Hippos in a Pod

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Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), 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

Squabbling Hippopotamuses

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Two hippopotamuses (Hippopotamus amphibius) 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 amphibious) 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

Hang a Little Africa on your Wall
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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!

Hippopotamus Observations

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A hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) peaks its head up from a pool and gives the photographer the ‘beady’ eye during the fading light. These beasts are stirring before moving onto land to feed nocturnally during the night.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III /EF200-400mm IS II USM EXT; 1/500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 5000; 560mm)

Picture ©2014 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips

Macro shots of insects are perhaps best shot with a macro lens with a higher aperture setting (longer depth of field) f/11 plus. Moving subjects will require faster shutter speeds of at least 1/500sec so Manual mode would be the preferred setting. Adjust ISO according to prevailing light. Slightly under-expose the image to achieve greater definition in the studio.

Hippo Out of Water

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This hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) was resident in a close-by, dried out, pan where it normally spends the day wallowing in a small patch of mud and water.  It was found browsing in the nearby shade of some mopani trees, shortly before the first rains arrived, in October, and the pan had all but dried up.  It is a little unusual to have so close an encounter with a hippopotamus when it is out of water.  The general propensity by hippo is to rush for the water when disturbed by humans.  In this case there was no water.
(Canon 7D; f/6,3; 1/160sec; ISO-200; 250mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
Always attempt to get exposure right in the field, rather than back in the studio. Under-exposed images result in poor contrast and it is difficult to get good colour saturation from dark areas. There is more digital noise in these dark areas. Over exposure results in the loss of data in the blown-out areas of the shot that cannot be recovered no matter how good post field processing is. The safe bet is to us the correct in-camera exposure, but cameras can be fooled. Try exposure bracketing through a half to one f.stop range either side of the median. That means a shot below median, another at the median and the other above… and most DSLR cameras allow automatic bracketing.