Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Drake's Beach - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 48 Helvetar, ~f/13, 31s, ISO 35
The sun is setting pretty rapidly on 2013 and 2014 is on its way.  I'll forego the usual photographic recap of the year and just say that its been a great year.  There were many trips and a lot of good times with new and old friends.  My goals for next year are fairly simple.  Its pretty much to recover from my injury in time to do some traveling in April, keeping my fingers crossed that I don't develop arthritis.  Thats about it, Happy New Year to all.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Juvenile Baboon on Termine Mound

Juvenile Baboon - 1DX, 200-400 @ 560mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 800
A juvenile Baboon climbed up on top of a termite mound to get a better look at the surroundings.  I made this image around the beginning of an afternoon game drive (5:30 or so) near Sandibe camp.  In the image from yesterday, those traces of last night, just that small touch is what made it interesting.  A similar thing is true here, its that little bit of back lighting lighting up the edges of the Baboon's fur that make this interesting for me.  I could have cropped this image tighter (what you see here is completely uncropped) but I liked the idea of leaving as much of the termite mound as possible in there to show a little bit of the environment.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Kiss of Light

Last Kiss of Light - D800e, 70-200 @ 110mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 100
Made near Pincher Creek, Alberta, the last rays of light touch just a few of the trees bathing them in warm late afternoon light.  There was no spectacular sunset that day, but contrast of the warm light against the cold green of the shaded trees makes for an interesting image.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sony A7r and 55 f/1.8

A7r, 55 FE, f/1.8, 1/80s, ISO 320.  Click through to zoom in.
Ok, this is a post for the camera gear nerds mostly.  A lot of photographers are talking about the Sony A7r and the two primes released with it (the 35 and the 55).  It seems everyone is writing a review and normally I'd just be out shooting with new toys but since I'm tied to sitting in one place and then another my options are limited.  So I photograph what is within reach and usually means just the kids.  Many are reporting the new lenses are sharp and I can verify, yep they are.  The image above was shot hand held at 1/80s, looks pretty good to me.  I used the eye focus feature on the A7/A7r and am generally finding that it works very well.


Close up of the eye, looks great to me.  I sharpened my standard amount of 70/0.8/44 in Lightroom and at ISO 320 the file holds up to the sharpening well.

I noticed that qualitatively the 55 f/1.8 has fairly pleasing bokeh and so I wanted to compare against the Leica 50 f/1.4 Summilux.

Sony 55 out of focus highlights
This is kind of torture test for bokeh and this is actually quite good.  There is faint bit of green fringing on the edge of the highlight with the Sony.

Leica 50 f/1.4 Summilux out of focus highlights
The Leica is also good but omits the fringing of the Sony.  I also compared sharpness and found the Sony to be as good if not better than the Leica at all apertures, especially at the edges.  Not bad for the Sony at 1/4 the price, even if it is physically larger, but you get AF.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shopkeepers

Shopkeepers - 5D3, 24-70 @ 42mm, f/4, 1/50s, ISO 320
Two shopkeepers, presumably husband and wife wait for customers at the Mehane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem.  I'm not into street photography all that much when I saw this scene with the this couple facing opposite directions but not directly at each other, seemed like there was a photograph here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Storm Blue

Storm Blue - Alpa STC, IQ180, 32 HR, ~f/11, 1s, ISO 35
I had a craving to make a big print from a big file this morning so I went looking for IQ180 files.  Under ideal conditions the Teton range would be visible in the background but we got socked in by clouds from the storm system in the area that morning.  However as the morning went on I noticed very subtle layers to the clouds that covered the sky.  Curious to see if my camera could pick it up I made this image; turns out it could.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Alley in Venice

An Alley in Venice - 5D3, 24-70 @ 24mm, f/2.8, 1/15, ISO 100
I was going through my archives of unprocessed photos last night and came across this one I took earlier this year on a brief stop in Venice for the Carnevale di Venezia.  The mask in this photo is Solange, who was wonderfully accommodating as we walked around making images.  We were just about to come out of this alley and I immediately knew this was the image I wanted to make, going as wide as possible.  I had only a second or so to frame, focus and release the shutter.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Screws in my Leg


That was the state of my ankle about 11 days ago when I dislocated it and fractured my fibula.  The doctors reset the dislocation pretty quickly, which is good because that bone was about to poke through the skin.  So then there was surgery, a metal plate and lots of screws.  I went in for a post-op checkup yesterday where the splint was removed and xrays performed.


