The advantage of digital photography over traditional film photography is the ability to take a series of images in rapid succession, without wasting any film, in the hope of capturing that moment. Provided that the photographer is aware of the moment he or she is trying to capture, and not just hopelessly firing off a series of images, there is a greater chance of having captured that moment with new (and constantly improving) digital technology.
With this said however, the counter argument is that we spend more time focused in through the view finder, and less time observing, understanding and enjoying being in the presence of wild animals.
The happy medium for me as a wildlife photographer who makes use of digital technology is to ensure that I try to spend more time reading animal behaviour, predicting movements, understanding camera settings, and being familiar with the type of picture I would like to make. All so that I can capture the moments I hope to, whilst still getting to enjoy just being around these animals. In my opinion this is the ability to make a photograph rather than to take a photograph, something I’m constantly striving to do.
In many ways, an image possesses the potential to tell a story which, although interpreted in various different ways, is only possible if the photographer has identified a moment, and then captured that mood and emotion effectively. The most powerful of images may therefore be the least technically challenging, but their success lies in their ability to tell a story.
With that enjoy this Week in Pictures..
A large kudu bull silhouetted by an amazing afternoon sunset. By underexposing (increasing your F-stop number and lowering your ISO level) one can achieve spectacular sunset silhouette shots in conditions which are otherwise difficult to photograph.
The younger tailed female of the Tsalala Breakaways returns to join the rest of the pride. For this image it was really important to me to try capture the magical light available at the time. In this case, nature does the majority of the work, providing the perfect conditions under which to photograph a magnificent subject.
Spotlight photography at night can be very challenging. The most important element to remember here, is to achieve a shutter speed fast enough to render a still, sharp image, whilst also letting in enough light. Here, a Majingilane male begins his evening patrol on a moonless night.
A first for me! We observed a giraffe crossing the Sand River, making use of the concrete causeway, passing buffalo, crocodile, hippo and elephant along the way.
Knowledge of the area, and an anticipation of animal movements are crucial. Tracker Euce Madonsels determined that the Tamboti female would approach a nearby pan to drink, allowing us the opportunity to position ourselves and capture this image.
The two young cubs of the tailless female, take a break from the warm afternoon sun, settle up in some shade, and begin to suckle from their mother. A truly special moment to witness.
The Tamboti female glances up at her freshly hoisted impala kill, which she later returned to feed on, well out of reach of the hyenas below.
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
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Being predominantly nocturnal, owls are difficult to spot during the heat of the day, often seeking refuge in the dark shadows provided by riverine thickets. We were lucky one afternoon to photograph an African Barred Owlet in broad daylight.
A herd of 400 strong approached a watering hole in the late afternoon. This bull approached the pan first, choosing his spot to drink before the chaos ensued.
Raising her tail to indicate that she acknowledges the barking of the nearby impala herd, the Tamboti female abandons her morning hunt.
Wild Dogs, like most animals, approach watering holes and river systems with great caution, out of fear of what may lurk beneath the muddy surface. In this case, a pack of 12 quenches their thirst after finishing the remains of an impala kill.
The Mashaba Young Female, who had been chased up a tall tree by the Flat Rock Male moments before, determined that it was safe to descend the tree, and move swiftly out of the area.
One of the Nkoveni females’ young cubs rests in the shade provided by a termite mound, every so often returning its gaze to the hoisted impala kill in a tree nearby.
The commonly seen flash of electric colours in the bush, the Lilac-Breasted Roller.
Bothered by flies in the late afternoon, the Mashaba female attempts to shake them off, allowing us opportunities to capture unique poses.
By increasing the aperture value (low F-stop number), you are able to create a narrow or shallow depth of field, rendering your subject in focus, whilst blurring out and softening the busy background. This technique is useful in wildlife photography in particular, where the landscape surrounding the subject can be busy and distracting.
The lone Matshapiri male was found recently, moving rather erratically and contact calling incessantly, possibly in search of the six Ntsevu lionesses. Having recently lost his brother due to injury, it means a time of uncertainty ahead for this male.
A large crocodile lays sun bathing in the early morning, opening its mouth to maximise the absorption of the suns rays.
The Mashaba female provided us with phenomenal photographic opportunities as she climbed a marula tree to survey her surroundings.
Excellent article, Alistair. I continue to enjoy your photographs.
a stunning set especially like the use of light
I found your week in pictures really informative and loved your photos. My only request would be to provide more technical information on the photos that are more challenging to take due to lighting conditions or deep scrub, grasses or trees. This would include fstop, ISO, shutter speed. I know each situation is unique but your settings could serve as a guide to others who make their way to view the splendors of Southern Africa. Just a thought……..
Super photos, amongst the best I have seen for a while. I would make one comment about digital v film/transparency debate. If you know you have a limited amount of photos before you have to change film, you get to consider the shot more.
Almost as wonderful as being there in person as seen through your photographs. Did Mashaba 3:3 ever get that kill settled in the tree? I’m sure she found a way.
Awesome pictures-thanks for sharing!
Lots of great photos .Very nice to hear about Mashaba young female when will she get a new name ?
loved the pictures Alistair and always a good story to match!
Bravo! Alistar those pictures viola!The sunsets and the various animals interaction with environment, you’re very Good in photography.The technical explanation makes me feel like i am there watching the moment and taking the memories.Please can i have the pictures of Majingilane male and The lone Matshapiri male kindly.They’re a must have.Thank you.
Mashaba! My favorite leopard