Archive for the Photo of the Day Category

Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop A Fresh Start

Posted in Photo of the Day, Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2011 by photoafrica

Hi everybody!

With a lot of very exciting developments in the pipeline at both Bush Warriors and Photo-Africa things have been hectically busy but it is good to be back!

One of the new, and very exciting, new parts of Photo-Africa is a weekly video chat where we look at wildlife photography and pretty much anything to do with this wonderful past time.

These videos are a great way to keep widening our online community and includes:

  • Wildlife photography tips
  • Lightroom Tutorials
  • Discussion on photography
  • Random thoughts related to wildlife and photography

I am very happy to say that after chatting with Dori, we will be sharing the Weekly Chats, which are posted every Friday, on the Bush Warriors website.

I look forward to hearing from you so please feel free to contact me with any questions or thoughts you might have on wildlife photography.
Below is the latest chat, divided into two parts, and then a list of all the previous chats we have done!
Hope you enjoy.
These chats are a great way to share information and in future we will be including a conservation section as well.
If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me!
If you have any interesting wildlife or nature conservation links please feel free to send them through so that we can share them
Gerry van der Walt
Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop
is brought to you  by:

Bush Warriors Photography & iLCP: Celebrating the International Year of Forests with Amy Gulick

Posted in iLCP: Bringin Conservation Into Focus, Photo of the Day, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by ilcpcommunications

Being a conservation photographer is more than just tripping the camera shutter. The real work begins after the pictures are made. What defines an iLCP photographer is a commitment to using powerful images for conservation. A shining example of this commitment is iLCP Fellow Amy Gulick. She takes the time to step out from behind the camera and put her images in front of those who can make a difference.

2011 is the International Year of Forests as designated by the U.N. General Assembly — perfect timing to showcase Amy’s work on the Tongass National Forest of Alaska and call attention to one of the most magnificent forests on Earth.

Continue reading

Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop: Don’t Be Afraid to Push Your ISO

Posted in Photo of the Day, Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by photoafrica

Hi everybody,

I’m back from an absolutely amazing trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  The Kgalagadi is an arid park situated in the northwestern parts of South Africa and extends into both Botswana and Namibia.  There is a lot of space, sand, and silence, and makes for one of the most special and unique wildlife and nature destinations I have ever visited.  One thing that makes it special is the fact that there is no cellular signal or internet, which is why I could not do a post last week.  Hey, we all need a break every now and then.  This is where we stayed.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Beautiful hey?  Anyway, I’m back and apart from a huge amount of new images I also had a lot of time to think about and reassess my own way of approaching wildlife photography.  You see, too many if us fall into a rut and keep on producing the same type of images again and again.  Others of us get so caught up in the technical side of the craft that we end up producing technically superb, but cold and lifeless images.  In the coming week, we will be looking at many of these pitfalls and how you can make sure you keep on growing as a wildlife photographer, but for today I wanted to have a look at ISO.

ISO, as you know, refers to your cameras light gathering ability.  A low ISO, such as 200, means that your camera is not as sensitive to light and you need good, strong light on your subject to create quality images.  This is where a lot of people get stuck, but more on that in a second.  A high ISO, such as 1600, means that your camera is a lot more sensitive to light and that you can shoot in lower light conditions but then there is an increase in digital noise, or grain, in your images.

For quite some time, many people have avoided shooting at high ISO settings like the plague!  The thought of having even a small amount of noise in your image is just completely unacceptable!  Or is it?

With higher ISO settings comes faster shutter speed.  This is because the higher ISO allows the camera’s sensor to capture a lot more light.  A faster shutter speed, in wildlife photography, means you freeze more of the movement and you get sharper images.

I know of too many photographers that always use the lowest possible ISO settings and then have to use very challenging shutter speeds to try and freeze the action.  Why?  Rather push the ISO up a bit and use a faster shutter speed.  The noise reduction of programs like Lightroom is so advanced these days that you could easily fix things up afterwards.  Worst case scenario: you have a slightly noisy, grainy image. In the old days, it was a part of what we did!

I always used try and keep my ISO as low as possible and never wanted to go above 200, but this I have changed.  Here is a breakdown of my ISO setting from the two cameras I used on the Kgalagadi trip.

Gerry - ISO Details

You can see that a lot of my images were taken at around ISO 500.  Also, depending on the camera, I sometimes went as high as ISO 1600.  This is one of the images I shot at a high ISO.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The early morning light on the Black-Backed Jackal was amazing, but not strong enough for me to use a low ISO setting.  I pushed my ISO up to 1600, which then gave me a fast enough shutter speed—in this case 1/200—to get a nice, crisp image.

The following image was also taken at ISO 1600 and was where the little jackal above was heading to.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Awesome, early morning sightings and if I was stuck on never using high ISO settings, I would not have gotten the images.  Even zoomed in to 100% the noise levels are acceptable and with a bit of love in Lightroom, I was able to get the image perfectly crisp, sharp and virtually noise free.

The following image was taken at an ISO of 800, as the overcast light was nice and soft but not too bright.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The juvenile Gabar Goshawk was trying to get a little warm spot and hide from the weather.  I was able to get a great, crisp image of him even with the soft light.

The last exmaple, below, was shot at ISO 500.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Flat on my stomach, I spent an entire morning photographing the ground squirrels at one of the camps we stayed at.  I decided on an ISO of 500 as they kept on moving into and out of the shade.  In the shade, the ISO helped me to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action and in the light I was still quite happy with the ISO.  If I were to keep on changing up and down I would have missed some of the shots!

So, I guess the bottom line is… don’t be afraid to push your ISO.  Yeah, yeah, some cameras deal with high ISO better than others, but rather get the shot and deal with a bot of noise rather than miss it completely!

Get out there this weekend, push your ISO and challenge the fading light.  This is, after all, the time when wildlife seems to be at its most active!  When you are all done, make sure to upload some of your images to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest to share with all of us. 🙂

If you are keen on some more images from the Kgalagadi, I will be posting some of them to the Photo-Africa blog by the end of the day.

Keep shooting and I’ll see you next week.

Gerry van der Walt

Gerry van der Walt

Bookmark    and Share

Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“What the Sifaka is THAT?!”

Photo credit: Andy Kammer

 

Sifakas are a one of the many varieties of lemur that are found on the island of Madagascar.  The word “lemur” comes from the Latin word lemurs, referring to ghosts and spirits.  Their staring eyes, haunting calls, and nocturnal nature led early observers to think these primates were ghosts or forest spirits.   Unlike most lemurs, Sifakas remain upright and leap from tree to tree, using their powerful hind legs to clear distances of over 30 feet (nine meters).  Sifakas can also cover open ground remarkably fast by sashaying, or leaping, on their hind limbs.  This movement is often referred to as “dancing.”

There are several species and subspecies of sifaka.  Of the most endangered are the Silky Sifaka and the Perrier’s Sifaka, which are both deemed ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List.  Sadly, both species have fewer than 250 individuals.  Five other sifaka species (Coquerel’s, Crowned, Diademed, Milne-Edward’s, and the Golden-Crowned)are listed as ‘endangered’.  Madagascar is undergoing extensive deforestation and habitat loss, which, along with poaching, are the primary threats to the nation’s lemurs.

 

Enjoy this video of some Sifakas “dancing” across their habitat:

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

Bookmark    and Share

Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“The Night Stalker”

Photo credit: Gorazd Golob

 

The eyes of the lion are larger than comparable-sized animals.  Their round pupils seek out prey across the savannah.  Lions hunt primarily in the early evening, dawn, or at night with eyes that are well adapted for use in low light.  Lions (and all cats) have a high concentration of sensitive cells in the eye, called ‘rods’,  which increase their ability to see in the dark by absorbing as much light as possible.  A structured layer of tissue at the back of the eye, called the ‘tapetum lucidum’, reflects the light back onto the retina, utilizing whatever small amount of light available and giving cats (and other animals) increased night vision.  The tapetum lucidum also gives animals the reflective “glow” that you see when you shine a light on them in the dark.

Even on dark nights with no moon, lions see well enough to hunt.  When prey is sighted, the lions will sink down into cover and begin to stalk.  Hiding among the tall grass, the lions will freeze and remain motionless when necessary.  Visual cues are used to communicate with other pride members in the hunt, such as a small flick of the tail or a rustle in the grass. They then charge their prey, usually within a distance of ten meters, as they cannot run fast for long distances.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

Bookmark    and Share

Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Going in for the Kill”

Photo credit: Peter Thomas

  

This photo wonderfully conveys how handsome and powerful this bird of prey is.  With wings spread, the Lanner Falcon’s creamy-white throat and underside give excellent contrast to its dark striping.  This bird exhibits considerable variation throughout its range in body size, coloration and degree of spotting and barring.  These falcons typically hunt by horizontal pursuit and takes bird prey in flight. Their large tails provide a maneuverability that allows them to take a variety of small birds as prey.

There are five known subspecies of Lanner Falcon today, found across Africa, the Middle East, and central and eastern  areas of Mediterranean Europe.  While the species as a whole has been assessed as being ‘lower risk’ by the IUCN, the European subspecies (Falco biarmicus feldeggii)  is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the European Red Book.  This subspecies underwent a significant decline between 1970 and 1990 and, today, likely fewer than 480 breeding pairs of remain.

While the species is common and widespread, with the exception in Europe, this falcon is often shot and unintentionally poisoned by tainted carcasses set out for predators thought to be preying on livestock.  Lanner Falcons’ eggs and chicks are sometimes illegally collected from the wild for falconry.  This raptor is also threatened by continued habitat loss and use of pesticides that are believed to alter their breeding success and  the availability of prey species.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

Bookmark    and Share

Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Peace and Tranquility”

Photo credit: Fred von Winckelmann

 

Painted Dogs (also called African Wild Dogs) are the second rarest canid in Africa, after Ethiopian Wolves.  Fifty years ago, these beautiful predators could be found in 39 countries south of the Sahara desert. Today, they are found in only 19, and are considered ‘endangered‘ by the IUCN.  Their populations have suffered an extensive and rapid decline due mainly to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as conflict with and persecution from humans.  For quite some time, many who share the land with these animals have viewed them as vicious, vile, livestock-killing mongrels.  As a result, many have been shot, trapped, and poisoned.  Zimbabwe-based NGO, Painted Dog Conservation, has made significant efforts to save this species from extinction and has been very successful in changing perceptions of these fascinating creatures.

Historically, packs of over 100 could be seen in the savannah, but the reduction in their range and numbers has resulted in smaller pack sizes averaging between five and twenty individuals.   African wild dogs differ from their canid relatives in that they have four toes on each of their front feet instead of five.  Their long legs and lanky body aid them in speed and endurance.  They have large round ears that help to keep them cool and provide excellent hearing. Their coat is adorned with splashes of black, white, and varying shades of brown, hence the name ‘Painted Dog’.  Each dog’s markings are unique, helping researchers differentiate between individuals.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

Bookmark    and Share