been looking at for some time.

I’ve been pretty unsettled with my photo workflow; I used Lightroom for years, then switched to On1 Photo Raw, and then switched back to Lightroom. I have other photo software as well, such as Topaz Studio and Luminar, but found that neither suited my purposes as my basic editor, though both have their place as a secondary editor through Photoshop.

I’ve watched a 7 minute quick start video on Capture One and then decided to edit a couple images using that as my starting point, and a couple others from the same area in Lightroom to see what the difference would be. While the Capture One Express lacks some key features such as spot removal and watermarking capabilities, there are other options to do those tasks. What I was really interested in was what software made the images look the best they can. From my very brief test, it looks like it will be worth the time to explore Capture One in much more depth.

These images were all taken at the Potholes on the Panorama Route in South Africa. It’s an area with beautifully red tinted rocks and lots of small waterfalls. We were there just before noon so there were lots of deep shadows in areas and very high contrast.

One of the canyons, edited using Capture One Express.
A very similar image, edited using Lightroom. I personally think the depth of colour is more pleasing in the Capture One version.

These next two images weren’t in the exact same area, so there were actual differences in the colour tone of the rocks, it is not just an element of the processing software.

This image was edited in Capture One, and again the colour tone seems more vivid and true to life. Note I didn’t add any additional colour saturation to this image.
This image was edited using Lightroom, and the tone of the rocks here is naturally more subdued, but I still feel like the Capture One software brought more to the image than Lightroom did.

Comparing only two sets of images is definitely not enough to formulate any type of solid opinion on a new (to me) software product, but the results have me really excited to play around and see what I can create. Capture One Express, at first glance, has a much larger selection of Fuji film simulations compared to Lightroom, and I really like the look they give an image to start the editing process. For both of these images, I selected “Film Standard” curve in conjunction with the ICC profile that was pre-loaded for my camera.

2020-12-20: Along the river

The Sabie River flows in front of Tinga Lodge, and on an afternoon game drive, only a couple minutes from camp, we came across a huge herd of buffalo. Some were crossing the river, others lounging in it, and others pausing to take a drink. Mixed amongst them were also a number of elephants. We spent a few moments watching all the action, and then carried on across a wooden bridge over the river.

It wasn’t a remarkable moment on safari by any stretch, but a lovely moment none the less and when I came across the photos today when trying to decide what to work on, they made me smile and remember the warm sun, the dust, the slight breeze and the scent of elephant, buffalo and the plants growing along the river bank.

2020-12-13: Leopards at Chitwa Chitwa

Sometimes there are a lot of vehicles all trying to see the same thing, and rangers operate on a first come, first served basis at a sighting, (usually a maximum of three vehicles) and then everyone else puts their name on a list. It’s always been my experience that all the rangers involved do their very best to maximize the viewing for their guests, while still being fair to try and allow everyone to opportunity to have a view. In this situation, we were pretty far down the list on this sighting that happened during afternoon drive, and we were all hopeful that perhaps we would get a glimpse of a leopard before nightfall.

The groups before us only saw the mother leopard. They knew the cub was somewhere in the thicket, but it wasn’t interested in making itself seen at that time. Harley, our guide, navigated our vehicle to the best spot he could find, and after the other vehicle that was there cleared off, the cub popped its head out of the bushes and made its way down to spend some time with Mom. We had a short while enjoying the sighting, and then a second vehicle came along to also get a quick view of the leopards before nightfall. I think it was the second vehicle that spooked the cub back into the thicket, so our vehicle ended up being the only one to see both mother and cub during that sighting. We headed off to give the other vehicle the best viewing spot, and enjoyed a sundowner a short while later.

Can you spot the cub?

2020-11-23: Monochrome Monday

I was so fortunate to see loads of rhino during my last trip to South Africa, including numerous youngsters alongside their Moms. One of the best sightings, which I didn’t get any photo or video of, was a young calf at dusk whining and crying at its mother trying to get milk, but she was laying down having a rest and wasn’t giving in. Everyone on the vehicle was having a good laugh listening to the antics as it quickly grew dark.

This pair was incredibly relaxed with our vehicle nearby, peacefully grazing and gong about their business.

2020-11-15: Francolins

Anyone that has been on a game drive in Africa will be familiar with francolins, spur fowl and grouse, as they are often encountered on the roads and have a funny habit of jogging in front of the vehicle for what seems like a rather long distance (given their size) before ducking into an opening in the grass or bushes. It always makes me chuckle every time I see this. Given where they are encountered though, and their natural behaviour, it is surprisingly tough to get a decent photo pf these birds, unless you are on a vehicle all to yourself… most people aren’t too keen to stop for every bird sighting while out in the bush.

A pair of crested francolins foraging at the side of the road.
A family of francolins on the run.
A coqui francolin being very accommodating and pausing for a photo op.
Double banded sand grouse were enjoying a dust bath in the middle of the road, until we rudely disturbed them!

2020-11-09: Monochrome Monday

Such a majestic creature!!! Words really can’t describe how it feels to be close to a big lion like this, or to have them walk by the vehicle so close you could reach out and touch their mane (but you don’t of course, because that would be amazingly foolish!)

Wishing everyone a fantastic week!