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.
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.
I could have gone two ways with a topic of Beloved for the photo challenge of the week. And since I try my best not to post photos of my dog all the time, I went with my most beloved animal of the African bush, the elephant. Now, anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I love elephants, so this should come as no surprise. They are my favourite animal to spend time with (besides my dog, of course!).
I selected the images below because they represent all ages and a variety of different habitats that elephants make their homes in. I hope you enjoy.
You never know what you are going to find when you are out on safari. It gets said time and time again, along with the concept of heading out without expectations of specific things that you want to see. Just being out in the bush is heaven for me, and anything I see is a bonus, so it is pretty easy to stay in that mindset.
While staying at Londolozi, we were on our morning game drive, and our ranger Dave heard about leopard cubs being spotted fairly close to where we were, so we headed off in that direction. We ended up doing a lot of 4 x 4’ing through the bush, and ended up stopping the vehicle at a rather severe downhill angle, to be able to view the cubs at the bottom of a ravine area. Soon enough, they decided that napping next to Mom was boring, and began playing with each other, running around fallen logs, chasing each other and generally acting like rambunctious little kids. The late morning light may have been a bit harsh, but the moment was absolutely epic to experience.
This week’s photo challenge topic, Variations on a Theme, seemed a great opportunity to share a few shots from this wonderful sighting. I hope you enjoy them; editing them has certainly brought back many happy memories for me.
I posted a few other photos from this sighting, as well as other images from my last visit to Londolozi. You can find that post here if you missed it before.
An oryx seamlessly blending in to the surrounding vegetation. If he hadn’t lifted his head, we would have driven past without ever noticing him (which would be a shame, because they truly are a stunning animal that I love watching and photographing).
I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with night photography in winter. The biggest pro is the incredibly short days which means I don’t have to stay up late to capture night sky photos. The biggest con is the possibility of incredibly cold temperatures, which makes being outside for any length of time taking photos rather painful. And of course the trouble is, the clear sky nights tend to be much colder than the overcast ones.
Last night though everything lined up rather nicely. A beautifully clear sky, temperatures only in the -12C to -15C range, which isn’t tough to manage, and a lovely recent dusting of snow on all the trees. I find the fresh snow and the moonlight a beautiful combination, and I am glad I had the chance to try and capture it.
This was the first time I used my Fuji camera for night photography and I am quite happy with the results, though I definitely need a lot more practice with it. I was surprised that my 10mm – 24mm lens produced a starburst effect from the moon at f4; that is something I will need to do more research on as I was used to getting that phenomenon at apertures in the range of f16 and smaller with my old Nikon set up, though to be fair that was with a 28mm – 300mm lens; I have no recollection what my old Nikkor 10mm – 24mm did.
I did have one major missed opportunity yesterday evening. I only brought out one camera with me, and while my camera was busy processing an image with the long exposure noise reduction, a deer popped out of the woods and stood highlighted by the moonlight for a few wonderful moments before heading off. Of course, the camera wasn’t able to do anything while the processing was happening, so I missed the shot. Note to self, always take both cameras when doing longer exposure work.
A few random thoughts on night photography in winter: dress appropriately, know your gear, make sure you can operate your gear with gloves on, and stay safe!
I only have two images to share today, I hope you enjoy them.
I spent time with this cheetah family on the Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa last year. Mother and daughter are pictured here, the two boys were off to the side trying to catch a quick nap. We found them on a very blustery afternoon, and they were all on edge. For us watching, having them on edge was a bit of a blessing, because instead of just snoozing away the afternoon, they were moving around and on the lookout, allowing for more interesting images.