I’m not sure that this really fits the subject of this week’s challenge but I liked this photo and I could stretch the meaning to fit……
This is a shot that I took during a “sundowner” happy hour overlooking the Serengeti in Tanzania. The sky was incredible but the only prominent point of interest was a single Acacia tree not far away. Those trees are frequent subjects of African sunset photography so it wasn’t very innovative from that aspect. What struck me about the scene was that the tree’s canopy was totally mirrored by the clouds just above – perfect semi-circles. I decided to take a photo where the subject was dead center in the frame – something I rarely do. I set my aperture to try and catch a sun star as the sun emerged below the clouds but above the tree. I had my camera on a pocket tripod so I was lining the shot up as the sun and clouds moved – as luck would have it, at the perfect moment, I could see a perfectly round lens flare forming as the sun reflected off the center of my lens. I snapped the shot at that second to catch this additional highlight to the symmetry of the scene – it is faint but hopefully apparent in the photo – forming a perfect circle around both the tree and the sun. An experiment in composition with a little help from mother nature.
Here’s my photo for this week’s challenge: “Shadowed.” This cheetah was examining a tree in the Serengeti and it cast just enough shadows to make this a dramatic photo which highlighted the incredible eyes of this svelte predator. Of all the cheetah photos we took during our trip a year ago, this may be my favorite……
Oh no!! Another Kitty photo? Ran across this one when I was going through my Serengeti images and I thought I should do something with it as I don’t recall seeing many photos of Cheetahs in this position. This female spent hours with us one afternoon (causing us to miss lunch!) including a stroll or two on top of our vehicle. This was a little “time out” see took in the grass before she caught the scent of a male cheetah heading our way.
This is also kind of a neat shot to illustrate the fact that the cheetah is the only big cat that can’t retract their claws. They are out all the time to act as “spikes” when the cheetah makes a charge at its prey.
This challenge was easy as I was already working on an image that fits the subject. I just purchased and received a 24″ monitor and a graphic tablet to use for editing photos – I think I was starting to go blind doing all my editing on my small, portable Macbook Air. I had chosen a photo of a leopard from Tanzania for my first edits using the new equipment. Luckily, it happened to be a Leopard descending from a tree so it will also works for this challenge. I hope you enjoy!
I haven’t posted many wildlife photos lately so I’ll use this opportunity to highlight an animal that depends on its endurance to thrive – the African Hyena. Hyenas are not the fastest, strongest, or stealthiest predator out there – but they are one of the most successful. During our trip to Africa this winter, we got to watch these under-rated hunters in action on several occasions.
The first Hyena we saw was in Uganda – it walked right by our vehicle in the early morning and was not at all concerned with our presence. We then watched it and several of its friends try to corner a group of Kob. This photo shows one of the Hyenas in hot pursuit of the herd. While we did not witness the end game of this encounter it was obvious that the Hyenas were just wearing down the Antelopes until they could get a shot at a weak one.
When we got to Tanzania, we saw an entirely different tactic, a single Hyena going after a small family group of gazelles. It locked in on one of the babies, and despite the best efforts of the parents to protect it, just waited until the young one tired out and finally made its kill.
I’ll spare you the graphic final moment of the encounter – you get the point.
I’ll end with one last interesting Hyena photo. On our last morning in Tanzania, a group of six Hyena surrounded our vehicle and wouldn’t leave – they circled the car and examined us all very closely. I took this photo out of our top hatch so that you can see how close they were and the attention they were giving us.
When we finally drove off – they ran after the truck for quite some time…..not sure what we would have done if they followed us to the airport…..
Okay – so for the last few days I’ve been watching some tutorials and ideas on how to turn photographs into “works of art”. While I have normally been a proponent of “natural” processing and keeping things realistic, I wanted to try my hand at some different techniques to add a more artful flair or increase the interest of some of my photos. Yesterday I tuned in to a webinar with Bobbie Goodrich, a wildlife photographer from Santa Fe who has a background as a painter and who creates some very interesting effects with her photos. I decided do a quick attempt by applying some of her techniques on one of my photos. I’d be interested in any of your comments on my processing as related to the original photo which I’ll put below. PS – My wife has already told me that she prefers the “originals” but I think there is plenty of room for other interpretations – besides, its fun to mess around with them and see what I can come up with. Here is the “artful” view of a leopard sitting in a tree contemplating his tail…….
The top photo has the background removed in favor of a colored gradient and the leopard and tree have been kind of “painterized” to give it more of an artsy flavor. The basic photo (with just some minor processing) is shown below – what do you think??
Another fine challenge this week. As someone who is frequently photographing wildlife, there are always lots of contrasts. Large vs small, predator vs prey, etc. However, when it comes to contrast in the animal world, the choice is as simple as black and white – and that means the zebra. This mom and child of the Northern Serengeti do a wonderful job of exhibiting that contrast. Hope you enjoy.
I have once again taken the easy way out on this challenge. My photo is of the time between day and night. Its that awesome time of day when details get muted and there is a feeling of mystery as nighttime arrives. For a photographer, the challenge is to catch that remaining light of day while using the oncoming darkness to enhance the feeling of the scene. One of the ways to capture this transition is the use of silhouettes against the fading light. This photo was taken in the Northern Serengeti as we were rushing back to camp as we had to be out of the park by “sundown”. I saw this giraffe framed against the color of the sunset and asked our guide to stop just long enough to catch this quick shot. I hope this captures the transition between day and night and also the serenity of the evening in an incredible environment.
I was feeling strange that I hadn’t posted a wildlife photo for a week or so……so…..I thought I’d post a different lion cub interpretation. This was one of 3 young lions hanging with her mother in the North Serengeti. In looking through my photos I noticed one where she was looking directly at us – I processed it as an old style portrait which almost looks like a pencil drawing. I then restored the original color and tone of both the eyes and the nose. I kinda like the way it turned out…..
I’m still enjoying going back to my Africa files and finding more photos to work with and post. Here’s a photo of a Lioness who was just lying by the side of the road in the Southern Serengeti. She hardly moved as we slowly pulled up within a few yards of her. I actually had to lean away from the open window to give myself enough room to focus on her serene face. If she had any worries about us being there, she certainly wasn’t showing it.