Waterbuck Flight

waterbuck-flight_2016_10_15_3101Being among the rich wildlife of Mana Pools is ever rewarding. Just something simple, like Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) in flight, with their shaggy coats, often presents an opportunity. These three Waterbuck seem to have been spooked by something, which was never identified. They are not very fast on the hoof, in fact some describe them as donkey like. They are no match for the more common predators of Mana Pools, such as Wild Dog and Lions.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/1500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 320; 340mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography

Depth of Field is the zone of acceptable sharpness in an image controlled by the aperture of the camera and being dependent upon focal length and focusing distance. The tighter the lens aperture the longer the depth of field in an image. Aperture is measured in f/stops and the lower the f/stop the less the depth of field.

“What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? ”

– W. Eugene Smith

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The King

King_2015_08_23_9061A lion (Panthera leo – Shona: shumba; Ndebele: isilwane) pauses for the moment in the early morning sun. Seemingly, this lion, and the pride accompanying it, were not too successful in the hunt during the night and they were still looking for potential. The pride moved into a near-by thicket where they laid up for the day. This male was under threat from an incursion by other males into its domain, so food was not the only thing on its mind. Males are more successful in reproduction when operating in coalitions of normally two, sometimes three males, but their careers are brief with pride tenure lasting as little as two years. Their prime age for tenure is between 5 and 9 years and those beyond that rarely contribute to the gene pool.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III / EF100-400mm IL II USM; 1/400 sec; f/8; ISO 500; 349mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Photography Quotes

The German born Helmet Newton acquired his passion for photography and his first camera as a youngster in Berlin, which city he was eventually force to flee due to his Jewish ancestry. He ended up in Singapore working for the Straits Times as a portrait photographer, but was interned by the British and sent to Australia. Here he obtained British citizenship and after the war, set up a studio in fashionable Flinders Lane in Melbourne, and established himself as a fashion photographer eventually going into partnership with Henry Talbot. Newton later went on to live in London and later Paris working for leading fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, by which time he was venturing into glamour, nude and sometimes erotic photography. He is attributed with this quotation:

“Some people’s photography is an art. Not mine. Art is a dirty word in photography. All this fine art crap is killing it already.”

Privacy Rights and Photography

If you struggle reading white on black…go here…

France has very strict privacy laws, so much so that it is actually an infringement of ones rights to publish or commercialise an image of a person without his authority. This may not be the general trend in Europe (where there are contradictions between human rights to privacy and rights to expression) and certainly the laws pertaining in the United Kingdom are at best rather vague on the point. In Zimbabwe, there is hardly any restriction and what you capture on camera may be published.

One only has to review Zimbabwe’s chronicles of unlawful arrest and detention of photographers to understand that discretion is the better part of valour in certain circumstances. The law, as it stands, does not deny the photographer to take any image of any subject in any public place. Restrictions may be imposed upon photographers taking photographs in private places, by the owners of those places; and the State has legislation in place in terms of the Defence Act, Electoral Regulations, the Official Secrets Act, Prisons Act, and Protected Places and Areas Act, amongst others.

Zimbabwe’s Access to Information and Privacy law are mute on the point of privacy rights outside those restrictions on disseminating information by a “public body”, as clearly defined and scheduled in the Act. This legislation was introduced, principally, to control the local and international media, rather than protect the privacy rights of people. However, reading between the lines of that legislation, there are snippets of moral consideration for the taking.

Queuing_Monochrome

In this context the onus is upon individual photographers to police themselves, although there has been no attempt to introduce any code in Zimbabwe as such. Here we are at the mercy of standards of society and good old common sense. If we draw from the legislation we can see that in certain circumstances it is illegal for a public body (and a breach of journalistic privilege) to publish material which impairs one’s dignity, invades his or her privacy, injurious to reputation or amounts to criminal insult.

We do not need to revert to legislation for moral judgement. Taking images of scantily clad children is not criminal, but publishing them, even if not compromising, is perhaps very much against the grain of our moral obligation. Our moral perspective should be that of never seeking to impair the rights of others and protecting those who cannot protect themselves, but within reason. No harm is done by politely seeking authority from your subject and where possible using ‘model release’ to prevent future dispute.

To those who would rush at you demanding you respect their privacy, it should be understood that the act of taking a photograph is no violation, it’s the publishing which does the damage, if at all. Clearly, this leads the photographer into unnecessary conflict with the self-opinionated few, and withdrawal may be prudent. The photographer risks committing a criminal breach of the peace in defending himself and his rights; accused of being a journalist (which is a controlled profession); or may cross the boundaries of harassment by pursuing the take. That is where most photographers fall foul of the law.

Photographers need to adopt their own moral codes but must know their rights, and the rights of others, within the communities they work. They should also understand the techniques of tactical withdrawal in privacy sensitive and hostile communities. Be polite and co-operative, the image is never worth the hassle or loss of freedom.

Wild Dogs Alerted

Wild Dog Alerted_2013_06_04_9674_768x474px

This small part of a pack of Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) were set on alert by a lioness passing through the area, roaring occasionally in search of her family. The dogs were placed on the defensive and stood their ground in a clear formation to ward off the threat. In fact, lions do not pose a serious menace to these dogs and perhaps the only scourge to their well being is the Hyena. Hyenas have been known to tag on to the hunt and at the appropriate moment rush in to steal the kill.
(Canon EOS 7D; f/8; 1/250sec; ISO-800; 100mm)

Picture ©2013 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
If you are using a tripod or any other support for your camera, then invest in a cable or remote shutter release. For sharper images, with the elimination of camera shake, a cable release is a must have. They become essential in low light photography (at the start or close of your golden hour), which requires longer exposures. Aside from pin-sharp images there is another advantage, and this is being able to remove your eye from the viewer and observe/enjoy more of the scene you are capturing. Clearly, they are not suitable for off tripod use.

Andrew Talks Photography: White Balance

If you struggle reading white on black…go here…

Colour is probably the single most important aspect of taking any image which you intend to publish in some form or other; be this on a website, or perhaps as a photograph to hang on the wall, or to print in a magazine or book. Even monochrome images require balance between the white and black constituents of the image. By all accounts, colour is a very technical subject and there are several aspects to colour management that the photographer should be aware of, the three principle ones being white balance, temperature and colour space. This article deals simply with what has become known as ‘white balance’.

White balance is basically the control of colour casts from a light source. The light source is known to have warmth or coolness and generally ranges from reds to blue (just think rainbow spectrum here, red-violet, if this will help). Thus an item or a subject which appears white to the eye in real life should appear equally as white in a digital image. Frequently it does not if the white balance is incorrect.

To take an extreme, if one was to take an image in a room with a single red light, it can be presumed that the subject, say a white piece of paper, would end up with a reddish tinge or cast. In those circumstances that would be perfectly acceptable, probably leading to a little creativity too, but what of shooting in say fluorescent light which tends to provide a blue to greenish cast on the subject. Tungsten, or incandescent, light offers a yellow cast. These would be an unnatural colour cast.

Digital cameras provide a solution to this to enable one to adjust the white balance depending on the environmental light colour or temperature. Thus there are general settings on most digital cameras to cater for bright sunlight, shade (which gives a blue cast), fluorescent light, tungsten light and even flash. Most modern DSLRs allow an ‘Auto-WB’ function which self adjusts depending on the environmental light. So when you commence a photo session, just check your camera’s white balance settings.

Many photographers work with their cameras set to Auto-WB. This is a safe bet for most, but one always takes the chance to experiment with the other settings. Wild life photographer love the early morning and later afternoon light, when reds and oranges are at play, often called golden light because it provides such great creative mood.

There is no compensating white balance here… absolutely not. But there are several hours in the day outside those golden hours, and during these times consider experimenting with setting the white balance to the ‘shade’ setting. This has a tendency to warm the image a little, and gives you a little more golden light. Some landscape photographers use the same technique.