Bloemfontein Camera Club: Outcome – July 2014

Almost forgot to post the outcome of my camera club entry for the month of July 2014. And it is almost time to enter photos for the month of August. Maybe the late posting is because of the information I am sharing with you in the third and fourth paragraph of this post.

 

For the month of July submissions, I’ve decided to enter 2 of the three allowed photos in the Nature division and the other image in the Pictorial division. Our set subject section for the month was Altered reality. I had one photo ready for this section because I’ve tried to follow and use a tutorial I’ve received via my email. The second photo I’ve developed myself after thinking about it for a while.

 

And what a night of judging, scores and critique it was! Just remember – it is my opinion and I am sure it might differ from everybody else who attended the meeting. I do feel sorry for the newbies in the 1 and 2 star groups. But please do not be discouraged by the scores or comments from the judges. The scores and comments is just a reflection of their opinions. And the club is not the alpha and omega of photography (even though some people tend to think so). I would rather challenge each and every newbie in photography to come and attend the meetings AND LEARN from it. Not to take the scores and critique personally – you are not going to survive if you take it personal. Take the outcome of my three images this month for example – very disappointing to say the least. But I know it is the opinion of the specific judges of that evening. If it was three other judges, I am sure my scores would be different – maybe even worse. How do I cope with the critique and scores of the judges after an evening like this? By positive thinking e.g. I know I am better than the 2 silver and 1 gold awards I received this month – evidence thereof is the fact that I was #20 on the Photographic Society of America (PSA) worldwide list for the Nature division in 2013 and I have already 2 images published in the Getaway magazine for 2014. So let me try again next month and not letting the scores of the judges “get under my skin” . I’ll keep on doing what I like best – taking interesting photos that are technical correct and that people can enjoy looking at no matter what the scores of the judges are.

 

So, I dare you – come and experiment with your images at the camera club. Just remember – the camera club is not a place to receive complements but rather expect realistic (but sometime harsh) critique so that next time you can improve. If you want compliments on your photos – post in on the social media like Facebook and feel good about yourself. If you want real critique on your photos, submit it to your camera club and LEARN to improve in order to get the WOW factor in your images

 

Right, let see what happen during the month of July at our club with my photos.

 

A.   Nature category:

1.

Leopard reflection 1 1050 300k 72d sRGB W

Leopard reflection – scored the perfect 11/15 (just made into the gold award category (11-13/15))

Mala Mala Nature reserve, Greater kruger national Park, South Africa

Not very often that one gets the opportunity to capture such an image of a leopard reflection in water – not even taking into consideration the degree of difficulty to get a decent image in very low light conditions (but judges usually do not take such emotional aspects into consideration – so it is no use getting upset about it. Just learn to move on). No matter what the judges think – I like the story element of the image. Thanks to Greg du Toit and Roan Ravenhill from Mala Mala who anticipated the situation, put us in such a position to get the shot and waited for the leopard to come down to drink. Well done, guys and thanks again. .

__________________________________________

 

2.

BB Jackal surrendered 1

BB Jackal surrendered – scored a silver award (10/15)

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Also not sure why this image scored a silver award – it has already received 3 international salon acceptances and 1 national salon acceptance with only 1 non-acceptance in a national salon. Just remember, the judges are very critical when it comes to the technical aspects of an image and I think I see a few technical problems in this image. But like I said – everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion. Please judge for yourself.

__________________________________________

 

B.   Pictorial category:

 

1.

Concerend lioness BW 1024 300d 72d sRGB W

Concerned lioness – just made it into the silver category with a score of 8/15 (8-10/15 = silver award)

Mashatu Nature Reserve, Botswana

 WOW, I was expecting a silver award – maybe because of the cropping that was not ideal. And I am not really a monochrome guru. But the image almost did not even make into the silver award category at all. Interesting score but unfortunately no critique from the judges as they do not usual give critique on the photos of members in the higher star rating groups. But I am going to give it another try next month – I am not letting the judges damping my enthusiasm.

