Waterbuck Basking in the Morning

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The Waterbuck (Kobus EllipsiprymnusShona: dhumukwa; Ndebele: isidumuka), with its distinctive white hoop on its rump, is a hardy antelope which is fairly well distributed in East and Central Africa. It is the most water reliant of the antelope and less able to withstand dehydration in extremely hot conditions. Its habitat will usually extend to grazing land near water. While mostly a grazer, it will browse on available herbage, particular during the dry season when grasses may be in short supply.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/180 sec; f/5.6; ISO 320; 349mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Kelvin Scale is a measurement of the visible light spectrum and is usually described as colour temperature as applied to different emission sources. Photographic “normal daylight” may be expressed in kelvins (K) and is usually gauged at about 5,500K, while tungsten light may emit at lower temperatures. Colour temperature during the “golden hour” is around 3,500K and is certainly considered by many the best time for wildlife photography.

“I expect to retire to a fine-grained heaven where the temperatures are always consistent, where the images slide before ones eyes in a continual cascade of form and meaning.”

– Ansel Adams

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Solitary Moments

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Happiness is sometimes a few solitary moments, mid-morning, basking in the sun. This small baboon (Papio cynocephalus ursinus), seated atop a white ant mount up against a sturdy tree, seems to have enjoyed the moments before being disturbed. The baboon is normally a gregarious little beast.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/80 sec; f/10; ISO 320; 400mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography
White Balance is achieved through a process in which a digital camera analyses the scene to determine unrealistic colour casts in the frame, using pure whites in the scene as a reference. This process ensures pure whites and other colours are recorded correctly by calibration of colour balances in an attempt to record colour accurately. The photographer can set the white balance to suit the colour temperature falling on the subject. Most cameras have auto white balances, but they are not fool proof, sometimes leaving a colour cast.

“What do I truly hate about DSLRs? Menus! Particularly menus that I need to consult for ISO settings and/or white balance. Buttons marked ISO and WB with direct access do me fine.”

– – Herbert Keppler – 2007

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…

Hackles Up: Lion at a Kill

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A young lion, (Panthera leo) stares across at a couple of potential invaders, two hyena that have an interest in the remnant remains of a buffalo rib cage . This young male had feasted most way through the night and was still nibbling when encountered the following morning.
(Canon 50D; f/8; 1/100sec; ISO-100; 350mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips

Be brave in the use of your camera. The safe rule, “Always use AWB” (Auto White Balance), allows for pretty accurate colour temperature setting by the camera. Break the rule occasionally and set the preset white balance settings to something other than AWB. The “Cloudy” setting warms up an image and it is suggest by some that this will help extend the “golden hour”. The shade setting will produce cooler or bluer pictures. Use this for creative effect.

Andrew Talks Photography: Colour Temperature

If you struggle reading white on black…go here…

A short while ago this blog touched on the subject of white balance. Another aspect to successful photography is having some knowledge about colour temperature, or the characteristics of available light. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, the environment in which you are taking photographs is not consistent in ambient temperature from area to area; or region to region; and, indeed, hour to hour. Colour temperature may change from a candle lit room to the bright outdoor light; from sunny day to overcast; from sunrise to noon: and this thermodynamic temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) units.

The origins of this lies with the physics of heat which suggests that when in when a hypothetical black body is heated it will radiate light across the spectrum as it hots up. Consider a metal being heated and moving through a process of becoming red hot, then yellow and, one presumes blue, before liquefaction. One may struggle with this, because what is happening in this process is a cooling of the colour as the heated body gets hotter. Thus the reds are considered warmer colours than blues.

Just to confuse one slightly more, digital camera colour temperature is not quite the same as pure colour temperature; it borrows from the principle, and considers only the range red to blue (green is missing). And this is not a recent development in photography. In the good old days of film photography one could acquire daylight balanced or say tungsten balanced films. These were all K rated according to where you intended doing your photography. Do not forget that light balancing filters and gels, used with flash attachments, are used to manipulate colour temperature, so this is nothing new.

Digital cameras use this same concept, but come with a versatile freedom; that is the ability to manipulate white balance to change colour temperature from one location to the next within minutes rather than being stuck with a whole roll of film in the wrong photo temperature zone. Thus, with digital photography, colour temperature is used interchangeably with white balance, which as you will recollect provides for the remapping of a camera’s colour values when considering the ambient colour temperature.

Now, how is this theory of any practical use to the photographer? Perhaps if we demonstrate a few physical values, which the wildlife photographic enthusiast should be familiar with, this will help. Give or take your latitude and prevailing weather conditions; ambient colour temperature approximates on the following scale:
• At sunset or sunrise: +/- 2,000K;
• one to two hours before sunset or after sunrise: +/- 3,500K;
• mid morning or afternoon it is probably in the region of +/- 4,300K; and
• at midday: +/- 5,800K (note: standard daylight is 5,200K, shade is 7,000K).

The more sophisticated digital cameras not only allow you to manipulate your camera’s white balance settings, but they also allow one to adjust the colour temperature more exactly (generally recommended for advanced users, but wide open for experimentation if you have a sense of adventure). Some cameras have an ‘Auto K’ feature too (equivalent to auto white balance AWB). Generally those who choose this route would be armed with a commercially available colour temperature meter, otherwise it is pure guesswork based on those averages outlined above, which rather suggests you stick to your white balance controls.

Now here comes the good bit: creativity. By working your camera’s colour temperature outside the average ambient light temperatures, one can create moods with the Kelvin scale settings, warming up images taken in cool ambient light or doing just the opposite. So the wildlife photographer may well utilise this to extend the golden hours from early morning and late afternoon into a larger part of the day, but not by much. Silhouetting at sunrise or sunset benefits from a boost in colour temperature and reddens the cast.

For most of us, simple camera white balance settings will suffice, and for those who are a little shy with technology or playing with your camera’s settings, one can adjust colour temperatures after the fact if you shoot in RAW. Most RAW converter software provides for this. Use the K setting technique in moderation and always remember to reset your camera to the standard 5,200K before packing your camera away.