The photographer cannot make up his mind if this is a Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) or Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) (perhaps its neither and he hopes you will put him right). These little carnivores and migrant birds are common to Mana Pools. They feed on small invertebrates picked from the sand and mud on the edge of shorelines and pans.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/750 sec; f/5.6; ISO 3200; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Exposure Compensation is the deliberate under or over exposing of an image beyond the light metering system of the camera, usually done to achieve the correct exposure in difficult lighting situations. Many photographers will slightly underexpose their shots where the risk of clipping exists. That is where the intensity of light in an area of the image falls outside minimum or maximum intensities.

“A photographer’s eye is perpetually evaluating. A photographer can bring coincidence of line simply by moving his head a fraction of a millimetre. He can modify perspectives by a slight bending of the knees. By placing the camera closer to or farther from the subject, he draws a detail. But he composes a picture in very nearly the same amount of time it takes to click the shutter, at the speed of a reflex action.”

– Henri Cartier-Bresson

African Skimmers


A recent sighting of the near-threatened African Skimmers (Rynchops flavirostris) at Mana Pools was caused a little excitement for a few who attempted to capture on camera formations of up to three birds skimming across pans, with their mandibles dipped in the water, looking for prey. They feed mostly at dawn and dusk, giving photographers a few setting challenges. Skimmers are intra-African migrants moving into Southern Africa (mostly along the Zambezi and Caprivi Strip/northern Botswana) during the dry season.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/350 sec; f/5.6; ISO 3200; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Image Stabilisation or Vibration Reduction, usually built into camera lenses (and some binoculars too) minimises the effect of camera shake, especially at slow shutter speeds. This is achieved by deploying fine sensors to detect camera motion and adjusting for this through movement of either lens or sensor (known as optical IS). Digital IS uses software to achieve the same result.

“A shutter working at a speed of one-fourth to one-twenty-fifth of a second will answer all purposes. A little blur in a moving subject will often aid to giving the impression of action and motion”

– Alfred Stieglitz

Pied Kingfisher’s Breakfast


Opportunity knocked when this little Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) dropped in just meters from the photographer to consume his catch. This bird is the male of the species, with its double breast band. The Pied Kingfisher is very broadly distributed in Southern Africa and a common resident of freshwater pans and wetlands.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/1500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 3200; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography
Lens Speed comprises the f-stop of the largest aperture at which the lens will function, hence a fast lens is one which will operate at a very low f-stop transmitting more light to the sensor or film plane. A 400mm lens which may function at an aperture setting of f/3.5 is a fast lens. Zoom lenses generally operate within a range of a few stops, the longer the focal length the tighter the aperture. A canon EF100-400 zoom lens operates between f/4.5 and f/5.6

“Human gesture and expression are the essence of photography. It’s not about lights or fast lenses and fast film. It’s the ability to capture a moment in time. To capture the spirit of someone in that magic box is wonderful. It’s what I fell in love with as a kid.”

– John Shearer

Starling Stop

Starling_2015_08_18_9999_169-2When you are sitting next to a pan of water deep in the bush, awaiting that magic moment at a waterhole, some of the wildlife about you begins to get familiar, especially a few of the birds. This Starling (Lamrotornis mevesii) seem to take a shine to me and kept company for an unusually long time, posing like a fashion model on the runway with its glossy ‘attire’, presenting a few photo opportunities. These birds are endemic in Mana Pools, and commonly resident in the mopane woodland. Their glossy appearance is due to a single layer of hollow melanin granules on the surface of the feather barbules.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF70-200mm IS II USM + 1.4x III; 1/500 sec; f/8; ISO 320; 560mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Tone refers to the lightness or darkness of an area in a photograph and might be otherwise described as luminosity by some, particularly with reference to monochrome images. In colour images, tone may also refer to colours in terms of their warmth or coolness, or, as some may argue, perhaps the different qualities and intensities of the colour. These parameters are more to do with hue and saturation though. Tone is more to do with the darkness and lightness aspect! Tonal range is the difference between the lightest and darkest part of the image, and gives rise to the use of the histogram in digital images, a visual measure of exposure to some, and the extent of clipping or shadows and highlights.

“Black and white photography does more to evoke an emotion and freeze a moment in time than any other medium. Looking back over the decades at such famous photographers as, Steigletz, Weston, Adams, and others has helped elevate black and white photography, to a fine art form. The subtle tones of greys, the strong emphasis of the blacks, and the softness of the whites makes one look much closer at the subject and composition due to the lack of natural colour. Emotions are always much easier to portray with black and white, because of the stark contrasts and the sharp focus on the subject”

– Bob Snell

Red-billed Hornbill

Red Billed Hornbill_2015_08_20_9806

The Southern Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus rufirostirus) is such a commonly seen little bird, that few stop to take notice of it.  They are abundant in the Zambezi Valley.  It is a touch skittish, habitually taking flight if disturbed, so one doesn’t get close. This species frequents open savanna and woodland areas, with sparse ground cover and enjoys the Mopani woodland endemic to some Lowveld terrains. The Hornbills enjoy a varied diet including beetles, termites and larvae, and will even take vertebrates, including other small birds, especially nesting chicks. They will consume fruit and seed too, and are usually found foraging on the ground. In the Zambezi Valley the Southern Red-billed Hornbill is known to flock and migrate regionally. There is an unusual occurrence of some 1,000 birds having drowned in Lake Kariba reported on one occasion during such a migration.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III / EF100-400mm IS II USM +1.4x III; 1/500 sec; f/8; ISO 320; 560mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Photography Quotes

The Amercian photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams, is perhaps one of the most well know black and white landscape photographers, whose fine art work in the Yosemite National Park is well famed. Adams became a guiding light in the field of photography, writing extensively on the subject and teaching with emphasis on resolution, clarity and sharpness, which perhaps explains his founding of the Group f/64. He was a great lover of large format photography. Ansel Adams is attributed with this quotation:

“In some photographs, the essence of light and space dominate; in others, the substance of rock and wood, and the luminous insistence of growing things…It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to spectators.”

This image, and others of your selection, can be acquired from the author printed on fine art canvas of photographic paper for wall mounting.
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Stuck in darkest Africa, lost in the wild and loving it! Don’t let me out of here…