Kissing Elephants

Two elephants (Loxidonta Africana) enjoy an early morning ‘snog’; and they are both boys, apparently. The third bull elephant seems to be wandering off in disgust or simple pure jealousy. It is not unusual for elephants to entwine their trunks, it is a form of handshake, but a whole lot more sensory. Twinning is often initiated by the younger bull inserting its trunk tip into the mouth of the other of different rank (or pecking order), evidently derived from calves placing their trucks in their mother’s mouths. The trunk is an amazing organ used to smell (olfactory), breath, draw water and manipulate. In this case the process is a bonding between the two bulls. Another 06:00am shot in Mana Pools.
(Canon 7D; f/5,6; 1/160sec; ISO-640; 100mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Two Young Bulls

Two Young Bulls_2014_05_17_1587

We sat quietly on a log, under the shade of a huge fig tree, sharing space with four young bull elephants (Loxodonta africana feasting on the fruit droppings off the tree. Each beast, in succession, from largest to smallest, took turns in exerting their dominance with mock charges, flaring their ears, but stopping just short, one by one. After each ‘charge’ the smaller beasts went to the larger animal and mingled trunks, as if seeking approval for warding off the foe. Then they settled down and foraged in the shade, happily sharing their space, in a way accepting us into their brotherhood, but just for the moment.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III /EF70-200mm IS II USM +1.4x; 1/60 sec; f/7.1; ISO 320; 98mm)

Picture ©2014 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
Often one contemplates what equipment you should have with you. Over-packing and carrying kit that you do not need makes your mission a burden. By the same token, not having the right ‘gadget’ for the job may upset the balance of enjoyment, which is why you are there. Critical items, aside from the camera, are zoom, macro and wide angle lenses, tripod, plenty of media and spare batteries for the camera. Do not forget your lens cleaning kits and have a good sturdy bag which is comfortable to carry. Some say your most important ‘kit’ is the pair of shoes you wear.

Elephants at the Pond

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What more can one say about this marvellous view of elephants (Loxodonta africana) enjoying a drink in the middle of the day. Wait patiently by a good water pan anywhere in southern Africa and you are likely to encounter these graceful beasts. What beholds the greater beauty: this or an ivory trinket sitting on your mantle-piece? It is a no brainer really. Interestingly, it is considered that elephants have more environmental impact that any other mammal besides man. They are renowned for their destruction of trees; the very source of their long term food supply, which in the past has resulted in ghastly ‘culling’ of this adorable beast.
(Canon EOS 7D; f/5.6; 1/750sec; ISO-320; 140mm)

Picture ©2013 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
There is a view that great nature photography composition should be kept as simple as possible and the subject of the image be well placed in the frame and be without other image ‘clutter’ detracting from the subject. Clearly, this is where a narrow depth of field will come into play. The bush is full of distracting clutter and it is difficult to change your viewing-point in a wildlife environment, so use a wider f-stop to blur out unwanted clutter. More importantly take several shots at different f-stops. Recompose frequently.

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Stuck in darkest Africa, lost in the wild and loving it! Don’t let me out of here…

Valley Sunset with Elephants

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One of the most marvelous experiences one can have. A sunset on the Zambezi River flood plain with elephants. Peace on earth personified.
(Canon 50D; f/10; 1/60sec; ISO-640; 70mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
When using a tripod, avoid extending the tripod’s centre post. Rather extend the legs of the tripod before you do. This will lend to greater stability of the camera on the tripod. Where you are using a larger lens, use the lens’ L-bracket to secure the camera/lens combination to the tripod rather than just the camera’s tripod connector. This will also provide more stability. Where possible use a cable release too!

Elephants on Sandbank

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The Zambezi River presents many moods which are enhanced by the presence of life on its sandy banks. A break in the cloud cover on this unseasonably overcast day in the Zambesi Valley spreads warmth on the Zambian escarpment. The elephants swam across to the sand banks to feed on the grass.
(Canon 7D; f/13; 1/500sec; ISO-500; 200mm)

Picture ©2013 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
Always remember to compose a few shots of your subject in the upright, portrait format, thus experimenting with the best composure. If you come to selling your work, it is perhaps best to shoot in both horizontal and vertical formats, but remember to include reasonable space around the subject to enable cropping by designers.