_________________________________________

 

C.   Set subject – altered reality

 

1.

The Look Alt real  1080 300k 72d sRGB W

Looking through paint – received a gold award (11/15)

No comment from my side – very satisfied with the scores as I was not expecting anything more than a bronze award because I was just an exercise/practice run following some tutorial on the Internet. Not everybody’s cup of tea – I am sure.

_______________________________________

2.

Star trail Richters Alt real 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

Road into star trial – received a gold award (12/15)

My own creation – very satisfied with the score. Nothing specially – I was just playing around with different layers.

_______________________________________

 

Message to take home:

 

I think I’ve said it all in the first few paragraphs of this post – please read it again and tell me what you think.

 

Until next month – do not let the judges get the better of you. Please go and support your camera/photo club and learn to become first a better person and secondly a better photographer.

 

1 Comment

Trip report: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, November 2013 (Animal edition)

To continue with the trip report to the Kgalagadi in November 2913. Now back to the animals of the Kgalagadi. This young lion entertained us at Kji Kji water hole by looking for the direction of his “take away café”.

 

Lion take away cafe

Lion take away café

(Nikon D800, 200-400mmf4 fixed lens @ 350mm, ISO3200, f8, 1/1000, exposure = 0, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 30 meters from lion)

_______________________________________

 

Pet 1 768 500k 300d sRGB

Pet 1

(Nikon D800, 200-400mmf4 fixed lens @ 350mm, ISO3200, f8, 1/1000, exposure = 0, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 30 meters from lion)

_______________________________________

 

While driving from Urikaruus to Kamqua water hole early one morning, we came across two adult lions walking in the river bed. So I decided to be a bit creative and capture this portrait image of one of the loins when he walked past my vehicle.

 

Lion stare  1050 300k 72d sRGB Y&R W

Lion portrait

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO640, f4, 1/5000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 8 meters from lion)

_______________________________________

 

At Kwang water hole one lion was mating with a lioness of the Kwang pride of lions next to Kwang water hole. Another interesting behaviour – a second lioness approached the water to have a drink but the lion did not like it. So he charged toward her and immediately she showed this type of submission.

 

Lion domination 1

Lion domination

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1600, f8, 1/1600, exposure = -0.33, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 40 meters from lions)

_______________________________________

 

And how about a Cheetah in the early morning light having drink after a feast during the night. Once again – Cubitje Quap water hole produced.

 

Cheetah drinking water 1

Cheetah drinking water

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO8000, f8, 1/1000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode)

Take that, ISO 8000 on a Nikon D3S camera!!! The sun was not yet up over the dunes, low light conditions. I was worried about the tail and the front paw, so I decided to stay with f8 but rather up my ISO. Just to make sure everything is in focus. But I know the background will be blurred with f8 on the 600mmf 4 lens at that distance. It worked well, wouldn’t you agree?

_______________________________________

 

Just passed Kamqua water hole we came across a brown hyena and it decided to sit between the three thorn bushes for a minute or two.

 

It is always interesting to capture giraffes’ drinking water – with the last few drops when they do pick their heads up flying in every direction. I was lucky to get these two giraffes close to each other at Graig Lockhart water hole.

 

Giraffe kiss 1400 300k 72d sRGB R W

Giraffe kiss

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO2000, f8, 1/6400, exposure = -0.33, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 31 meters from giraffes)

_______________________________________

 

And the month of November is also great to see some of the puppies of the Cape fox. This image was taken at the fox den close to Auchterlonie water hole. One needs to be early at the den because just after sunrise, the puppies will disappear into the burrows only to re-appear after dawn. Usually you won’t see them during the day.

