Mar 28, 2013

Vegetation Contemplation

One of the great things about being on safari, especially in Southern Africa, is the ever present anticipation of what might be around this, or the next corner. Vegetation is a great way to suggest secrecy, danger and anticipation in your images. Photographically speaking, anticipation continues to play a part when in the presence of an animal/bird/insect etc. There are a number of writings on 'knowing the animal', 'knowing its habits', and being patient, but whilst this is good practice, it is not the whole picture.
Just as photographer's anticipate the light, the look, the movement in countless other situations and reap the results, the action, the yawn, the glace etc this shouldn't stop when sitting with an animal in less than ideal circumstances. Full frame head shots of the cats are great but sometimes they're not lolling about in yellow light with waves of green grass billowing in the background. They're asleep with their feet in the air and their eyes blanketed by grass. In building a portfolio, especially a wildlife one, I believe you should never stop seeking the image. There is always one there. The (ideal) image that you have in your head may not present itself, so why only have one at a time in your head? Have a library of potential images to 'collect'. Lions in long grass? Great! Create some of that anticipation you felt as you moved into the area where they were last seen the day before yesterday and then saw their tracks on the road from the night before.

Canon EOS 7D, 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6 at 350mm. f/5.6 at 1/180th second, ISO 800

And whats with these African Buffalo that have such a bad reputation? (Well if you shoot holes into things can you expect some animosity right?) They're known to ambush hunter's following up on their blood spoor (With a few bullet holes in me, I would also look to fixing them - properly too!) Why not use the vegetation to imply some of that danger and pause. You know, just before the buffalo bursts through the bushes, a red glint in its eye, anger in its heart and revenge on its mind? Or some such similar nonsense... .

Canon EOS 7D, 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6 at 210mm. f/5.6 at 1/500th second, ISO 800

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