2019-09-08: Photo Art – Giraffes

I’m focusing on photo art this month, and decided to start things off focusing on giraffes. The easily recognizable shape of a giraffe meant that no matter how far I took the editing, the shape of the animal would still be recognizable as a giraffe.

Since I don’t have any natural talents in drawing and painting, creating these painterly interpretations from the photographs that I take is my opportunity to set aside the need to keep an image looking realistic, and instead focus on what the image is saying to me.

I hope you like my selections for the week; check back next Sunday to see the next instalment.

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I took this image in a lot of different directions before coming up with this final edit.  It is almost starting to resemble a photograph of a giraffe painted on the fabric.
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The rosy tint and soft focus effects give this image the feel of a vintage photograph.
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Even though they are enormous animals, giraffes have an amazing ability to blend into their surroundings.  I wanted to highlight the camouflage nature of the coat in this edit.
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This giraffe image reminds me of some of the animal paintings I have seen in old stately homes.   

2019-07-07: Babies in the bush

I’m sure most would have expected me to start with elephants for my first post in a series on babies in the bush; and I was tempted to.  We spent time with so many large herds, and saw so many young elephants, I am spoiled for choice with images.  But, I decided that I would start with something different, and chose to focus on animals with hooves instead.  My timing was wrong to see tiny impala, but I did see a fair number of young giraffe, waterbuck and zebra during my travels.

I hope you enjoy my selections, and wishing you an excellent week ahead.

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This giraffe was acting a bit like a crossing guard for several youngsters crossing the road in front of us.  Not the best images, but great to show the size difference between the babies and the adults.  I only wish there had been an impala in the shot too, to really show how large the young giraffe actually are.
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Fulfilling the cross guard role as another youngster moved from one side to the other.  There were about a half dozen giraffe in this group in total.
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A herd of zebra pause to allow the littlest one a chance to suckle.
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A young waterbuck blending quite nicely with the autumn tones of the bush.  Mom was nearby grazing.
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A zebra and her foal pause to check out our vehicle, before carry on slowly strolling through the bush.
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One waterbuck mama acting as babysitter for a group of youngsters.  They were all lounging close to the dam at Chitwa Chitwa, while other members of the group were grazing or drinking.
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Little and large.

2019-06-23: Mamas and babies in the bush

I was fortunate to see lots of youngsters during my latest travels.  While the young elephants are definitely my favourite to watch, especially when they start waving their tiny trunks around trying to act tough, all the young animals in the bush are a delight to see.

Here are just a few of the sightings that I had.

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A giraffe calf having a late afternoon milk break.
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We spent some time with this pair of rhinos while they grazed away the early morning.  Here the young one had just turned to look as another vehicle was heading in to take over our viewing position.  Moments later, the head was back down and he was happily munching on the grass again.
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A pair of lion cubs suckling.
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A young leopard doing a very accurate impression of a sulky teenager.
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Got milk?

2018-08-13: Monochrome Monday

I’m a little later than normal with my Monochrome Monday post as I have been playing around with using the MacPhun (now Skylum) Tonality plugin with Luminar.  I must say, I am really enjoying using Tonality again!

Tonality was my go-to for black and white conversion when I was using Lightroom and Photoshop.  I found I could dial in the vision I was imagining much faster than using other black and white methods.  Now that I no longer have Photoshop, I am glad I have a way to integrate the plug-in back into my workflow when I want to.

I’ve started watching some Luminar videos on YouTube by Jim Nix, and one of them really resonated with me today.  It had nothing to do with the image or the edits he did, but just the concept of revisiting old work to re-edit photos, to experiment with new software, filters and combinations of tools to keep your creativity and interest peeked.  A lot of that is why I am enjoying this theme so much, as the lack of familiarity with the software has caused me to think a lot more critically about what I want to achieve, so I can figure out how to do it, but it has also allowed me to just open random filters to see what they do, sometimes to great result, sometimes awful.  If you are interested, you can find the Luminar video by Jim Nix here.

Now on to the images for today.

For this giraffe image, I did an extra step to start, and from Luminar opened Topaz Studio and then the Topaz Remask plugin.  I find Remask is excellent for complicated situations like these tree branches against the sky.  The sky was very grainy, and I wanted to apply some noise reduction, and I thought that would be the best way to go.  I shot this image with my Panasonic FZ1000, which is a very capable little camera, but I do find skies are generally quite noisy regardless of the ISO.  There was also a lot of airborne dust so it could have been that rather than a limitation of the camera.  After I created my mask in Remask, I ran the noise removal filter in Topaz Studio and sent the image back to Luminar, and then onto Tonality for black and white conversion.  If Luminar had an option to adjust luminosity masks so I could isolate the sky, I would have gone that route and saved some steps, but right now its not an option.

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Giraffe in the desert.  Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia.

Things were much simpler for the next two images.  I edited both using the Tonality plug in, though I am sure I could have arrived at similar results just using Luminar.  As with most photo editing programs, there are a lot of different paths to get to the same place.  It’s all about what works for you.

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A zebra calf photographed in Etosha National Park, Namibia.
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A black-faced impala spotted in Ongava Game Reserve in Namibia.  Our guide explained to us that any reserves that add impala to their property in Namibia must add the black-faced impala.  This was started as a measure to help conserve the species and allow them to thrive.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections for the day 🙂

2018-07-23: Monochrome Monday

A giraffe reaching for a choice morsel, high up in an acacia tree.

Because of an abundant wet season, there was a lot of food (and relatively speaking) a lot of water on offer in the desert while I was there last April.

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2018-05-14: Monochrome Monday

Just a giraffe popping in to wish you an excellent week ahead.

 

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We were parked at the top of a hill for coffee when a giraffe suddenly popped into view, walking up one of the slopes.  Phinda Game Reserve, May 2017.

2018-04-29: Kenya Highlights Video

I’ve had a great time over the past 10 days reviewing all of my video clips from my time in Kenya and putting together some highlights as the last instalment of my wide angles only project.  With the exception of the lion cub video clip, which was shot on a Panasonic FX1000, all clips were done on the Gopro, and I edited and built the video using the free Gopro studio software.

 

If you missed the video from Uganda, you can find that here.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.  It’s time for me to ponder what my topic will be for May.