Sunday 24 July 2011

PhotoShare: Cape Mountain Zebra

It seems like July will slip by without another decent blog post, but here is a quick PhotoShare for you guys.

I captured this image before sunrise in April 2011 in the quaint little Mountain Zebra National Park in the Karoo desert, South Africa. I will do a proper blog post sometime soon about this great underappreciated National Park.

f4.0  |  1/100 SS  |  ISO-1000  |  420mm focal length
Hope you enjoy this one. Cheers!

Morkel Erasmus

Thursday 14 July 2011

Petition: Stop Rhino poaching in Africa!

Hi there folks.

This'll be a short post. I was shared this petition by a fellow photographer on Facebook and thought to send it on via my blog too. Many of you might be aware of this issue already, but Rhino poaching has been on a dramatic increase over the last 2 years, especially in my native South Africa.

By June the 3rd 2011, more than 170 rhinos had already been wiped out for their horns, and in the 2010 calendar year the figure amounted to more than 1 per day on average. The ridiculous notion held in the Far East that their horns are worth something medicinally and helpful for sexual arousal is fueling the demand for this "commodity".

Please take a moment to sign this petition HERE, which is due to be sent to high-ranking government officials in Vietnam.

Thanks for your time!

Yours in conservation (in a very small way),
Morkel Erasmus

Sunday 3 July 2011

OVERWHELMING: The power of panoramic presentation

Hey everyone...

I did a rework this week of an old know how that goes, right? You progress in your photography and your post-processing skills, and you think: "hey, remember that photo I captured at ______ last ______? (fill in the blanks) Let's see what it looks like now."

In this case it wasn't so much a new processing skill I learned, but that I realised after browsing through the particular shoot's thumbnails that I realised I had taken alternative compositions of this scene. With the advent of digital imaging we tend to sometimes just click the shutter as many times as we can at as many perspectives possible to make sure we make the most of the scene...the problem is we end up forgetting exactly what we shot and why we did so.

The original is of a lonely tree (cliche, right?) overwhelmed by some building cumulus clouds over the South African Highveld. I titled the photo - you guessed it - OVERWHELMING. The original perspective was shot using the Canon 100-400mm zoom lens, at a focal length of 105mm (thus nearly as wide as I could go with this lens).

100mm focal length  |  single image  |  slight crop from the top

Just for overall perspective, here is the same scene (albeit with a cooler white balance setting) shot at 22mm. This is close to how the human eye perceives the scene (at 35mm focal length equivalent). 

22mm focal length  |  single image  |  no crop

Now, going back to the folder I remembered that I had also used the 105mm focal length setting in the first post on this scene and shot a few consecutive frames with the view of stitching them together as a panorama one day. That day came last week. I opened up the 3 consecutive shots in Photoshop in order to stitch them together using the "Photomerge" command. Now it goes without mention that the final stitched image not only provides a "grander sweep" of the scene, but also has a much higher resolution than I could have achieved with a single image...this makes it easy to print it BIG

I also went for a darker, moodier feel...converting to black and white with a red filter to bring the most out of the blue sky (that tip is for free!). The only crop I applied was to remove the "white edges"...after compiling a panorama the image is usually left with some white edges where the image had to be straightened to fit the next image perfectly.

105mm focal length  |  3 images stitched together  |  crop to remove white edges
This kind of image unfortunately doesn't display well on a blog format where the maximum image width is constrained. You can view a larger version on my 500px profile here

I don't have a larger version than the 500px version online watch this space.

I would love your feedback. Which one works better for you, and why???

Cheers, till next time...

Morkel Erasmus