The Best of March…

I really should get these posts out on time…It’s been a busy few weeks, with me just getting back from a glorious few weeks in South Africa. Aside from my expanding waistline from all the delicious food and wine of the Cape, I did manage to snap a few pic’s in some old stomping grounds as well as some new.

My visit to the renowned Makuleke region of Kruger was as good as the hype and I whole heartily fell in love with the area especially the magnificent Fever Tree forest. My mind admittedly wandered to big grey pachyderms grumbling through the green tinged forests but alas such luck was not be be…although seeing anything in it’s outrageous beauty is truly photographic, I’ll be popping a full trip report up on here soon…

Onto the most popular images I posted in March…

14mm Ele…

14mm-Elephant

Looking at the image one might not appreciate just how close this is at 14mm, I can assure you it VERY close. In fact I was lying under the Kanga Camp deck waiting for this bull to come in and enjoy a drink of the fresh water being pumped from under the deck, as is his habit, so I was quite safe.

Elephant are always such good wide angle subjects and getting a very low P.O.V. tends to exaggerate their grandeur. For me I love the OOF foreground and the diagonal line of the water, the Bulls posture and tail also add to the interest of the image for me, I often try to capture the ears full out as it gives Elephant a more 3D appearance in the frame. Another great example about great experiences creating great photographic opportunities.

Properly Poised…Mangawane-3

A very fortunate scene with this young male leopard in a dead tree, it’s not customary for a Leopard to be out in the open and it often makes them quite uncomfortable. Luckily for me this male being quite sated from a recent meal, and with his sibling and mother occupying other prime trees left him with no choice but to rest up in the open.

The Leopards posture again really makes the image and with some great catch light in the eyes makes for a great portrait. This was shot with the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 Sport so naturally I didn’t have to work hard for a sharp image in the low light.

Brotherly Love…Brotherly-Love

I have a real thing for deep dark conversions of late and just love the interest, contrast and drama they create. As with most conversions they don’t just happen you have to first off have the right image. Then in order to get them where you want them to be they do take a bit of work.

This image was converted using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro using some of the color filters provided and after that I often find that manipulating the tone is best done in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro. In this situation I used a number of different low key filters that I brushed in or out in various parts of the image to create the contrast required. I then finished off the image with Pro Contrast, Toning and a Vignette both done in Color Efex and some dodging and burning in PS.

Pretty In Pink…Pretty-in-Pink

This image was taken on the Khwai concession in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. It’s shot with the Sigma 150-600mm Sport, a lens that will do nothing but surprise you every time, sharp and reliable!! It was shot surprisingly in some pretty harsh light in the late morning bit luckily the Leopards position was in the shade and the BG was fairly well covered and deep as well and that helped the bokeh.

I played around with manually selecting white balance in this case and ended up some where around 7000k which gave it a very pleasing pink tinge, I like it anyway 😉

The results on the camera’s Auto White Balance was dull and lifeless at 3500k. There is very little done to the image in post, and there was a great deal of contrast and depth in the raw file so aside from sharpening it’s pretty much as is, in so proving all you need is a pretty Leopard on an impossibly sharp termite out in the open mound posing just the right way for long enough to capture it…easy as that!!! haha.

Golden Boy…Golden-BoyShot again with the splinter sharp Sigma 120-300mm Sport, this image was shot early on an autumn morning in the Timbavati. The wonderful thing about this area at that time of year is the Bushwillows as seen in the BG are a wonderful mix of soft pastel colors…which really pushes the image up a notch. I am a big believer in backgrounds being more important than for grounds and for that matter even subjects, a beautiful background will always produce a good image, you just need a cooperative subject to put into them, therein is the real trick!! Again the image is edited fairly basically in Lightroom and finished off in PS using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro with just basic contrast, polarization and a very slight vignette and finally light dodging and burning in PS.

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