 

Dad and son 1

Dad and son

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO800, f5.6, 1/6400, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 19 meters from the foxes)

_______________________________________

 

A few hundred meters on the upper dune road just past Kamqua water hole a brown hyena was on the move between the many three thorn bushes – probably towards the water hole. However, it stopped and decided to lay down for a while. We waited and luckily it sat up again (only for a minute of two so that I can get this landscape shot) before moving back into the dunes.

 

Brown hyena landscape crop 1 1400 1MB 300d sRGB

Brown hyena landscape

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO2000, f4, 1/800, exposure = -0.33, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 50 meters from hyena)

_______________________________________

 

At Polentswa water hole another brown hyena was walking towards the waterhole but after smelling the lions (they had a kill next to the waterhole the previous day), it turned away and moved back towards the dunes.

 

Brown hyena on the move 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Brown hyena on the move

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f8, 1/1600, exposure = -0.33, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 28 meters from hyena)

_______________________________________

 

A first for me in Kgalagadi – very small BB jackal cubs just next to the road between Cubitje Quap and Kwang water hole. Unfortunately the Three thorn bushes were just too thick but I managed to capture one cub through the bushes. Not a great image but nevertheless, they cannot all be perfect.

 

Pet eyes 768 300k 72d sRGB W

Pet eyes

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO5000, f4, 1/500, exposure = -0.33, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 5 meters from jackal)

_______________________________________

 

And then the other current favourite action next to Cubitje Quap water hole – BB jackals hunting doves and sandgrouse. I visited the waterhole for four days and eventually I got a decent shot of the jackal. It is so difficult to capture the jackal without six to ten sand grouses around it. Usually there a few sand grouses flying around the jackal because the jackal likes to wait for a big flock to arrive before making its move. More chaos and easier to catch a sandgrouse in the chaos.

 

Missed 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Missed 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO2000, f11, 1/4000, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 25 meters from jackal)

_______________________________________

 

Also, the background around the water hole is not very photographer friendly – as illustrated in the image below:

 

Jackal catching sandgrouse 1920 300k 72d sRGB light RY W

Jackal catching sand grouse

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO 2500, f11, 1/5000, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 31 meters from jackal)

_______________________________________

 

But with the necessary patience and watching the behaviour of the BB jackal, one might just get lucky. Like these series of images below – the BB jackal caught the sand grouse around its tail feathers. However, the sand grouse managed to get away – this time without any tail feathers.

 

Almost 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Almost 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f5.6, 1/200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 28 meters from jackal)

_______________________________________

 

Almost 2 crop 1 1920 300k 72d sRGB Y W

Almost 3

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f5.6, 1/200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 28 meters from jackal)

_______________________________________

 

Almost 3 crop 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

 

Almost 2

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f5.6, 1/200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 28 meters from jackal)

_______________________________________

 

I sincerely hope we have enjoyed the trip reports for 2013 with me – the next trip report will be on my 2014 trips and there are already a few in the pipe-line.

 

Message to take home:

As I’ve mentioned in my previous trip report – I’ve tried not to post the usual images of the Kgalagadi and I hoped I’ve achieved just that. That brings me to the message for this final 2014 trip report post: The more you get out and use your camera, the more proficient you become as a photographer. I’ve been to Kgalagadi many a times by now but every time I do learn something new. Not just about me as a photographer but especially about my equipment – what it can do and what it cannot do. If you do not know your equipment, it is difficult to let your creativity takes over. In the process of learning and using your camera, you will develop a better eye from a creative perspective. It is important that you practise your “creative eye” on a regular basis. Remember, it is not only to maintain it, but also to improve that creative perspective. So, take out your camera and go shooting – even if it is just in your back garden but look at things differently.

 

Until my next trip report – keep on shooting with that creative eye constantly through the camera.

2 Comments

Trip report: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, November 2013 (Birds edition)

It has been a while since I’ve posted a trip report on my blog. Well, now that I’ve achieved one of my goals in photography (reaching 250 acceptances each in national and international photography salons (competitions), I do have some time to continue with a trip report or two. What a better way to pick up where I left my trip reports than a trip report to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I still haven’t developed all the photos I want to but here are a few.