This is what my ankle looks like now.  Everything is anatomically correct.  There is a plate attached to my fibula with 3 screws holding it to the fibula.  Then I have two more screws at the fracture site compressing the fracture together so that it heals properly.  Then there are two large screws that are bringing the fibula and tibia back together.  There's also 19 staples at the incision site which were removed yesterday.


Side view of the whole thing.


I also got a new fiberglass cast, which is lighter and is now ready for Maya's drawings and decorations.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tree, Sunset and Big Sky

Tree, Sunset and Big Sky
I love big skies and living in the bay area, California, its not something that we get often.  I was however fortunate to witness some beautiful skies and beautiful sunsets in Botswana.  I only wish I had taken a wider lens with me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lioness Afternoon Drink

1DX, 200-400 @ 243mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 800
On the evening of the second day at Sandibe camp, we drive out looking for elephants.  After a couple of sightings we ran into this Lioness which the guides knew from before had just given birth to cubs a couple of days earlier.  We followed her hoping that when she approached her den, she would call out and encourage her cubs to come out and play.  She wandered for a bit, stopping to take drink right as the last rays of light were bathing her body (kudos to our guides for positioning us in anticipation of the drink) and then continued on.  We kept a far distance to avoid spooking her and noticed that she disappeared into a bush.  The guides speculated that it was where was keeping her cubs and that they were probably still too young to come out and play.  So no cubs, but a wonderful image of a lioness taking a drink, can't complain!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hail the Termite

Hail the Termite - 5D3, 24-70 II @ 24mm, f/5.6, ISO 100
I finally managed to hop my way up the stairs this afternoon to make it to my office for the first time in about 6 days.  Its awesome to be able to access my machine with all my images and post some new stuff.  I've also mostly kept my leg elevated since returning home from the hospital and putting this post together is the first time its been down for a long time, rushing a lot of blood there.

Termites!  These guys were probably the biggest surprise from my Botswana trip.  First, I didn't expect to see so many of them (more on that later) and second in California home owners generally vilify them and consider them a nuisance for the damage they cause to homes.  I learned a lot about termites on this trip including their fascinating role in the ecosystem.  As consumers of dead wood, they play a vital role in returning emergy back into the ecosystem.  Their mound structures and colony organization is also fascinating.  But the most fascinating thing is the termite bloom, oh my goodness what an experience.  The mound has future kings and queens inside, many many thousands of them.  The workers bring them food for most of the year and these guys fatten up, consisting mainly of protein and fat.  Then, at the start of the rainy season, after the first days of heavy rain, when the soil is softer, they are released en masse.  These termites have wings and their goal is to fly out, land somewhere, mate and start a new mound.  We had heavy rain on our fourth day so on the night of the fifth we had a chance to experience this first hand.

After returning from our game drive and before dinner we noticed several hundred flying insects up by the main light.  These were the termites and quickly their wings fell off, they fell to the ground and were swept up.  We then went on with our dinner and just as we finished our main course and were waiting for dessert we saw a horde of them by the main light again.  Soon the entire space was buzzing with what must have been tens of thousands of termites in flight; needless to say dessert was cancelled.  They are completely harmless, but they land everywhere and for those uneasy with insects they can freak you out.  I'm very uneasy with insects but for some reason I just found this fascinating and so stuck around for some time watching them.  My buddy +Vincent Mo was stuck in an upstairs loft area (the fallen termites had completely covered the stairs) so he stayed for a lot longer photographing them.  The camp staff swept them all up and in the morning little evidence of what had happened last night remained, amazing stuff.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Big Bull

Big Bull Elephant - 5D3, 24-70 @ 63mm, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 100
I love wildlife images where you have the opportunity to get close and use a wider angle to pull in more of the environment.  I was at 63mm (so only about 31 degrees angle of view), ideally he would have come closer to us to, but you get what you get.

