Wednesday 26 October 2011

Shooting against the light

We've all been are sitting at an awesome sighting, watching some beautiful animal or bird...but the light is just W-R-O-N-G...

Now you've got 2 options. Either you pack away the camera and just enjoy the sighting...or you try to work with the light you have and create some images that might come out better than you thought, or better yet, might come out a litte 'out-of-the-box'. In this post I will elaborate on some of these situations you might encounter, and also show some of the images I have been able to capture in similar cases which I thought came out okay.

The classic case is the "back-lit" image, where the light comes from directly opposite your viewing position and you have to use it to enhance the contours and outlines of your subject. The key here is to ensure you under-expose significantly to ensure you capture the mood and don't blow the highlights. You can either do this by manually adjusting exposure or exposure compensation bias and checking the histogram, or if you like to use your metering function apart from your focusing function you can meter off the brightest highlights.

Another angle of light we encounter in the field is a case of strong 'side-light'. In this case the light hitting the subject creates a stark contrast between one part of the subject and another. Obviously this is only possible in the early morning and late noon-time shots available here! The ideal exposure for me in cases like this is to obtain enough detail in the shaded parts without making it look unnatural and without blowing out the highlighted areas.


The key to facing a situation where the light is challenging, is to know your equipment well, know how to use your exposure bias setting to achieve an over- or underexposed shot, and think the end the best images are formed in your mind's eye before you even trip the shutter.

We all want those moments of "perfect" light, but they seldom are advice would be to make the most out of the situations you do find yourself in when you are out in the field. Most of us have so precious little time to spend in the field to begin with!

Here are some more images I have been able to capture in these kinds of light.

Till next time!

Morkel Erasmus

Monday 10 October 2011

PhotoShare: Black-Headed Heron

Nothing fancy for you tonight, folks...just a simple image of an everyday bird (at least in our parts) in great light coming in to roost for the night.

(Nikon D7000  |  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II)  f7.1  |  1/2000 SS  |  ISO-1600

Enjoy the rest of your week!!

Morkel Erasmus

Monday 3 October 2011

PhotoShare: Noah's Giraffe

I know, I know, it's a somewhat weird and quirky title, but the rainbow should give the reason away!

I find giraffe difficult to properly compose photographically at the best of times...and know many wildlife photographers who share that sentiment. Their irregular form and contours and their size make them somewhat of an enigma and easy to do an injustice to on photos.

It's a bit easier for those frequenting the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania where they act as great anchors and pillars for wide shots of the landscape...but in the dense bushveld of South Africa it becomes a tad harder to do them justice.
Every now and again, though, the giraffe does all the hard work for stand in the right spot. This one posed perfectly right in front of a beautiful rainbow one summer afternoon in the Sabi-Sands Game Reserve.

(Nikon D3s, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR-II) f5.6  |  1/1000 SS  |  ISO-320

Chase the light!

Morkel Erasmus