Monday 7 July 2014

An Elephantine Moment

Wildlife photography, to me, is about telling the stories of nature and conveying a sense of the wonder of God's creation to my viewers. As a photographer, you need to be able to use all the tools at your disposal to do this. Besides the obvious - your camera and lens and the right settings for the shot you envision - you need to sometimes resort to cropping and post-processing techniques to "bring out" the story in the photo.

This photo of elephants drinking life-giving water was taken from an underground research bunker in Etosha National Park, Namibia. 

I was using a Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens, but even after capturing the tender moment of the young calf drinking between his protective mother's legs, I felt that it needed an extra touch. 

I cropped to eliminate distracting elements - in this case the sky, the other elephants (as much as possible) and some of the foreground. Mom wasn't as important to me as the young one, so it wasn't necessary for me to have "all of her" in the frame. Not much I can do about the giraffe you see through her legs in the background, though. I also wanted to convert this to monochrome to avoid the brighter colours drawing your eye from the cute calf who was in the shade.

Nikon D3s
Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR-II @ 200mm
f8.0  |  1/250 SS  |  ISO-900

Let me know what you think!
Thanks for looking, and have a blessed week my friends.

Morkel Erasmus


  1. I much prefer the cropped version, the other parts of the image are all a distraction to the subject.

    Another choice would have been to show the entire herd, but then the little guy wouldn't be the subject or likely noticed, but but it would be another (good) picture.

    You could have cloned out the giraffe even in the crop version, but then that might get into photographic morality.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jim!
      I quite liked the giraffe pattern there, so left it in :)

  2. awesome, of the best in not The Best, photography @ your website I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing you technique and camera information.