I made this image on our last full day at Sandibe during an afternoon game drive.  By that point in the trip after filling our cards with great images of leopards, cheetahs, elephants and even a couple of male lions we were out with +Grant Atkinson to simple find anything interesting.  Its immensely satisfying to reach a point on a photographic trip where you don't feel the pressure to have to see something because you've already had a lot of great sightings.  We spotted this big bull elephant, which as bulls tend to do was walking and eating along the way.  The vehicle was positioned far off such that if the elephant continued on his path he would walk past us with the vehicle positioned between him and the sun.  The engine was shut off and we waited.  He first walked past in front of the vehicle, continuing to eat not caring too much about our presence.  Then he turned and walked up to the side of the vehicle and stopped about 15-20 feet away and stood and posed for about 30 seconds, relaxed the entire time.  He then walked to a palm bush behind the vehicle and started chomping on it.  Interestingly, he was so relaxed that he was fine with having his back to us.  I could see him turn his head slightly and dart a quick glance every 30 seconds just to make sure we weren't being cheeky.  One of my favorite moments in Botswana.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hiding

Hiding - 1DX, 200-400 @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/200s, ISO 200
I find it fascinating how baby elephants always seem to position themselves such that their mother is between them and a vehicle.  In this case we were no threat, we stayed put some distance away and allowed the elephants to walk past so that they would stay relaxed.  Still the baby eventually ran up and positioned itself under the legs of its mother.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Out for a stroll

Out for a stroll - D800e, 70-200 @ 200mm, f/10, 1/200s, ISO 220
Continuing the theme of elephants and getting closer yet here is a pair out for a stroll.  We watched the group of elephants these two were a part of for some time as they slowly moved through the area grabbing food with their trunks, stuffing it into their mouths and moving on.  The baby always not too far behind.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Elephant Line

Elephants - 1DX, 200-400 @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 500
From elephants in the air to now on the ground, I just can't get enough of these majestic creatures.  Its fascinating to watch them move through an area with the babies and juveniles in the middle being far more playful than the adults.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Elephants from the Air

Elephants - D800e, 70-200 @ 200mm, f/5.6, 1/3200s, ISO 900
One of the highlights of the Botswana trip was being able to photograph the delta from the air on a helicopter.  The doors were removed and with one foot on a skid, I had the ability to across the entirety of one side.  This image was made in the morning around 6:45 AM when the light was soft and warm.  Elephants (especially the matriarch) can get irritated by the presence of a helicopter so we always keep out distance and at the first sign of annoyance, we leave (the ecological responsibility demonstrated by our pilot is awesome).  This group was relaxed and didn't mind our presence so we stayed with them for a few minutes, making a bunch of images.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Satisfying Safari

Leopard and Stormy Skies - 5D3, 24-70 @ 45mm, f/9, ISO 100
I am on my way home after spending the last 9 days on safari in the Okavango Delta led by +Andy Biggs and +Grant Atkinson.  Our time was split between two camps, Sandibe and Nxageba and in short it was wonderful.  We were treated to great weather, lots of interesting animal behavior and spectacular skies and sunsets.  I've already highly recommended Andy as a safari leader but this was my first time with Grant and I can whole heartedly recommend him as well.  Grant is as knowledgeable about wildlife, their behavior and history as he is a great photographer.  Andy and Grant's style in what they look for and how they do it was different but complimentary and having them rotate through the vehicles gave people the opportunity to come away with images of a variety of subjects and benefit from their collective wisdom.

I remember the morning I made this image well.  It was after a night of heavy rains, and in the morning there were a lot of clouds in the skies but they were layered with interesting color and pattern.  In the late morning, on our way back to camp after 5 hours of game drive (we left for game drives at 5:30 AM), I saw these white fluffy clouds against the deep blue of a distant storm.  I turned to Grant and mentioned to him that all that was missing was a fantastic subject to put in front of it, ideally a Leopard resting on a tree with a clear view to the sky behind.  Not 10 minutes after I said that we spotted a Leopard sitting in a tree.  It took a couple of minutes to find the ideal spot to capture both the leopard and a bit of that wonderful sky.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Shopkeeper

Shopkeeper - 5D3, 24-70 @ 70mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 100
Work is now over and its time to play.  In a couple of days, I should be on the Okavango Delta with +Vincent Mo on the first of our game drives.  No more street photography, its time for the wildlife.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Halvah


