Hyena Stare

This is another old image, already published, or the mythically hermaphroditic, spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) ‘sussing’ out the photographer. Male or female, one just does not know, unless they are obviously pregnant, or in a crowd where the females tend to dominate in size. These hunter, scavenger animals are generally shy. This beast was disturbed during the early hours, just as the sun was peeping over the horizon.
(Canon 7D; f/5; 1/50sec; ISO-500; 250mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Good Morning!

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A young Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) pops its head above the parapet. There is no telling the difference between male and female in this species, which is perhaps famous for its ‘hermaphroditism’. This, some believe, is an outcome of female dominance and aggressiveness in the competition to secure food for their young. It is said that females actually outpace males in testosterone production and grow larger and are more aggressive than males. The male looking external genitalia of females is unique in this species.
Population Trend : Decreasing; Threat: Least ConcernSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/3000 sec; f/5.6; ISO 3200; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Photography Terms
F-stop, is a lens aperture setting measure which all variable aperture lens are calibrated. The measure provides an indication to the users of the amount of light being transmitted through the lens. Each stop change either halves of doubles the amount of light on the film or sensor. The f-stop setting also determines the depth of field on the subjected in the image.

“When I first started learning how to take photographs, you had to spend the first six months figuring out what an f-stop was. Now you just go and take pictures. Nobody thinks about technical issues anymore because cameras or camera phones take care of that automatically. ”

– Martin Parr

A Clan of Hyenas

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A clan of Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) on the hunt, or looking for opportunity knocking, in the morning. Just a couple of hundred metres away there was a pride of lions on the prowl across the flood plain, possibly looking for breakfast, and the Hyenas were most probably looking to take their chances. They do hunt. Richard Estes (The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals) suggests Hyenas will ‘scavenge whenever possible and as a predator will always select the most easily captured prey.’ Yet a lone Hyena is capable of running down and killing a medium sized antelope. It is unusual to see more than two Hyenas foraging like this. On a lighter note, is this a cackle or a clan of hyenas?.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III / EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/200 sec; f/5.0; ISO 1250; 55mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Photography Quotes

The American photo journalist Dorothea Lange followed a varied career during which she became an influential documentary photographer and is best known for her American Depression-era work for the Administration, humanizing the consequences of the Great Depression. She influenced the development of documentary photography as we know it today. After the destruction of Pearl Harbour, Lange covered the internment of the Japanese community on the West coast of America. In 1945, she was invited by Ansel Adams to accept a position as faculty at the first fine art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts. She later set up the publication Aperture. Lange is attributed with this quotation:

“My own approach is based upon three considerations: First, hands off! Whenever I photograph I do not molest or tamper with or arrange; Second, a sense of place. I try to picture as part of its surroundings, as having roots; Third, a sense of time. Whatever I photograph, I try to show as having its position in the past or in the present.”

Pair Of Hyenas

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The heavily pregnant hyena (Crocuta crocuta) on the left seems to be eyeballing the photographer for breakfast potential. Fortunately there was distance between us. These two were part of a small pack disturbed in a gully during the early morning, when the rising sun was still casting red to orange light.
(Canon 7D; f/5,6; 1/250sec; ISO-200; 400mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
Consider what the subject of your photograph will be, zoom in and out, compose, fire many shots. Wildlife photography does not always present the option to change your angle of view, it is often an opportunist shot, so make the best of your capture angle by carefully composing the subject in the frame and then using different focal lengths, keeping mind what the subject of your shot is. Most importantly keep shooting! Some wildlife photographers will consume many memory cards in a single day.

Spotted Hyena

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A spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) looks back at its source of disturbance, a photographer in the early hours, Mana Pools National Park.  Most people believe this animal is a plains scavenger, an activity it certainly pursues, but the hyena is also an efficient hunter designed to run prey to exhaustion and therefore into submission.  Hyenas have the most powerful jaws of all the carnivors and are known to crush and consume bone.
(Canon 7D; f/5; 1/250sec; ISO-200; 220mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
One photographic technique to brighten up you image subject, when the background is bright and the subject is in shade, is to use fill-in flash. However, this is not considered appropriate by many wildlife photographers, including me, and some suggest no wildlife image is worth the use of flash. Many birding photographers would not be without this technique, apparently. A mild dose of fill-in flash can enhance the catch light in the eyes of your subject. Use your common sense!