I stayed on both side of the park (Auob and Nossob River sides) but I am not going to write story after story. Also I am not going to give you a day to day dairy description – let the photos do the talking.

DO not be mistaken – I did not make a mistake with my camera setting. Sometimes it was necessary to increase the ISO level to 4000 to 8000 in order to the required shutter speed. Especially with an aperture of F8 & f16.

How about starting with my favourite topic – birds. I am not going to post the usual photos of birds in this trip report but I would rather try and post something different. I do hope you’ll enjoy the reading.

Snake eagle 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Snake eagle 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO1250, f8, 1/40, exposure = -0.67 WB = sun, Aperture mode, 32 meters from bird)

Shooting through the window of my vehicle – handholding my D3S camera en 600mm lens just because of the angle – not too bad a result

_______________________________________

 

Then we parked next to the Social Weaver nest between Leeudril and Rooiputs water holes and trying to get this nearly impossible shot. The weaver taking off towards the nest with a twig in its beak.

 

Sociable weaver building nest 1

Social weaver building nest

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4, ISO4000, f16, 1/3200, exposure = -0.3, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 8 meters from bird)

We sat there for about 2 hours and after about 1000 images, I had one of two images that I can use

_______________________________________

 

Just passed Houmoed we came across this Red necked Falcon sitting in the middle of the road “eating” small pebbles. Interesting behaviour once again – apparently helping the birds with digestion (just like the ostriches are doing it).

 

Red necked falcon 1 crop 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB R W

Red necked falcon

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4, ISO6400, f8, 1/2500, exposure = -0.3, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 8 meter from the bird)

I was very lucky – the falcon allowed me to slowly drive up to it – a mere 8 meters from the bird. Once again – it is all about patience and let the bird feels comfortable with you as photographer around. Be quiet and move your vehicle very slowly

_______________________________________

 

One of the reasons why I do love going to the Kgalagadi in the month of November – the breeding period for the many Bee-eaters in the park. Between Mata Mata and Sitsas waterhole I saw this Bee-eater going into its nest. So I parked my car in the middle of the road waiting for the Bee-eater to return to its nest to feed the chicks. The only problem with this approach is that one needs to move your car every time another vehicle wanted to pass.

 

Lunch is coming 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Lunch is coming

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO8000, f13, 1/4000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 8 meters from the bird)

_______________________________________

 

Bee-eater with food 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Bee eater with food

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO8000, f13, 1/4000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 8 meters from the bird)

_______________________________________

Take a bow, Nikon D3S for handling an ISO of 8000 so well. Two images above shot during the late afternoon in the last light just before the sun disappeared behind the dunes.

 

Back to the Nossob side of the park – a lot of vultures around Kwang and Bedinkt water holes. These Lappet-faced Vultures had a drink at Bedinkt waterhole and took off.

 

Lapped faced vulture take off 1 crop 2 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Lappet-faced vulture taking off 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO800, f8, 1/4000, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 50 meters from bird)

_______________________________________

 

LF vulture take off 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

LF vulture taking off 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO800, f8, 1/4000, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 50 meters from bird)

_______________________________________

 

Cubitje Quap water hole is (“was?”) famous for its hunting Lanner Falcon but I only saw the Lanner once. However, I’ve realised that almost every day you would be able to find a Bateleur drinking water. Especially when starting your afternoon drive around 15H30.

 

Bateleur drinking water 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB YR W

Bateleur drinking water

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f8, 1/3200, exposure = -0.33, WB = sun, Aperture mode, 25 meters from the bird)

_______________________________________

 

So these are just a few images of the birds of the Kgalagadi. The animals to follow in the next part of this trip report.