One of the many interested things I discovered about Israel yesterday was Halvah.  I'm very familiar with the Indian Halwa and nothing having met a sweet dish I didn't like I was curious to see what this was like.  The Israeli Halvah is made from nut butter (tahini, i.e. sesame seed is what I had) and sugar and comes infused with a variety of flavors.  I had a chance to try coffee and "spice", which was a combination of cinnamon and a touch of heat; both were good.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Giraffe Run

Giraffe Run - 1D4, 70-200 @ 200, f/32, 1/20s, ISO 100
This is hopefully the last image African wildlife image I post from my 2011 trip for some time.  I am first heading to Tel Aviv for work and then in a week I'll be in Johannesburg on the way to Botswana for 8 days of safari.

I used f/32 for this image mainly to force the shutter speed low enough to get the motion blur (it was the middle of the day when this image was made).  A lot of these motion blur images are just a matter of trying over and over until you get you are happy with.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Endless Future

The Endless Future - D800e, 70-200 @ 165mm, f/7.1, 1/80s, ISO 100
Homage to +Dave Besbris and his most recent "flower image" I present "The Endless Future".  So many Lilies have already bloomed, yet there remain many more more buds ready to unfurl.  The future is indeed bright.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Giraffe on the Serengeti

1D4, 70-200 @ 70mm, f/4.5, 1/3200, ISO 400
With just a little over 3 weeks left to go before safari time, Africa is definitely on my mind.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Giant Petrel

Giant Petrel - 5D3, 400, f/4, 1/1000s, ISO 400
It was exactly a year ago that I was on the last day of voyage across the Southern Ocean about to make the first landing on South Georgia at Elsehul.  Those not fighting sea sickness during the voyage would get out and photograph the many sea birds some of whom would follow the ship, circling for miles.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Supervised Exercise

Supervised Exercise -  1D4, 800mm, f/8, 1/640s, ISO 1250
A parent Loon supervises a chick swimming and playing.  I believe the chick is less than a month old when I made this image and was swimming about freely most of the time though still staying close to the parent.  If the chick were younger it would spend more of its time on the laying on the back of the parent as they are more easily tired from swimming.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Father & Son

Father & Son - 5D3, 400 II, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 200
I suppose I don't really know for sure what the genders of this adult and juvenile King Penguins are but "Father & Son" had a nice ring to it.  It was almost exactly a year ago that I was preparing to leave for my South Georgia and Falklands expedition.  I'll be heading to the airport once again tomorrow but this time for a quick trip to Germany for work.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Winter's Arrival

First Winter Storm - D800e, 70-200 f/4 VR @ 70mm, f/8, 1/320s, ISO 100
I try as much as I can to make images that tell a story, even if the story is a simple one.  In this case, I drove around in the afternoon through Grand Teton National Park at the tail end of the storm that hit and had in mind a particular story I wanted to tell.  I went to the area seeking the colors of fall and there were several aspen and cottonwoods that were in various stages of turning colors.  After the storm, I knew that I wanted to craft an image that conveyed the sense of fall interrupted and the abrupt arrival of winter.  I stopped at several locations looking for an image that told this story and finally near the end of my drive found it.  I saw these group of trees, several of them having started to turn.  The snow on the ground in the foreground was fresh and there was just the right amount as to not completely cover the grass.  Then the evergreens in the back with the light dusting of snow hinting at the recency of the snowfall.  Finally, the clouds, still obscuring the mountains behind, threatening to cast down more snow.  For me, this scene conveys the sense of fall interrupted and winter's arrival perfectly and I'm glad I kept looking to find what I had in mind.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Crazy last few months

Breaking Storm over Grand Teton - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/14, 0.5s, ISO 35
The last couple of months have been pretty crazy and this weekend was a small bit of normalcy coming back.  I've been in the process of moving, first there was buying the new place, then making the new place livable, then moving, then selling the old place.  All this and a bunch of traveling.  I had to pack up my office at home a couple of months ago including my wide gamut display and my 4900 printer.  I can attest that editing photos on a Macbook Pro Retina display for prolonged periods will rot your brain :)

All this craziness is slowly winding down.  I finally had the chance to unpack my office this weekend and set everything up.  It took a while to get all the heads on the printer cleaned after months of non-use but in the end I even had a chance to make a print.

