I’m sharing my wildlife photography tips from behind the lens as I meet a herd of Buffalo, find some cheetah scat, visit my favourite photo spot while listening to the blues.
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that's for 4:30 in the morning and I'm just about to head out the door after having this much-needed coffee this to my local game reserve replay and yeah I don't know what I'm gonna see what I'm gonna blog about today and that's the exciting part of wildlife photography you never know what you're gonna get it's 5:40 in the morning and I've arrived at red flower arrived at read they're quite a long time ago about half an hour ago and unfortunately it looks as if the staff haven't arrived today which has been happening for the last three weeks actually they haven't been here on time so I'm probably gonna miss whatever sunrise there is although happily there's an overcast today which means doesn't matter that much I ain't a man that you've been looking for hearts being darker than a devil soul I ain't someone you bring to Mama's house do you believe do you believe it's certainly not easy filming in the morning not only did I fail to take the lens cap off but my light my video light which is hanging precariously from my Sun Visor fell off as I went over the bumps anyway I wanted to talk about setting yourself up ready to go out on safari early in the morning and I hope I am ready and a good example of that so last night I set my camera's up on AV mode and with a an I serve 3 – dialed in 3200 ready to go for this morning and I also set a cloudy white balance because I knew what the weather was going to be like so I set the cameras up ready in case I saw something really interesting or unique and needed to get a quick snapshot as I drove in the gate something like a serval maybe Brown hyena those sort of crepuscular animals that you sometimes see in your travels in Africa rarely I might add I've only ever seen a serval three times and I've just been photographing a cape long pool which is a quite a pretty red and yellow bird with a buff back so it can hunched down in the grass with this buff back showing and you might not see it but then it might sit perched on a small bush or shrub with this beautiful orange and yellow throat showing with a and and doing a wonderful call in these lovely quiet sort of misty conditions now it's a difficult shot because you have to approach the bird very carefully because they might fly away but once you've got the bird settled or you're settled on it my advice is to start that perhaps at a higher ISO and our faster shutter speed and just gently take that ISO down and that shutter speed up and get more and more shots don't be satisfied with just one you know maybe take ten or 15 for this perch bird just to make sure that at the end of the day you've got a nice shot of the animal or the bird with low noise characteristics and without any pixel blur caused by these these really long telephoto lens and crop bodies that a lot of us are using so I shot this picture with my Canon 7d mark 2 and a slower 100 to 400 lens so wide open at F 5.6 now that's a full two stops slower than my other lens and that really doesn't help in these gray miserable sort of dark conditions in the early morning so dropping that ISO and dropping that shutter speed taking a range of different shots will really maximize the opportunity for one of them at least to turn out with a little merit time so please it loves all grieve oh you will ever it's acting like the man you'll never understand but baby don't leave baby don't leave save me save me save me save me save me you gotta say one important thing to remember I think is to always check your camera and reset your settings after you've finished photographing a subject because if you've got something dialed into your camera let's say for a wild flower or for this little Longclaw that I was photographing earlier those settings are probably wrong for any action or any animal that you might see next you want the general mode for anything that you might see next when you're driving around and it's particularly important because if the action happens fast you won't have time to change those settings and you might miss it as I did with the once-in-a-lifetime cheetah kill in the Caddy you might gather from this sighting that white rhino are not the easiest animals to photograph and that's because they're grazers and not only are they grazers but they're large grazers so they need to eat a lot and that presents a problem because while they're grazing their heads are down and they don't stick them up and that wonderful rhino pose that we all like so you have to just be patient with them because when they're relaxed like this the only time you're going to get a decent shot with its head up in the air is on the rare occasion when one of these rhinos just pops its head up to look for danger and they generally hear it or smell it before they see it I got these demons going on inside you love is the only way to sad show me the road where I see the light leave when I say no medication no Mattie patient will ever work like you do so this my friends is cheetah and they like to sit on raised objects like this to survey their surroundings when they're hunting so keep an eye out for it its oldest this one this is not a new piece