PHOTO SPE­CIAL! HOW TO NAIL YOUR BIG FIVE SHOTS

HOW DO YOU CAP­TURE IM­AGES OF THE BIG FIVE THAT ARE ORIG­I­NAL AND STRIK­ING? PHO­TOG­RA­PHER TEA­GAN CUN­NIFFE GIVES SOME TIPS ON HOW TO NAIL THESE SHOTS

Getaway (South Africa) - - Front Page -

1 ELE­PHANTS

El­lies bring an ex­tra­or­di­nary pres­ence to any en­vi­ron­ment they in­habit or tra­verse. A good way to cap­ture this is to use a wide-an­gle lens and shoot from a low-an­gle up­wards. Al­ter­na­tively, zoom in on their eyes, ears and trunk – el­lies have fan­tas­tic tex­ture to their skin, al­low­ing you to cre­ate ab­stract yet in­ti­mate por­traits (Pre­lena Soma Owen’s im­age on page 34 does this well). Em­pha­sise the tex­ture in post-pro­duc­tion by in­creas­ing the clar­ity slider slightly. Ele­phants have semi-pre­dictable rou­tines so ask the camp man­ager or ranger where and when they are likely to am­ble down to a spe­cific wa­ter­hole. BEST LO­CA­TIONS Chobe Na­tional Park, Kruger Na­tional Park, Hluh­luwe-Im­folozi Park, Addo Ele­phant Na­tional Park, Hwange Na­tional Park.

2 LIONS

Lions are charis­matic sub­jects, whether in pro­file, in­ter­act­ing with their prides or star­ing di­rectly at you. Dusk is the best time for ac­tion – dur­ing the day you’re likely to find them snooz­ing in the shade, hid­den by grass and bush. Use a wide-an­gle lens (fo­cal length of 50mm and wider) to catch them mov­ing about, or a tele­photo lens (fo­cal length longer than 200mm) to cap­ture in­ter­ac­tions. If a lion is look­ing at you, shoot from eye level to max­imise the con­nec­tion of its stare. To fur­ther em­pha­sise it, open your aper­ture to f/4 or wider to blur the back­ground. BEST LO­CA­TIONS Kgala­gadi Trans­fron­tier Park, Kruger Na­tional Park, Oka­vango Delta.

3 LEOP­ARDS

These beau­ti­ful cats are nocturnal and, un­less you’re very lucky, are prob­a­bly go­ing to be the last an­i­mal you tick off the list. They’re ac­tive to­wards dusk and dawn and favour hang­ing out in trees, mak­ing for stun­ning sun­set shots. Use a wide aper­ture to gather as much of the dim light as you can, and set a rel­a­tively high shut­ter speed in prepa­ra­tion – leop­ards move quickly and sight­ings can be brief (push your ISO up to com­pen­sate, but watch out for too much grain in the im­age). Switch to spot me­ter­ing and set your fo­cus on the leop­ard it­self to avoid un­der­ex­pos­ing the im­age and turn­ing the leop­ard into a sil­hou­ette. At night, sim­i­lar set­tings ap­ply and you can ex­per­i­ment with ve­hi­cle spot­lights. As far as pos­si­ble, avoid shoot­ing with a shut­ter speed slower than your fo­cal length (the re­cip­ro­cal rule), as this will cause cam­era shake. BEST LO­CA­TIONS Sabi Sands Game Re­serve, Kruger Na­tional Park, iSi­man­gal­iso Wet­land Park, Kgala­gadi Trans­fron­tier Park.

4 BUF­FALOES

The dark hide of buf­faloes is tricky to ex­pose, so shoot in RAW and set your ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion to un­der­ex­pose slightly. Then use post­pro­cess­ing to push shad­ows and re­cover high­lights. A herd of buf­faloes is great for one thing in par­tic­u­lar: dust. Use a wide-an­gle to shoot large groups milling around at a wa­ter­hole or walk­ing through the veld in the early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon. Po­si­tion your­self to shoot into the sun to cre­ate a back­light­ing ef­fect through the ris­ing dust.

BEST LO­CA­TIONS

Chobe Na­tional Park, Kruger Na­tional Park.

5 RHI­NOS

Rhi­nos are won­der­ful, bulky crea­tures so give them con­text by in­clud­ing their en­vi­ron­ment in the shot. Be sure to add space in your frame for the rhino to ‘move into’. This will pro­vide vis­ual re­lief and bal­ance your com­po­si­tion. Rhi­nos have limited eye­sight (but ex­cel­lent hear­ing), mak­ing them good an­i­mals to ap­proach down­wind and pho­to­graph on foot – only with a trained guide, of course. If your DSLR has it, select ‘Silent’ sin­gle-frame mode over high-speed ‘Burst’ mode for less dis­tur­bance, and if you’re us­ing a point-and-shoot or a smart­phone, si­lence all sound ef­fects. BEST LO­CA­TIONS Kruger Na­tional Park, Hluh­luwe-Im­folozi Park, Pi­lanes­berg Na­tional Park, Etosha Na­tional Park, Khama Rhino Sanc­tu­ary.

for­great Buf­faloes­make con­ver­sions,too! black-and-white

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