 

Message to take home:

I’ve mentioned the high ISO levels used for bird photography during this trip. Just one very short message today: Do not waste your time as well the bird’s time buy trying to capture sharp images of bird in flight (BIF) using shutter speed of less than 1/4000 of a second. Especially smaller birds. I’ve read so many articles telling you to use a high shutter speed when doing BIF photography. But then the authors are mentioning 1/1000 of a second. I made the same mistake in the beginning – trying to keep my shutter speed around 1/1000. It might work for larges slower birds but…. So, do not be fooled by advice like that. Rather try and keep your shutter speed above 1/4000 of a second or even close to 1/8000 of a second. You will not be disappointed with the result.

 

Until next time – keep the shutter VERY fast while keep on shooting

4 Comments

Willem’s Weekly Bird Photography blog (#13)

Week 13: White-crowned Lapwing (Witkop kiewiet)(Vanellus albiceps)

This week a very interesting and sometimes a confusing bird – the white-crowned lapwing. Not very common in South Africa but a beautiful bird.

 

11 Lapwing with butterfly W

Lapwing with butterfly 1

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens & Nikon 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO 800, f8, 1/3200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 10 meters from bird

Chobe Nature Reserve, Botswana, March 2013

_______________________________

 

Lapwing with butterfly 3 1400 300k 72d sRGB noise K W

Lapwing with butterfly 3

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens & Nikon 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO 800, f9, 1/3200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 12 meters from bird

Chobe Nature Reserve, Botswana, March 2013

_______________________________

 

Lapwing with butterfly 2

Lapwing with butterfly 2

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens & Nikon 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO 800, f9, 1/3200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 12 meters from bird

Chobe Nature Reserve, Botswana, March 2013

_______________________________

 

These images above are showing some interesting behaviour from the lapwings. They are busy catching butterflies on the bank of the Chobe River. When a lapwing did catch a butterfly, the bird took the butterfly to the water, dipped it in water before swallowing it.

 

Other interesting facts:

This lapwing is unmistakable. Its wings and tail are strikingly patterned in black and white, the back is brown and the underparts white. The head is particularly striking, being mainly grey, but with a white crown and foreneck. The eyering, facial wattles and legs are yellow. Females, males and young birds are similar in plumage. It is a wader which breeds on exposed sand or shingle near rivers. 2–3 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including the hippo. (Wikipedia)

It can easily be mistaken by the African Wattle Lapwing (Lelkiewiet) but its white and not brown breast separate it from the African Wattle Lapwing. The white crowned lapwing also does not a red spot above its beak.

Monogamous, defending a linear territory along the river bed. The nest is a shallow scrape in a damp sandbank, occasionally lined with small sticks and pebbles. It is typically placed in the open, occasionally adjacent to a driftwood or vegetation. Egg-laying season is from July-November, peaking from August-October. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for at least 26 days, although they are often left unattended (sometimes in the hottest part of the day). The chicks can feed themselves within 24 hours of hatching and are cared for by both parents, who become increasingly aggressive towards intruders. Near-threatened in South Africa, largely due to decreased river flow, which is probably caused by afforestation, invasive plants and obstruction by man-made structures (such as dams).

http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/charadriidae/vanellus_albiceps.htm

 

The distribution map http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/charadriidae/vanellus_albiceps.htm

White-crowned lapwing map

 

Until next week – keep an eye on the birds and keep on shooting.

 

3 Comments

Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of May 2014

Well, it is the month of May 2014 and I’ve reached my second goal in entering photography salons. The goal was to meet the PSSA requirements for an EPSSA honours award namely 500 acceptances in the Nature sections with no more than 3 acceptances per photo. Unfortunately the PSSA decided to change the requirements this year – at least 50% of the acceptances (250) must be in national salons. And so I received my last required acceptances in national salons this month. After this month’s results, I do have a total of 697 acceptances in the Nature divisions of national (266 acceptances) and international salons. So my application for the EPSSA honours award is in the post on its way to the PSSA.