I captured this image on the last day at Grand Teton National Park.  After a couple of days of storms and overcast skies on the last shoot we had the sun start to peek from behind the clouds.  I love this kind of dramatic post storm sun and cloud, especially when select portions of the foreground get lit up.  I processed this image in Capture One Pro and after a lot of careful dust busting using Adobe Camera Raw I ran it through a touch of Detail Extractor and Sunlight in Color Efex Pro.  It felt good to work on an image from beginning to end, including the print all in one sitting again.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yay for Snow!

Elk Herd in Snow - D800e, 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm, f/4, 1/400s, ISO 200
One of the really nice things about being in a place like Grand Teton National Park during a snow storm is that it gives you the opportunity to make images like this.  It was supposed to start snowing last night, but it didn't start until this morning and we spotted this herd of Elk on the way back to Jackson.  This is my favorite image of the day so far, I love photographing wildlife while bringing in their environment.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rain and Snow

Fence, Trees and Cloud - D800e, 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm, f/14, 15s, ISO 100
Just our luck, a storm has started coming through the Teton area.  It started yesterday evening and its been rainy on and off all day today and its supposed to start snowing later tonight (I already see snow in all the surrounding mountains).  Still we left at 5:30 for a morning shoot and tried to make the best of it.  For a brief time after sunrise the rain let up and though we were at the Mormon Row area photographing the iconic barn it was opposite to the barn that there was interesting cloud pattern, a fence and trees.  It took a few minutes for me to find a composition that I liked and I really wanted to incorporate all of these elements making an image with layers.

One of the nice things about the rain is that the park has less people and the wildlife is a little less shy in coming up to the road.  I'm looking forward to the snow especially if we can find some wildlife.  Should be an interesting next couple of days.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Moran Sunrise

Moran Sunrise - D800e, Zeiss 15, f/10, 91s, ISO 100
I arrived in Jackson Hole last night too late to be able to do any scouting for a place to shoot in the morning.  So I decided that I would just take a leisurely drive in the morning, checking out a few spots I was already aware of and make my way up to Yellowstone.  As I pulled up at the iconic Oxbow Bend location, the color was just about to pop.  I was somewhat dismayed to see dozens of photographers all lined up to take photos of the same thing and this further damped my already low enthusiasm to make an image this morning.  In the last moment I decided to grab just on body and lens and hoped to make an image that few (if any) of the other photographers were making (I heard a lot of constant shutter clacking so I'm not sure anyone else was doing a long exposure).  I didn't have much time to find the ideal spot or refine the composition (hence the bush at the right) but this is what I got.  After a few minutes, I packed up and continued my drive to Yellowstone.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Heading back to the Tetons


I am super excited that I get to head back to the Grand Tetons next week for a dedicated week of photography.  I've already checked the weather and it looks like we'll have a nice mix of days with some sunny and some rainy (rainy is actually good as you can sometimes get drama).  The last time I was at the Tetons it was in the summer of 2011 and I'm curious to see what the iconic locations look like in the fall.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ocean Iceberg and Clouds

Ocean Iceberg and Clouds - 5D3, 400mm, f/4, 1/2500s,  ISO 100
Better than funky clouds is funky clouds over an iceberg.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Tangled

Tangled - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 90 HR, ~f/22, ISO 35
A tangled web of tree branches with moss and lichen.  The chaos and disarray in this image is probably the thing I like the most about it.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Dramatic Clouds over Superstitions

Dramatic Clouds over Superstitions - 5D3, 24 TS-E II, f/10, ISO 100
Last night we had one of the most dramatic sunsets I've ever seen in the bay area.  I figured it would happen because of all the interesting clouds I saw forming through the day and because I knew there was no way I could get out to make any photographs.  So to make myself feel a little better I dug out a dramatic clouds image from my trip to Arizona last Christmas.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

City Awakens

City Awakens - 5D3, 24 TS-E, f/8, ISO 100
Good morning San Francisco.  There must exist millions of images that are very similar to this one as this was taken at one of the iconic locations to photograph the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco.  Still, the weather conditions are rarely identical and so you can still have an image that is your own, after all its so pretty.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hamburg Sunset

