Archive for photo contest

Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop: Hope for the Future!

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by photoafrica

Only two weeks left in 2010!  It really is amazing how quickly time goes by.

With this, the last photography post for the year, I wanted to look back at the past year and also start looking ahead to 2011.  This year saw the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day grow in leaps and bounds and it has been amazing to follow along and see all the images that people have uploaded.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

Apart from the obvious visual beauty of the wildlife and nature image there is a larger issue that we need to be aware of and, if at all possible, hold on to and grow even more in future.

Every time anybody shares an image of animals in the wild they are creating an awareness.

Every time anybody shares an image of a natural landscape they are showcasing the beauty of our natural world.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

The reality is, and this is looking past the atrocious rhino massacre we have seen during the last year, that the animals and places we photograph and share might not be there for ever.  Human greed is unfortunately destroying our natural heritage and, if we do not do anything about it, the only thing we will have left one day are the images of a lost world.  A place we used to visit.

Now, go and take a look at some of the images that have been uploaded to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day contest.  These images show the natural world we all love.  It shows that there are many, many people out there that care enough about nature that they create images of its subjects and landscapes.  These images, and all the other ones we share in books, magazines, and on the internet will stand the test of time!

Image © Gerry van der Walt

So, looking back at 2010 I would like to applaud all of you who have taken the time to not only photograph nature but, and this is almost more important, share those images.  After all, why create photographs if you are not going to share them with people.  Whether you intend it or not, you are helping to create a visual celebration of the fragile beauty that is nature.

Since we are almost at the end of the year, and most of you are on holiday, here is a list of wildlife photographers who share their work on a regular basis and serve as amazing ambassadors for wildlife photography.  Check out their work for inspiration or just to marvel at the beauty of nature!

Andy Biggs
David Lloyd
Etienne Oosthuizen
Grant Marcus
Greg du Toit
Morkel Erasmus
Shem Compion
Wynand van Wyk

Image © Gerry van der Walt

What does next year hold for wildlife photogrpahy?

Who knows. What we can be sure of that many people, like the photographers mentioned above, will keep on pushing the boundaries.  They will keep on producing images that inspire and make us all want to grab our cameras and head out into the wild places of the world.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

I also believe that photographic safaris will keep on growing in popularity.  These safaris give you the opportunity to, not only shoot alongside a professional wildlife photographer, but to go to the most amazing destinations, while being presented with the best photo opportunities anywhere.  To that end, next year will see a few interesting partnerships take place so make sure to watch this space!  What?  Did someone say Bush Warriors Photo Safaris?  Like I said, watch this space!

Image © Gerry van der Walt

On that note I am going to say goodbye and wish you all the very best for the holidays!

This festive season I wish you the tenderness of the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future!

See you all in 2011 and rememeber to keep those shutters clicking!

Gerry van der Walt

Click here to see ALL of our Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshops!

Photo-Africa

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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!

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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!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Cheeeeeeeeeese!”

Photo credit: Antoni Emchowicz

 

This photo shows fantastic clarity!  You can even see the ampullae of Lorenzini on the shark’s snout!  The ampullae of Lorenzini are small electroreceptors that are part of a sensory network that lies right beneath the shark’s skin.  To the naked eye they appear as small dark spots or pores around the head.  This sixth sense detects minute magnetic fields in the water.  How is this an advantage to a predator? Well, living creatures create small electrical pulses (called “potentials”) that are generated by muscle contractions.  Even when lying still there is a muscle hard at work in every body- the heart!  Sharks can sense the electricity generated by a beating heart to help locate prey whether they are buried in the sand or hiding in a kelp forest.  Our earth also has its own magnetic field, which we use to find the directional points of a compass (North, South, East, West).  Researchers hypothesize that sharks use the earth’s field to navigate the ocean the same way, using their sixth sense as an ‘internal compass.’  The ampullae also has a gel-like substance that gives the pores properties, similar to a semiconductor.  Scientist believe the ampullae can translate temperature changes into electrical information, allowing the shark to detect temperature gradients in the water.