Yet another milestone for me in photography salons (totally unexpected) – rated as #20 on Top Overseas Exhibitors in Nature Projected Image division of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) “Who’s Who in Photography” annual for 2013. More information on this link: http://www.psa-photo.org/index.php?whos-who

Once again – no zero acceptance salons for me for this month. Now for the actual details on the results for the month of May 2014:

 

Total number of salons entered:

9 (3 national salon and 6 international salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 31 acceptances from 55 photos entered = 56% acceptance rate (slight decreased from the 59% last month)

National: 59 acceptances from 108 photos entered = 55% acceptance rate (decreased from the 65% last month)

Medals: 0

COMs: 13

 

Now for the individual salons:

A. International salons:

 

1. 1st Good Light International Exhibition of Art Photography 2014 (Serbia):

Photos entered: 4 photos each (except Child) entered in the Good light, Decisive moment, Child, Nature, Open colour & Open monochrome sections = 23 photos.

Acceptance: 8 acceptances (35% acceptance rate)

Comments: Eye through door received its first COM international award in only its first salon entry. And last month the image only received a silver award during our local camera club judging. Just to show you how judges’ opinions could differ. Do not be discourage about one’s images by looking at the outcome of just one event. Keep on trying if you think your image is worth getting another change.

 

Eye through door 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Eye through the door

Stud farm outside Bloemfontein, South Africa.

___________________________________

 

2. PFM International Salon 2014 (India):

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section.

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

Comments: Well, just to show the opposite of the previous salon. Leopard in the dark was the only image that did not receive an acceptance in this salon. And last month the very same image received the perfect score (15 out of 15) during our local camera club meeting. It was also selected the overall winner in the senior category. Now, you can view both these images and decided for yourself.

 

Leopard in the dark 1

Leopard in the dark

Mala Mala nature reserve, Greater Kruger National park, South Africa

___________________________________

 

3. Massachusetts 2014 Nature Exhibition (USA):

Photos entered: 4 photos entered each in the Wildlife & Nature sections = 8 entries.

Acceptance: 6 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

Comments: I’ve entered a few “new” images in this salon and I was very surprise to see Bee eater bath receiving an acceptance. The Bee eater in the image is not pin sharp but it was the best image I was able to capture of these Bee eater birds diving into the water (to drink water). One does not know where they will dive in and they are so quick. Just getting a glimpse of one through the camera was initially acceptable for me. Very, very difficult shot and if I see another similar image, I would realise the degree of difficulty to capture these birds drinking water and appreciate such image even more.

 

Bee eater bath 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Bee eater bath

Chobe nature reserve, Botswana.

_____________________________________

 

4. 1st Lucknow International Photo Expo 2014 (India)

Photos entered: 4 photos each in the Nature section.

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

Comments: Three puppies playing received its first COM award in its fourth salon entry. Not a wow image but I loved the interaction between the wild dog puppies. Not very often that one gets the wild dogs in the open. It was difficult image to develop in Photoshop due to the lack of good light on the dogs as well as the high ISO (5000)(aperture of f5) needed to get a decent shutter speed (1/2000) to freeze all the action. Hopefully I’ve done a decent job of it.

 

Three puppies playing 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Three puppies playing

Laikipia reserve, Kenya

___________________________________

 

5. JCM circuit 2014: (India)

This was a 3 salon circuit held in India.

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section = 12 entries.

Acceptance: 1 COM & 6 acceptances (58% acceptance rate)

Comments: The interaction between the vultures and the Black back jackal at Giants Castle seems to be a favourite amongst international judges. One must remember that, in wildlife photography, the ultimate goal of any photographer is to capture the interaction between different species. As in the image The vulture and the jackal 3 below which received a COM (FIAP ribbon) award in one of the three salons. This image already received 3 international medals in the past.

