Wallowing in Mud


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A young elephant (Loxodonta africana) takes a quick mud bath on the side of a pan in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. This elephant appears to have an injured eye, which seems unnaturally reddened. When water is limited during the dry months, before the rains, most elephants will hose themselves down with their trunks. It is not uncommon for them to wallow, like piglets in the mud, to cover themselves with moisture.
(Canon EOS 7D; f/5.6; 1/60sec; ISO-320; 400mm)

Picture ©2012 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
This image was taken towards last light and with a slow exposure, the tell tale signs of which are in the trunk. With a focal length of 400mm it was hardly going to be a sharp image. If you are using a camera with a small sensor, this creates a crop factor that has the effect of extending the focal length of the lens. Commonly, this is by a factor of 1.6x. Thus a lens with 400mm focal length is effectively a 640mm lens. When using a hand held camera with a smaller sensor, be sure to consider the 1.6x aspect when setting you exposure speed to avoid camera shake. An image taken with a 400mm lens should be exposed by at least 1/640sec or faster.

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