Ant Heap Surprise

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This is a refresh of an image taken a few years back.  Mana Pools may deliver a few surprises now and again. One of them can be stumbling upon a pride of lions (Panthera leo – Shona: shumba; Ndebele: isilwane) behind an ant hill. This shot presents the diagonal of the ant hill with the lion alerted to a presence, and looking directly at the camera lens. While it may be reasonably well composed, technically, this is a bad shot. Taken in very poor light with incorrect settings, it was under exposed and not quite as sharp as it should be.
(Canon 50D; f/5.6; 1/80sec; ISO-800; 200mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

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Steely Eyes

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Occasionally, one accidentally encounters events a little too close for comfort. Make no mistake, you will be warned off most aggressively if you stumble upon a pride male. Thank goodness for long lenses, but even then this lion (Panthera leo – Shona: shumba; Ndebele: isilwane) was just a touch too close. His look, with those steely eyes, was perhaps more sharply focused on my neck than the camera was on him. Discretion dictated careful retreat.
Population Trend : Declining; Threat: VulnerableSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 50D/ EF-S18-200mm; 1/60 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200; 200mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Photography Terms
Inverse square law determines the diminishing luminance of items in an image depending on their distance in relation to the light source and the subject. It is most relevant with off camera lighting and it teaches us how light works over distance and why the distance between the photographer’s light source and the subject being photographed is so important.

“Light is the photographic medium par excellence; it is to the photographer what words are to the writer; color and paint to the painter; wood, metal, stone, or clay to the sculptor. ”

– Andreas Feininger

Taking a Break

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Male Lion (Panthera leo – Shona: shumba; Ndebele: isilwane) takes a break in the shade after gorging on a buffalo killed earlier in the day. There appeared to be two dominant males in the pride. Estes (Richard – The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals) suggests the degree of male competition in the species has lead to social behaviour in prides not too dissimilar to baboons. Male size and showier mane development have, in some cases, impaired hunting ability in males.
Population Trend : Decreasing; Threat: VulnerableSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM +1.4x III; 1/250 sec; f/6.7; ISO 500; 264mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

The World of Lenses
Tilt Shift Lenses are mostly used in architectural photography and allow the photographer to adjust the composition of an image without tilting the camera. Some refer to these lenses as ‘perspective control’ lenses. Camera tilt induces skewed vertical lines in buildings and tall structures. By tilting the lens (thus making the focal plane pliable) converging verticals and indeed perspective may be reduced or adjusted. Tilt shift lenses are by their nature wide angle. There has been a surge of interest in perspective manipulation photography.

“A photographer’s eye is perpetually evaluating. A photographer can bring coincidence of line simply by moving his head a fraction of a millimeter. He can modify perspectives by a slight bending of the knees. By placing the camera closer to or farther from the subject, he draws a detail. But he composes a picture in very nearly the same amount of time it takes to click the shutter, at the speed of a reflex action.”

– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Returning to the Pride

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Returning to the pride to feed on a buffalo killed earlier in the day. This male was one of two dominant males in the Lion (Panthera leo – Shona: shumba; Ndebele: isilwane) pride, comprising 18 animals. Lions must be the noisiest of eaters and often the meal is accompanied by much growling and slapping at one another as they eat their fill. During times of food scarcity, the dominant males gorge themselves, sometimes eating up to a quarter of their body weight, yet despite this, and all the aggression, most of the pride get something to eat.
Population Trend : Decreasing; Threat: VulnerableSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM +1.4x III; 1/180 sec; f/10; ISO 640; 560mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

The World of Lenses
Fisheye Lenses are, basically, ultra wide-angle lens with angles of view ranging from about 100 degrees through to a maximum of 180 degrees. They produce strong visual distortion and loose straight lines and perspective. Fisheye lenses come in two main varieties, the circular fisheye which inscribes a circular image on a sensor or film plane, and full frame fisheye lenses which circumscribed the circular image around the full frame.

“A very fine photographer asked me, ‘What did it feel like the first time you manipulated an image?’, and I said ‘Do you mean the first time I shot black and white instead of colour, do you mean the first time I burned the corner of a print down, do you mean the first time I ‘spotted’ a dust speck on my print, do you mean the first time I shot with a wide angle instead of a normal lens, I mean what are you referring to? Where does it stop?'”

– Dan Burkholder

Defending his Range

Hostile_2015_08_22_9526This male lion (Panthera leo – Shona: shumba; Ndebele: isilwane) was a little more defensive than normal, having recently ventured into new hunting range, being the domain of other males in the area. The lions in Mana Pools exist within ranges of approximately 30-50km2. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and he certainly was not taking any chances with photographers on the day, aggressively standing his ground and basically dominating the confrontation. Prudence dictated a tactical withdrawal despite being a ‘safe’ distance from the pride. Those ladies did look hungry.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/640 sec; f/7.1; ISO 320; 300mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography
Noise is the generally grainy look found in digital images which sometimes manifests itself as spots of colour which should not be in the image, usually the result of low light photography using very high ISO settings. Noise seldom enhances a photograph and in some cameras noise reduction technology may be used to reduce this problem. Later model digital cameras seem to work well at higher ISO settings, with inbuilt noise elimination.

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

– Ansel Adams