 

The Vulture and the Jackal 3 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

The vulture and the jackal 3

Giants Castle, Drakensberg, South Africa

___________________________________

 

6. 1st Aspirations International Photography Exhibition 2014 (India)

Photos entered: 4 photos each in the Nature section.

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

Comments: A very interesting acceptance was the Leopard yawn image. My first every decent leopard sighting in the Kgalagadi but the background was not the best one could wish for. So I had to do the best I can. I waited for a very nice yawn and luckily the leopard hasn’t disappointed me.

 

Leopard yawn 1 1050 300k 72d sRGB W

Leopard yawn

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

___________________________________

 

B. National Salons

 

1. 1st HKK National Circuit Salon 2014 (South Africa)

This was a 3 salon circuit.

Photos entered: 4 photos entered each in the Pan scapes, Portrait, PJ, Wildlife and Open colour sections = 60 entries.

Acceptance: 4 COMs & 28 acceptances = 32 acceptances (53% acceptance rate)

Comments: Meerkat looking for love received COM awards in two of the three salons and an acceptance in the third salon.

 

Meerkat looking for love 1080b 300k 72d sRGB W

Meerkat looking for love

Tswalu Private Nature Reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

___________________________________

 

2. West Rand National Salon 2014 (South Africa)

Photos entered: 4 photos entered each in the Pictorial, Landscapes, Mono portraits, Abstract, Animals and Mono Technology sections = 24 entries.

Acceptance: 4 COMs & 9 acceptances = 13 acceptances (54% acceptance rate)

Comments: BB Jackals fighting 1 was one of the four images to receive a COM award in this salon. This image is doing well so far in salons with a 100% acceptance rate in 5 national and international salons. I was a bit too close the jackals with a 1.4 convertor on my 600mm lens as well. I did not expect the fighting to occur between the two jackals – now I know better. However, I’ve managed to get both jackals in the frame while they were fighting near Kji Kji water hole in the Kgalagadi. Luckily I was using an aperture of f8 and I was 32 meters from the jackals.

 

Jackals fighting 1 1024 500k 72k sRGB yellow W

BB Jackals fighting 1

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

___________________________________

 

3. 1st PPC Colour National Salon 2014 (South Africa)

Photos entered: 4 photos entered each in the People, Scapes, Story telling, Abstract, Sport and Open colour sections = 24 entries.

Acceptance: 2 COMs & 12 acceptances = 14 acceptances (58% acceptance rate)

Comments: Not very often that I do get a COM award in the People/Portrait section because I am not a fan of studio photography but this time around I got lucky. Side ways colour was one my first ever studio images captured during my Beginners course with Prof Gert Lamprecht. At that stage of my photography “life”, I was just struggling to get the focus point of the camera on the face of the model. Luckily for Prof Gert’s advice, I’ve managed to capture this interesting image in his home-made studio. Initially, because of my lack of Photoshop skills, I’ve converted this image into a monochrome images and it did very well nationally and internationally. A month or two ago I decided to give it a try in colour and to my surprise it is doing very well. It already received three acceptances in four national and international salons. This was my first COM award with this image.

 

Side ways colour 1024 300k 72d W

Side ways colour

Bloemfontein, South Africa

___________________________________

 

Message to take home:

I am not a very creative person but at some stage in one’s photography career you need to be very creative. Otherwise you’ll get frustrated and you won’t develop as a photographer. Some piece of advice I’ve read somewhere on the Internet regarding creativity helped me a lot:

“Taking pictures isn’t the only time you have to use your creative eye. You can use it by looking at other people’s pictures to see what you could have done differently, or what factors you will take from their pictures to add to your photography. As you go through your daily routine, you can imagine that you are constantly looking through a viewfinder or LCD screen, and as your eye develops, you will have more and more ideas for creative shots everywhere you go”.

I think very good advice and I tend to use it nowadays. Especially when travelling. Look around and let your imagination run wild.

Until the next month, be creative by looking around but keep on shooting!!!

