2019-04-14: Around Sunset

It’s quite nice not having a theme this month, as I can select whatever images catch my attention.  Today, it is a selection of images shot at or near sunset.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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A sunset taken in Ongava Game Reserve in Namibia.
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A pair of bull elephants play fighting on the banks of the Boteti River as the afternoon light faded.
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A leopard in a tree at sunset.  The stuff of magic.
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A lone zebra gives us a weary look as the sunset sets behind.
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A leopard in the fading evening light.

2019-04-01: Monochrome Monday

No jokes, funny business or shenanigans here.  Just a trio of zebra images for the 1st monochrome Monday of April.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

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A zebra foal seen in Etosha National Park.
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We all have that one friend that looks a bit awkward when smiling for the camera!
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This zebra was not at all concerned by our vehicle, and walked up right next to where we were parked.  I think it was using the tree stump as a scratching post after I snapped this.

2018-09-10: Monochrome Monday

Just a quick single image post for Monochrome Monday this week.

A zebra stopping traffic on one of the roads through Etosha National Park in Namibia.  The zebra were very abundant there, and quite chill around vehicles making for some nice opportunities for images.  I’ve had lots of experience with zebra taking off in the other direction as soon as they realized you were looking at them.

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Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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 🙂

2018-02-11: Revisiting Old Work

Another week, and another trip down memory lane in terms of my photography.  I’m really glad I made the decision to work on images already captured for this month, as we got rather buried in the snow the past week, and I haven’t had the time, or the energy, to get out and try and capture anything new.

This week is a mixed bag of images, shot locally and in Africa, in colour and black and white.

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From 2014, a sunrise image of the Golden Ears from the dikes in Pitt Meadows where I used to walk my dog.  
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Flying over Victoria Falls on the way into Livingstone airport in Zambia.  Previously, I wasn’t really able to pull out any decent texture from photos shot through windows.  Zambia, April 2013.
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Victoria Falls from the Zambian side.  I was very fortunate to see it with just the right water level; enough so the falls looked incredibly impressive, but not so much that it was completely shrouded in mist.  Zambia, April 2013.

For my then and now image, I chose this zebra from my first trip to South Africa. The original black and white conversion was done in Lightroom using a few basic adjustments, not long after I returned from my trip.  The updated image was edited recently using a combination of plugins in Photoshop, including MacPhun Tonality and Topaz Detail.  I’m sure I could achieve similar results simply using On1 Photo Raw (I’m not using Lightroom any longer for processing), but I like the ease of using Tonality for black and white edits.

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Then – a basic black and white conversion lacking a lot of contrast.
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Now – the zebra stands out much better against the foliage, and there is a lot more detail throughout the image.

 

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

2017-08-08: Phinda Game Reserve

After my time in Botswana, we finished out our trip at three different camps in South Africa.  All were places we had visited previously and liked so much we wanted to return to experience them again.

Travelling from the Okavango Delta to the Durban area in South Africa is pretty much a full day event.  We didn’t have time for a morning game drive, so we had an early breakfast and took a leisurely 1 1/2 hour drive to the airstrip that was being used by Machaba while the local strip was flooded.  From camp we flew to Maun, onwards to Johannesburg and then finally into Durban, arriving around 9pm.  Rather than take another flight, we had a driving transfer from Durban to Phinda, around a 2 1/2 hour drive, that left our hotel around 10 the next morning.

Arriving at Vlei lodge, we were greeted like family with welcoming hugs from Kathryn, the camp manager (whom we had also met during our previous stay).  We also had a chance to reconnect with the wonderful chef Happiness, who even asked us for our favourite items from the previous stay, so she could make sure they were on the menu during our visit.

Unlike the lodges we visited later that were adjacent to Kruger, Phinda is a fully fenced reserve, and as such have taken the difficult decision to de-horn the rhino population in an effort to curb poaching.  With horns or without, rhino are such impressive creatures to come across.  It is just so sad that it has come to this in order to keep them safe.  Like the properties in both Namibia and Botswana, Phinda had received an abundance of rain during the rainy season, after several years of rather severe drought.  The abundance of food and water meant that general game were much more scattered, and often the game drives were quite for periods when we didn’t see any animals around.  We did have one epic morning drive though filled with fun elephant encounters as well as several groups of rhino.

Phinda is definitely a good place to go if you are interested in seeing cheetah.  We saw 6 different cheetah during our stay, including a mom with 3 cubs.

Here are a few of my images from my recent visit to Phinda.  If you are interested, you can find some from my previous visit here and here.

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A nightjar spotted by our guide Dumi on the way back to camp one evening.  This was the first time I had a chance to photograph one of these birds.  As with anything, a bit more practice required!
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We spotted this herd of zebra, along with a large number of wildebeest on an afternoon game drive.  It was a very blustery day, and the herd seemed quite on edge.
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This group of five de-horned white rhino just wasn’t interested in cooperating and facing the same way for a photograph.
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We spent time with a breeding herd at the water hole on a morning game drive.  
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Close encounters of the elephant variety!  This guy was on route to the water hole, and wasn’t about to let our driving on the road slow down his pace.
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We found these cheetah cubs and their mother later on the windy afternoon.  They too were on edge and on high alert.
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Our first afternoon game drive, we came across three lionesses wandering down the road.
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Being investigated by one of the elephants at the watering hole.
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A yellow-throated long claw found on a foggy morning game drive.
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Drink in hand and a full moon rising.  This was a lovely break on what was otherwise a rather quiet game drive, where we saw only a few small groups of general game like impala and zebra.

 

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.