of cheetah scat but keep an eye out for it because if you do see some fresh ones cheetah don't wanna sleep tonight just wanna watch stand stars phone but you know I try to make cop dreams just to be seen I wanna lay beside you quiet fire breath and open sky it's not it's where we go it's see we choose to well it's not everyday I've seen a water monitor in this particular nature is own but I guess the environments quite nice for them there's a stream here and lots of prey along its banks anyway this guy was struggling to move because it's a little bit cool for him today with this over cost so he was trying to find a nice spot to sunbathe as the Sun starts to break out of the clouds it's not wha we know it's where we go I grow wings and our goodbyes it's not what we see it's what we choose to we're beyond good I've never been so ready fire breath in open skies I'm in one of my favorite areas to come and look for opportunities and the reason I like this particular area is the wonderful setting and you might think that's a theme of my photography but I think if you find settings and place animals in them you generally get pretty decent shots so what's special about this place well for me it's the gentle valley the stream at the bottom and the vegetation the gentle valley is really important especially on overcast days because that shallow opposing slope gives you something to place the animal against that isn't sky it's a much more interesting background the other thing that really really works for this place is the changing vegetation we've got different textures and layers to the grass and Aerith near the stream at the bottom of the valley we have sedges which are greens and golds and then higher up we have at different times of year all sorts of interesting colors so at the moment in late summer we've got the yellow grass seed out along a pale green grass we've got pinks and yellows from the late summer wildflowers and then in mid summer deep greens and in winter tans and soft shades of brown so you can place that animal in that environment and seek out all sorts of different backgrounds and textures and wonderful a wonderful sort of mood to place the animal in now today we've got something extra-special we've also got these sort of chasing clouds across the sky which are allowing these patches of sunlight and shadow to drift across this landscape and if you can place an animal in those grasses in a patch of Sun with that shade behind it all those textures going up the slope it really makes the Moody interesting shots showing that animal in its environment now the only problem I've got is home over here and the animals are all way over there and far too distant for me to face across and the ear fills up my lungs and it tickles oh what a joyful feeling I think I'm gonna stay here under all this rains and soak up the Sun we love it well the afternoons been rounded off with perfect light beautiful scattered clouds lovely shafts of sunlight and shade and luckily for me I've come across a herd of buffalo in amongst and trees and I've been sitting here for about 45 minutes just photographing them now buffalo presents a bit of a difficult problem because they're large animals and obviously you can only get bits of them a lot of the time in your field of view with a telephoto lens so that's one problem the other thing is they're dark animals so you've got to expose carefully for them as well and the final thing you've got to watch out for is is the fact that they chew the cud so don't be satisfied with one shot when perhaps one of the animals and looks up and eye is you just take a burst because you never know exactly where that mouth is going to be and it could be in quite an ugly position so my advice is to take quite a few shots on your shoot Buffalo and also look for interesting things happening within the herd because usually there's a good number of animals and one will look up and it'll be in amongst the others you've got to look for those little moments where where you see one look up or do something a bit interesting because otherwise they're a bit boring really just one Buffalo and a shot doesn't really do much for me anyway so I like to try and pick out interesting little aspects of the herd and the other thing I like to do is photograph what's going on around the herd as well because there's much more than just Buffalo usually they're walking through the grass they're snapping branches and quite often they're attended by cattle egrets and they stalk their prey next to them fly down off their backs they might have oxpeckers on them as well so there's a lot of more to a buffalo herd than just perhaps Buffalo we are straight to be more we all long for Viva la Vida and the corner Meacher a polite and freer I'm so happy to see ya the sun's just hit the horizon and gone over it and I've been playing around with dice bathing ostriches backlit springbok and zebra and with a lot of flair in my lens and I kind of like that I like I like Flair in my shots and dust especially when you're in that dust and you've got that orange glow behind it's a more difficult shot sometimes you have to play around with your settings but when you pull it off it can really look nice anyway it's getting dark the sun's gone down now the last tint of orange is in the clouds and it's time for me to head home