Sunday 27 July 2014

Giraffe Sunburst

I've been making a point of sharing some photos of ungulates on my blog and Facebook page recently. It's so easy to share the photos of the iconic big cats, other predators, elephants and rhinos...but many people have more appreciation for the lesser-known forms of life in the bush and actually enjoy seeing photos of them just as much.

Giraffes are certainly an iconic African species, and frequently turn up on the lists of "have-to-see" animals for new safari tourists to the continent. They can be tricky to photograph, though, as their awkward lanky stature makes it hard to compose your photos in such a way to do them justice. This old bull was feeding on a tree by the roadside around sunset in the Kalahari desert one afternoon back in November 2012. Giraffes were reintroduced to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park a couple of years ago after being hunted out many many years before that - and they are doing very well, particularly in the northern reaches of the Auob river valley where this photo was taken.

I used the late afternoon mood and position of the sun here to add interest to the photo (after careful positioning of my vehicle). Stopping down my aperture to f22 helped me make the most of the sun's rays creeping over the back of the giraffe - creating the "sunburst" or "sunstar" effect. The incredible dynamic range of the Nikon D800's sensor allowed me to have immense detail to work with, even with shooting directly into the sun. 

Does it work for you?

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 @ 100mm
f22  |  1/400 SS  |  ISO-900
Exposure bias -1.3

click on the photo to view at optimal resolution and sharpness

Morkel Erasmus

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