Sunday, July 29th, 2012 at 10:58 am
Caption: Male waterbuck portrait showing the long, heavily-ridged horns, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM telephoto lens; Focal length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/1250; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400
Author Robert Ruark once described the male waterbuck as “ruggedly handsome” and the waterbuck portrait above gives credence to this view.
Only the males carry the long, heavily-ridged horns. They curve gracefully back and then slightly forward near the tips (below).
Here are quick facts about the waterbuck:
Scientific name: Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Shoulder height: 1,3 m
Weight: 250 – 270 kg
Gestation period: 280 days
Life expectancy: 15 years
See also safari guide Roddy Smith’s article, The Ruggedly Handsome Waterbuck, for more.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 11:36 am
Caption: Two pretty waterbuck females blend subtly with the muted winter colors in the background, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM telephoto zoom; Focal length: 260mm; Shutter speed: 1/250; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO 400
On a visit to the Kruger Park earlier this month, I was surprised by the number of waterbuck and kudu we saw. One expects to see big numbers of impala, but the numerous sightings of these larger antelope, both small herds and individuals, was a definite bonus.
I’ll be adding more photos of these attractive antelope (waterbuck and kudu) in the next few posts.
Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Caption: Young impala ram running at full speed through winter vegetation, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM; Focal length: 70mm; Aperture: f/8; Shutter speed: 1/25; ISO 100.
I shot this photograph at a slow shutter speed (1/25 sec) while panning the camera to get a motion blur effect.
On my Canon 50D, I have one of the “Custom” settings configured for this type of photography so I don’t have to change a bunch of settings when I suddenly see something that lends itself to motion blur.
My C1 button is configured like this:
Mode: Shutter-priority (TV)
Shutter speed: 1/25
Focus: AI Servo
Drive Mode: High speed continuous
White balance: Auto
I set the ISO as low as possible rather than the 400 ISO I use for most my wildlife photography. If I used 400, in bright light the slow shutter speed would need a tiny aperture, quite possibly beyond what the lens provides.
The above photo was shot in overcast conditions which meant the light was pleasantly soft and the aperture necessary for correct exposure at 1/25 was only f/8. This is a bonus, as very small apertures show up any dirt or debris on the sensor. The soft light also means the image colors are fairly muted and less harsh than would have been the case in very bright light.
For more images and information about panning and motion blur, see Wildlife Photos, Motion Blur Effect
Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 11:42 pm
Caption: Male Klipspringer standing on rocky outcrop early in the morning, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Shutter speed: 1/640; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 800; Exposure compensation: +1.7 EV
The above photo is a classic example of the camera’s light meter being fooled by background light. When I exposed normally, the klipspringer became a silhouette. I tried a number of exposures, using the camera’s exposure compensation dial. In this case, I over-exposed (according to the meter) by 1.7 stops in order to show detail in the main subject and the rocks.
This meant the sky was over-exposed, but that’s fine. Even though I was using a 400mm lens, the klipspringer only filled part of the frame, so the picture has been cropped. This means there was more sky in the background, which no doubt influenced the extent by which the meter originally under-exposed the subject.
See this post about Klipspringers in our previous blog to find out more about these small, amazingly agile antelope.
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 11:24 pm
Caption: Eland (Tragelaphus oryx)) stirs up dust as it walks across the parched earth in early morning light, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/1600; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400
We visited Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve earlier this month. I was shocked that it was already so dry and denuded of grass.
End of May/June is early winter in Southern Africa. It usually only rains again around October or November in Tuli, meaning a long, hard winter ahead for the animals.
The bulk grazers like wildebeest and zebra have already moved elsewhere in search of grass, as have the large herds of eland. Although we still saw plenty of impala, giraffe, and elephant herds, plus predators like lion, leopard and cheetah, one has to wonder how they’ll survive the next five to six months.
See our previous post, Eland Bull, for more about this antelope, the largest in Africa.