 

2 Comments

Willem’s Weekly Bird Photography blog (#12)

Week 12: African Mourning Dove (Rooioogtortelduif)(Streptopelia decipiens)

A very common bird in Africa south of the Sahara this week – the African Mourning Dove.

 

African morning dove 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

African mourning dove

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO 1600, f8, 1/6400, exposure = -1.0, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 15 meters from birds

Chobe Nature Reserve, Botswana, November 2011

_______________________________

 

Interesting facts:

The Mourning Collared Dove (Streptopelia decipiens) is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. However, they are more common in the northern part of South Africa.

Despite its name, it is not a close relative of the North American Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura. This species is common or abundant near water. They often mingle peacefully with other doves. The Mourning Collared Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, up to 31 cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. The head is grey and the underparts are pink, shading to pale grey on the belly. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red. (Wikipedia)

The African mourning dove lives in small areas in the northern half of southern Africa, where it is locally common. It lives in moist savanna, cultivated areas and riverine Acacia woodland. Its diet consists mostly of seeds, with very small amounts of fruit and insects. The female builds a nest of twigs, leaves and roots, the male gathering the material. It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated for 13-14 days (recorded in captivity). The chicks stay in the nest 15-18 days. (http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/columbidae/streptopelia_decipiens.htm)

They are quite common or abundant near water. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general. Their stick nest placed in trees, often mangroves. The average clutch consists of two white eggs. African Mourning Doves feed on grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They usually forage on the ground, and often in groups. http://beautyofbirds.com/africanmourningdoves.html

 

The distribution map http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/columbidae/streptopelia_decipiens.htm:

African mouring dove map

 

Until next week – keep an eye on the birds and keep on shooting.

 

2 Comments

Willem’s Weekly Bird Photography blog (#11)

Week 11: Red crested korhaan (Boskorhaan)(Lophotis ruficrista)

A very common bird in the northern parts of South Africa this week – the Red-crested Korhaan.

 

Red crested korhaan

Red-crested Korhaan

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO 800, f4, 1/4000, exposure = 0, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 8 meters from bird

Mokala Nature Reserve, Northern Cape South Africa, November 2012

_______________________________

 

Red crested korhaan foraging

Red-crested Korhaan foraging

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO 1000, f4, 1/5000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 6 meters from bird

Mokala Nature Reserve, Northern Cape South Africa, November 2012

_______________________________

Still on my bucket list – getting an image of a male during his courtship with his red crest exposed.

 

Interesting facts:

The Red-crested korhaan is near-endemic to southern Africa, being uncommon to locally common in a range of woodland habitats. It is omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates, especially termites, beetles and grasshoppers, and plant matter, especially seeds and fruit, foraging on the ground, picking up food items with its bill. http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/otitidae/lophotis_ruficrista.htm

All in an effort to advertise undisputed control over his territory and to attract the opposite sex as a result, the male starts vocalizing on the ground with an ascending piping call. All of a sudden and as the call reaches a crescendo it then flies vertically up into the sky. On reaching a certain height the korhaan merely folds its wings, and plummets back down towards terra firma, body seemingly prone – almost as if having been shot in mid-air. Shortly before hitting the ground, it opens its wings for a soft, elegant landing. Rather impressive and the reason it is sometimes called the suicide bird. http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/blog/posts/courtship-dance-of-red-crested-korhaan

Polygynous, with each male performing an elaborate courtship display to multiple females, some of which he will mate with. The male puts on a spectacular courtship display to multiple females, who solely incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. It lays 1-2 eggs directly on the ground often among dense leaf-litter, which are incubated solely by the female, for about 22 days, and little is known about the chicks

http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/otitidae/lophotis_ruficrista.htm

 

The distribution map http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/otitidae/lophotis_ruficrista.htm:

Red crested korhaan map

 

Until next week – keep an eye on the birds and keep on shooting.

 

4 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers