Kudu on Termite Mound

Kudu on Anthill_2016_10_15_3267A Kudu antelope cow (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) standing atop an termite mound is quite a common observation in Mana Pools. There is little reference as to why this antelope is attracted to these raised elevations and one can only guess this is either anti-predatory or the mount is a source of minerals and salts.
Population Trend : Stable; Threat: Least ConcernSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III/ EF100-400 IS USM; 1/350 sec; f/5.6; ISO 1000; 400mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Photography Terms
White Balance is sets the colour temperature of the scene being taken so that it takes on a normal appearance to the human eye. White balance can be adjusted to warm and cool images, and is often done post-shooting with editing software. Colour temperature is expressed in Kelvins

“Black and white can show how something is. Colour adds how it is, imbued with temperatures and humidities of experience.”

– Peter Schjeldahl

This image, and others of your selection, can be acquired from the author printed on fine art canvas of photographic paper for wall mounting.
Please be encouraged to click on the ‘Comments’ link below and rate the photograph 1 to 5 stars. This feedback is invaluable to the photographer. If you are feeling awfully kind you could Tweet it or share the link too!

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


Solitary Moments

Solitary_2015_08_23_8656 copy

Happiness is sometimes a few solitary moments, mid-morning, basking in the sun. This small baboon (Papio cynocephalus ursinus), seated atop a white ant mount up against a sturdy tree, seems to have enjoyed the moments before being disturbed. The baboon is normally a gregarious little beast.
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/80 sec; f/10; ISO 320; 400mm)

Picture ©2015 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

A-Z of Photography
White Balance is achieved through a process in which a digital camera analyses the scene to determine unrealistic colour casts in the frame, using pure whites in the scene as a reference. This process ensures pure whites and other colours are recorded correctly by calibration of colour balances in an attempt to record colour accurately. The photographer can set the white balance to suit the colour temperature falling on the subject. Most cameras have auto white balances, but they are not fool proof, sometimes leaving a colour cast.

“What do I truly hate about DSLRs? Menus! Particularly menus that I need to consult for ISO settings and/or white balance. Buttons marked ISO and WB with direct access do me fine.”

– – Herbert Keppler – 2007

This image, and others of your selection, can be acquired from the author printed on fine art canvas of photographic paper for wall mounting.
Please be encouraged to click on the ‘Comments’ link below and rate the photograph 1 to 5 stars. This feedback is invaluable to the photographer. If you are feeling awfully kind you could Tweet it or share the link too!

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

Andrew Talks Photography: Colour Temperature

If you struggle reading white on black…go here…

A short while ago this blog touched on the subject of white balance. Another aspect to successful photography is having some knowledge about colour temperature, or the characteristics of available light. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, the environment in which you are taking photographs is not consistent in ambient temperature from area to area; or region to region; and, indeed, hour to hour. Colour temperature may change from a candle lit room to the bright outdoor light; from sunny day to overcast; from sunrise to noon: and this thermodynamic temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) units.

The origins of this lies with the physics of heat which suggests that when in when a hypothetical black body is heated it will radiate light across the spectrum as it hots up. Consider a metal being heated and moving through a process of becoming red hot, then yellow and, one presumes blue, before liquefaction. One may struggle with this, because what is happening in this process is a cooling of the colour as the heated body gets hotter. Thus the reds are considered warmer colours than blues.

Just to confuse one slightly more, digital camera colour temperature is not quite the same as pure colour temperature; it borrows from the principle, and considers only the range red to blue (green is missing). And this is not a recent development in photography. In the good old days of film photography one could acquire daylight balanced or say tungsten balanced films. These were all K rated according to where you intended doing your photography. Do not forget that light balancing filters and gels, used with flash attachments, are used to manipulate colour temperature, so this is nothing new.

Digital cameras use this same concept, but come with a versatile freedom; that is the ability to manipulate white balance to change colour temperature from one location to the next within minutes rather than being stuck with a whole roll of film in the wrong photo temperature zone. Thus, with digital photography, colour temperature is used interchangeably with white balance, which as you will recollect provides for the remapping of a camera’s colour values when considering the ambient colour temperature.

Now, how is this theory of any practical use to the photographer? Perhaps if we demonstrate a few physical values, which the wildlife photographic enthusiast should be familiar with, this will help. Give or take your latitude and prevailing weather conditions; ambient colour temperature approximates on the following scale:
• At sunset or sunrise: +/- 2,000K;
• one to two hours before sunset or after sunrise: +/- 3,500K;
• mid morning or afternoon it is probably in the region of +/- 4,300K; and
• at midday: +/- 5,800K (note: standard daylight is 5,200K, shade is 7,000K).

The more sophisticated digital cameras not only allow you to manipulate your camera’s white balance settings, but they also allow one to adjust the colour temperature more exactly (generally recommended for advanced users, but wide open for experimentation if you have a sense of adventure). Some cameras have an ‘Auto K’ feature too (equivalent to auto white balance AWB). Generally those who choose this route would be armed with a commercially available colour temperature meter, otherwise it is pure guesswork based on those averages outlined above, which rather suggests you stick to your white balance controls.

Now here comes the good bit: creativity. By working your camera’s colour temperature outside the average ambient light temperatures, one can create moods with the Kelvin scale settings, warming up images taken in cool ambient light or doing just the opposite. So the wildlife photographer may well utilise this to extend the golden hours from early morning and late afternoon into a larger part of the day, but not by much. Silhouetting at sunrise or sunset benefits from a boost in colour temperature and reddens the cast.

For most of us, simple camera white balance settings will suffice, and for those who are a little shy with technology or playing with your camera’s settings, one can adjust colour temperatures after the fact if you shoot in RAW. Most RAW converter software provides for this. Use the K setting technique in moderation and always remember to reset your camera to the standard 5,200K before packing your camera away.

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.