Hamburg Sunset - M240, 50, ~f/8, 1/180s, ISO 200, 5 panel stitch.
When I was in Germany the previous week, we were walking to dinner right as the sun was about to set.  We started way off in the left side of this image and walked along this side of the Alster, giving a nice view of the fountain, the buildings and photographing with the light.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Colorful Bananas

Colorful Bananas - M240, 75, ~f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 200
Last time it was funky tomatoes, now its colorful bananas.  I saw these in a fruit stand in Kona and the combination of green and yellow was striking.  As an aside, if you haven't enjoyed some of the exotic bananas you get in tropical countries, you are missing out.  The Apple Banana is one of the more common ones and they are small but tasty.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Untouchable Tomatoes

Untouchable Tomatoes - M9, 35FLE, ~f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 160
Funky tomatoes from a market in Barcelona, Spain.  I guess abuse of these wacky tomatoes is a common problem.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lübeck Street

Lübeck Street
This is a somewhat peculiar point of view of a street but with the old buildings and interesting clouds I had to give it a shot.  Since I put the camera right to the ground, and tilted up I guessed at the framing and captured a series of 5 exposures.  They were merged with HDR Efex Pro and then finished with just a couple of Color Efex Pro filters.  The result was a little askew and with pronounced perspective distortion but "Upright" in Camera Raw 8 resolved that with a click of a button.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Moss on Tree, Point Lobos

Moss on Tree, Point Lobos - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 90 HR, ~f/16, ISO 35
I made this image on one of my first shoots out to Point Lobos after getting my technical camera.  I wanted to capture the vivid reds of the moss against the rocks and since the sun had almost cleared the mountains, I captured 3 exposures and used HDR Efex Pro 2 to combine the exposures.  Fortunately it was a relatively calm day and so without a lot of moment the fusion came together well.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Early Morning Grand Canyon and Snow

Early Morning Grand Canyon - EM-5, 7-14 @ 7mm, f/7.1, ISO 200
The sun was about to rise over in the right of the frame I captured this image by making doing a burst of 5 images at high speed hand held and then fusing the results together with HDR Efex Pro.  Its amazing to me how far both cameras and software have come that make it possible to make interesting images even with sloppy technique.  Features like image stabilization for ultra wide angle lenses, high resolution, high dynamic range and improvements to software like better tone mapping, robust alignment and ghost reduction all come together to help more and more people make more images.  Some might argue that all of this takes away from the craft of photography, and they might be right but I would argue a little less craft for a few people is worth making all of this more accessible to an even larger populace.  Besides, when I'm feeling "crafty", I use the technical camera :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lone Elephant

Lone Elephant - 1D4, 500, f/4, 1/1000s, ISO 400
We are accustomed to seeing images of elephants that emphasize their size, so when saw this scene I knew I'd want to make an image that flipped it around and made the elephant small.  I made this image from the top of a hill in the Ngorongoro Crater and this elephant was in a rare patch of greenery.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Stork in Acacia

Stork in Acacia - 1D4, 70-200 IS II @ 85mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 200
There's more to Africa than lions and elephants, you run into the occasional stork in a tree.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Elephants on the Serengeti

Elephants on the Serengeti - 1D4, 70-200 @ 123mm, f/6.3, 1/800s, ISO 200
This image is an example image where my idea for how to post process the image changed from the time I captured it to the when I decided to seriously work on it.  I took this frame at around 12:30pm on an all-day game drive in the south Serengeti.  As you can imagine, the sun was out in full force and so the lighting was harsh.  However, a game drive tends to be a lot of "opportunity photography" and if you just keep waiting for everything to come together, you'll miss out.  I chose to frame the image with 5 elephants (rule of odds) and wanted to keep the elephants in the lower portion with hills in the middle and clouds in the top.  My original vision was still for a black & white but I had planned on playing around with the color mixing to really darken the skies and get pseudo-IR look.  I did this right in the field with Lightroom and left it that way, not all that pleased with the results (this was pre-Silver Efex Pro days).  That was over 2 years ago and recently I dug this image up again and decided to start from scratch on the black & white conversion this time with Silver Efex Pro.  I actually ended up preferring the conversion here where the sky is left bright but with the elephants popping out against the grass.  I was happy enough with the results to do a test print and was even happier to see that it comes out *very* well even when printed large.