Steaming Up

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This Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius – Shona: Mvuu; Ndebele: Mvubu), apparently the loan resident of this small pan, rises to blow out his nostrils and make his presence known. He is just a little too close for comfort. Hippos do not swim or float, but resurface ever 3 to 5 minutes to take in air and, apparently, they even rise to take a breath when asleep! An amazing, but dangerous beast, the Hippo is the third largest land mammal in Africa.
Population Trend : Decreasing; Threat: VulnerableSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 5D MarkIII / EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4III; 1/160 sec; f/4.5; ISO 360; 280mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Photography Terms
Effective Focal Length EFL is an optical measure of the angle of view and magnification of different lenses being expressed as the distance from the front to the rear principal planes of the lens.

“Around the age of thirty it struck me that a continuous self-focus was an act of gossip – about oneself, to oneself. Turning one’s gaze within might be an effective antidote to the national faith in material redemption, but by itself this habit of inwardness would only encourage a chattering of selves. I wanted my attention elsewhere. Photography was perfect. Its beginning entails the very discovery of elsewhere, and where it lies.”

– John Rosenthal


Hippos in a Pod


Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius – Shona: Mvuu; Ndebele: Mvubu), often regarded as the most dangerous animal in Africa, particularly if you get in its way. At Long Pool, in the Mana Pools area, one is blessed with many a photo opportunity during the last hours as the sun casts a warm light on these beasts in the water. It is that time when Hippo begin to stir, making ready for their long trek into the surrounding veldt to eat.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 320; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Clipping is the term referred to when the light intensity/dimness falls outside the maximum and minimum intensities that can be displayed in a digital image resulting in the loss of picture detail in the clipped area. This most commonly occurs in camera with over or under exposure. Bright or white areas of the image are usually referred to as being blown-out It is possible for a single colour channel to be clipped (out-of-gamut clipping) giving rise to an apparent discolouration of the image, and this is normally consistent with post image capture processing.

“One can consider or define the over exposed and under exposed portraits as High Key and Low Key Portraits.”

– Lakshman Iyer

Big Mouth


A river horse (Hippopotamus amphibius – Shona: Mvuu; Ndebele: Mvubu) yawns while catching the last shards of light at Long Pool. During the early evening these beasts will stir and begin thinking about food, and the long trek to their favourite grazing spots. They travel up to 10 kilometres from water to feed and will consume as much as 70 kg in a night. This hippo is not actually yawning, it is threatening imposters taking its picture.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 320; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Golden Ratio is based on a natural phenomenon and exploited by ancient fine artists to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing composition of their works. The mathematician, Leonardo Bonacci introduced the Fibonacci sequence from which any two successive numbers in the sequence form a constant ratio, or the Golden Ratio which approximates to 1.618 or in basic terms a 5 x 8. The spiral created by squares measured in the decreasing Fibonacci sequence may be found in many aspects of nature, giving rise to the term divine ratio..

“I wanted to combine science and photography in a sensible, unemotional way. Some people’s ideas of scientific photography is just arty design, something pretty. That was not the idea. The idea was to interpret science sensibly, with good proportion, good balance and good lighting, so we could understand it.”

– Berenice Abbott

Squabbling Hippopotami

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Two hippopotamuses (Hippopotamus amphibius – Shona: Mvuu; Ndebele: Mvubu) challenge each other for a space in the pod. The hippo is a highly gregarious creature in water, but a solitary feeder when on land. Estes (in the Behaviour Guide to African Mammals) describes the hippopotamus as socially schizophrenic, tolerating close contact with others, but highly aggressive. It is not entirely clear why they cluster in the water. Some suggest the obvious, to protect their calves from likely predation by crocodiles, but trampling and hippo pod aggression accounts for more calf deaths or injury than predator attacks. Individual hippos are highly territorial, maintaining their water space for several years.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III/EF500mm IS USM + 1.4x; 1/320 sec; f/11; ISO 200; 700mm)

Picture ©2014 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Photography Quotes

Leroy Zimmerman is an American landscape photographer who dedicated his photographic passion to capturing panoramic images after discovering the technique of using 3 x 35mm frames to create a single panoramic shot. His now lives in Alaska, considered by him to be the utopia for panoramic photography. Zimmerman is attributed with the quote:

“It took many years of shooting before I began to realize why I was not satisfied with my work. I discovered that it was not the photography that I was dissatisfied with, but the format. I realized the limits imposed by a single 35mm frame were not allowing me to film what I was seeing.”

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

Hippo Rising

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This is a shot that many a wild life photographer will have taken over the years, but each one is unique, despite the common concept. This hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius – Shona: Mvuu; Ndebele: Mvubu) was part of a very large pod and had popped his head up to observe the threat. Some suggest that ‘hippo’ have no facial expression, but it is all in the eyes. This beast is definitely giving off expression, probably to the tune that the photographer was invading its privacy, before submerging and honking that all too familiar call to African wildlife observers.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III /EF200-400mm F/4 IS USM EXT; 1/640 sec; f/6.3; ISO 1,600; 560mm)

Picture ©2014 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

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Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
Everyone is a wildlife photographer in this age of digital cameras, and most are very good. The plethora of images that can found on the web is amazing, to say the least, but there are a few who struggle, evidently. Common errors would seem to be subject too small, missing the real moment, and unsharp or soft images. While focal length may be restrictive for some, be patient and shoot plenty of frames to ensure you do not miss the moment, and increase exposure and/or use a tripod to sharpen images. Make sure you know the camera’s focal point of your focus: focus on the eyes!