Pave the way
In between farming, Tom Kotzé from Schweizer-Reneke travels all over our continent. And he always has his camera ready.
“It took more than 300 photos to get one I was satisfied with. We camped at Kubu Island in Botswana, where we sacrificed quite a few late nights and early mornings to try and take pictures of the Milky Way. A friend of mine, Kobus Kriek – who, by the way, was the person who inspired me to start taking photos – was with me and helped with the lighting. We pulled a yellow shirt over a torch that we used to illuminate the trunk of the baobab. Meanwhile, the camera was on a tripod and the shutter was open for almost half a minute.”
When photography was still in its infancy you could only take photos in bright sunlight. But the digital era has rewritten the photography handbook. One of the most remarkable improvements is how lightsensitive today’s cameras are versus the film of yesteryear. A film with an ISO of 1 600 was regarded as a “fast film”, but quite a lot of detail on the photo went missing because of the graininess of this type of film.
Today’s Nikon D5, for example, has an ISO that reaches a staggering 3 280 000. It’s exactly this jump in light sensitivity that makes night photos easier.
At an ISO of 3 200, Tom’s photo shows minimum grain and it doesn’t impact the photo quality. You can even see the specks of the stars clearly to where it becomes like a cloud of dust above the baobab. This cloud – the Milky Way – is like an arrow pointing to the tree.
It’s smart composition because it forces your eye towards the focal point of the photo. Tom uses a light to illuminate some of the detail on the tree, which