 

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!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by Rashell Hallford

 

“Out of the Grass, Into the Stripes”

Photo credit: Shazaad Kasmani

 

While most know that zebras’ stripes serve as camouflage for protection from predators (when grouped together, their stripes make it hard for a predator to see just a single individual), there remains the conundrum of: Is it a black coat with white stripes, or a white coat with black stripes?  Zebras are usually perceived as having white coats with black stripes because the general observation is that the stripes end on their bellies and legs, with the rest of the body white.  If you take a look closer, zebras actually have black skin underneath their coats.  So what it really comes down to is: are you a “the coat is half black” or a “the coat is half white” person?

This unique coat has made the zebra a target of poachers for a very long time. This, in conjunction with habitat loss and competition with livestock for resources, have been major threats to zebras throughout Africa.  Particularly hard-hit, have been Grevy’s Zebras (listed as ‘endangered’) and Mountain Zebras (listed as ‘vulnerable’).  The Quagga was a subspecies of the Plains Zebra that was once found abundantly in South Africa’s Cape Province.  Unfortunately, overhunting drove the Quagga to extinction more than a century ago.  The last known true Quagga died in the Amsterdam Zoo in 1883.

 

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!

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Wildlife Photography Workshop: Slow It Down

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by photoafrica

If you follow my blog, you will have seen this image.

Motion Blur Zebra © Gerry van der Walt

(Nikon D300, Nikon 80-400 @ 320mm, 1/5 sec, f/11, ISO 320)

I have had quite a few requests, from people wanting to try this techinque, asking… How?

So here goes…

First off, in order to get a sharp image you need to make sure that your shutter speed is as least 1/your focal length.  This means that at  focal length (zoom) of 50mm you should have a shutter speed of at least 1/50 sec and at a focal length of 200 you should have a shutter speed of at least 1/200 sec.

Got it?  Good.

Now in order to create motion blur images, like the one above, you need to break that rule and select a shutter speed that is way slower than you would normally use.  As a guideline, you can start with a shutter speed of 1/10 and then slow it down from there if necessary.

With shots like this, your aperture is not important as your background, which will normally be affected by the aperture, is going to be blurred anyway.

Now, once you have your slow shutter speed you are ready to start.  The idea, and ultimate goal, is to focus on your moving subject, click the shutter and follow along with their movement.  Objects moving from one side to the other in front of you will give you the best results.

To get the image above I had to give it a few goes, as I never quite got the zebra’s head sharp.  By doing this you will give your viewer a starting point in the image, as our eyes will always start on the sharpest point, and then the motion blur will tell the story of your moving subject.

The slower your shutter speed the more dramatic your background will be but the more difficult it is to get the subject’s head (and shoulders) in focus.

Go and give it a bash this weekend!  Motion blur images are great fun and will add a whole new dimension to your low light photography.  Then, when you are done, add a few of then to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day site to share with all of us!

If you have any questions please leave a comment on this post and I will get back to you!

See you next week!

Gerry van der Walt

Photo-Africa

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“After the Rains, There is Beauty”

Photo credit: Jill Vickerman

 

The Angulate Tortoise, like the one in Jill’s photo, is named after the black triangles on the marginal scutes. It is native to South Africa and can also be found in a small area inside Namibia.  Without proper permits, it is illegal to capture Angulate Tortoises in the wild to keep as pets in both South Africa and Namibia because all tortoises in both of these countries are protected species. While not endangered, the Angulate Tortoise could suffer future declines if populations and habitat are not closely monitored.

 Tortoises, especially those that are small and young, are often victims of the black market pet trade. Earlier this year, biologists and conservationists announced that Radiated Tortoises (similar to Angulates in that they also have beautiful markings on their shells) are being collected for use in the illegal pet trade to such an extreme that they are now dangerously close to extinction.  Yet, only a decade ago their populations were considered stable!  Certain pet expos are notorious for having exotic animals (especially tortoises) available for sale, regardless of their population status in the wild.

