Tuesday 30 November 2010

PhotoShare: Hold On!!

It seems the weeks are getting more hectic as the year drags to an end!

Here is a shot I took in December 2009 (almost a year ago) in the northern region of the Greater Kruger Transfrontier Park.

This little chacma baboon was clinging to his mother for all he was worth as she strolled on by early one morning close to the Shingwedzi river. I love framing portraits of animals that sort of break the mold, and this is an example of one. Many people will find many things wrong with this picture in terms of composition and the likes (for example, the mother's feet are too close to the picture's edge)...but somehow this just works for me. This photo is only cropped slightly from the left-hand side and converted to black-and-white to enhance the story.

Would love your thoughts??

f4.0  //  1/200 SS  //  ISO-800

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Morkel Erasmus

Monday 22 November 2010

The frustrating magic of panning shots

Well, as promised, a lengthier, hopefully pithier, blog post...

You've seen them, right? Those blurry shots of birds flying or animals running with just the exact amount of sharpness on the eyes or face or head to make it work beautifully. Those shots which look "Photoshopped" but after investigation you find out it was all achieved using in-camera settings and specific techniques...

"Ground Squirrel Rocket"
f14  //  1/50 SS  //  ISO-200

Tuesday 16 November 2010

PhotoShare: Sunrise over Goera Pan

Another insane week on my end has kept me from writing another lengthy blog post...so you will have to be content with another quick PhotoShare. Hopefully I can muster up a properly pithy blog post sometime over the weekend.

This was taken while I was participating in the Spirit of Africa challenge, I was able to do some much-needed Kalahari landscape shooting. Being able to walk around and play with different compositions is a breath of fresh air as far as landscapes in this area goes, as I'm usually bound to my vehicle in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park looking for dangerous predators when I find myself in this area.

The event was held on a local farm, and much of it took place on the "Goera Pan", a large salt pan on the farm which can be seen from the main road between Upington and Askham.

This was taken from a small dune in the middle of the pan, and is a blend of 3 exposures to get the dynamic range of the scene right. I used a fourth exposure with my thumb obscuring the sun to remove distracting lens flare from the shot (more about this technique can be found on the site of Hougaard Malan, an inspiring young South African professional landscape photographer whose work belies his age - he has a few great tutorials on his site).

I set the aperture to f22 in order to get as much of the scene in focus as possible and also to obtain that nice solar star. I also used a circular polariser to obtain the deep blue tone in the sky and eliminate any unwanted reflections of light.

Here is the final image...

f16  //  Bracketed Exposures  //  ISO-100  //  Circular Polariser

Hope you liked it...and remember to keep shooting!

Morkel Erasmus

Wednesday 10 November 2010

PhotoShare: Double Leopard on the Rocks, please

Hey folks...

I don't know about you but I've had a HECTIC week thus far. I was planning a lengthier blog post for this week but, alas, I am not going to get round to it.

Here is another quick PhotoShare to keep the blog and the images rolling. This leopard mother and daughter (named Mambirri and Mantwane) gave us an amazing few sightings during a short trip in February 2010 to the Sabi-Sands Game Reserve in South Africa. Here the cub, Mantwane, was sitting on a large riverine rock as mom Mambirri passed by. I deliberately used shallow depth-of-field (DOF) by setting the camera's aperture to f4.0 in order to get the mother pin sharp and the cub slightly out-of-focus.

Enjoy, and till next time...

f4.0  //  1/1000 SS  //  ISO-500
Morkel Erasmus

Monday 1 November 2010

PhotoShare: Backlit Meerkats

Time for a quick PhotoShare everyone...

This troop of Meerkats (Suricates) were taking in the early morning sun in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Kalahari desert) during our last trip in October 2010.

With the sun coming from directly in front of me, I used the light direction to create a rim-lit effect, with the sun nicely enhancing their outlines by shining through their fur. When doing this, it is necessary to underexpose considerably by dialing down your exposure compensation.

f8.0  //  1/2500 SS  //  ISO-640  //  Exposure bias -1

Enjoy the week ahead!

Morkel Erasmus