 

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!

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Wildlife Photography Workshop: Show the Beauty

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2010 by photoafrica

If you look around bookstores and the internet, you are bound to find quite a bit of black and white wildlife photography.

It’s easy to see why.

By removing color from an image, especially with a wild subject, we cut through all the emotion and distractions.  You see a world of textures and shapes.  You see the real subject.

Black and white photography also brings with it a sense of the past.  A sense of nostalgia.  It reminds us of a bygone era or, if things keep going like it is, a species that we used to see in the wild places of Africa.

Black Rhino © Gerry van der Walt

As of 14 November 2010, 285 of these amazing animals have been poached in South Africa this year.

That means that one rhino gets killed every 27.5 hours.

One rhino… every 27.5 hours!

White Rhino © Gerry van der Walt

As wildlife photographers, I feel it is our duty and privilege to photograph these amazing animals, not only to show the beauty of these ancient-looking members of Africa’s Big 5, but also to raise awareness.  We must show the beauty that is being destroyed all around us.  Our images might soon be all that is left of an amazing animal.

For me, black and white images show the real subject and brings emotion.  It shows what we have now.  Let’s try, and hope, that we can keep it that way.

White Rhino © Gerry van der Walt

If you have any images of rhino why not share them on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day facebook page.

Let’s show the beauty of the animal, the beauty of nature.  Let’s show the fragile nature of an animal we will hopefully see in the wild places of Africa for a long time to come!

Yeah, not our normal wildlife photography post but I have just returned to the Madikwe Game Reserve where I manage a lodge and the reality of the rhino poaching hits home hard after being away for a few weeks.

Share your images.  Show the beauty!

I’ll be back next week with a, hopefully, more upbeat post!

Gerry van der Walt

Photo-Africa

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Zebralicious”

Photo credit: Nick Turner

 

Zebra foals are born with brown and white coloration, and develop the black and white coloring with age.  For the first few days of their life, the mother will keep her foal away from the rest of the herd, until it learns her smell and voice.  Zebra foals are able to run within an hour of birth!
These horse relatives might appear to have fat abdomens.  In truth, it is bloating caused by the bacteria in their gut, which helps them to digest food.  Fat is stored in the animals neck, which enables scientists to determine the health of the zebra quickly.  Healthy animals will have a thick layer of fat around the neck, causing their mane of hair to stand upright.

 

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!

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Wildlife Photography Workshop: Go Wide

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by photoafrica

What piece of photo equipment do you think of when someone mentions wildlife photography?

Yeah, a weapon sized telephoto zoom lens.

If you own one of theses lenses, with a focal length of more than 300mm, you will know that you can create some amazing wildlife images  by bringing your subject closer but, and this is a very big but, it can make you lazy.

The reality is that with a big zoom lens composing your images can be a lot easier because it  becomes easy to remove distracting elements of your images.  Look at the example below.

Image by Gerry van der Walt - Springbok

By using a focal length of 500mm I was able to get nice and ‘close’ to the Springbok and remove an distracting elements.  There is no doubt as to what I want my viewer to look at.

This is all fine and well but to really tell a story with your images you need to put your subject in it’s natural environment by using a wider angle.  The image below was taken a little earlier when the Springbok was looking for some shade under the lonely tree.

Image by Gerry van der Walt - Springbok

Also a great image but it shows a lot more of the environment.

The bottom line?

Falling into a run and always using the same lens will not help you improve as a photographer.  You need to keep mixing things up to keep growing and getting better!

Don’t be lazy.  Don’t always zoom in and use your big lenses.

Grab that wide angle lens, include the landscape and environment in your images and create different wildlife images.

When you next head out in to the field try different things.  Try different compositions.  Keep on looking for different angles and then upload your results to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest.

See you next week.

Gerry van der Walt

Photo-Africa

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