Framed Giraffe


Ndutu, Tanzania, Africa

When you are out on safari you would think that you’d be able to see a giraffe from miles away the same way you would see the Eiffel Tower in Paris long before you got to it. For some reason in Africa it seems the bigger the animal is, the stealthier they are. Driving through the trees of Ndutu we kept on getting surprised by these random giraffes popping out from every direction. We would sit there in silence and poof one would be 10 feet in front of us only to dash away after it got a quick glance at us. I felt like I was in some kind of arena as puppeteers in some safari control room was launching random giraffes in our direction, laughing at our surprise as they monitor us with secret tree cameras. Like an African hunger games except instead of fighting to the death I’m just trying to get a decent photo!

Anyways, these giraffes have a few things working for them that help keep them nice and quiet. Larger animals are simply a lot more graceful because they are so heavy, they tend to look like they are walking in slow motion because the shear mass of their limbs slows quick movements. Because they are so large they don’t have too many predators (mainly lions) this negates the need to run around in a constant panicked like state, and verbal communication is unnecessary .

Photographic Details: I often say, never centre your subject, but in this case I was able to frame this giraffe down with this tunnel of trees as she popped out. Framing is a great compositional tool, and if you can find something interesting to surround your subject in a centered subject isn’t so bad. She turned and stared at us for a few moments, then quickly made her way again. You can see how her front leg is poised to take off again, a really cool demonstration of body language is plainly depicted here.

Camera Settings: 1/250s f/2.8 ISO100 160mm

Two seasoned fox


Norwegian Arctic: Svalbard In the winter, the arctic is a veritable snowy world covered in white. And likewise many animals including the Arctic fox has a white coat to blend into their surroundings. In the summer months, the land returns to a brownish red hue, and so does the arctic fox! This little guy was photographed while he was in transition to his summer coat, with a patch of white lingering on his body and tail.

Photographic Details: It was such a joy to see such a different style on a fox. This guy popped up out of nowhere and was out of there before I could get a decent close up shot of him. The best I could do was line him up with the rule of thirds and incorporate the background to express that he was in this arctic environment. I kept him on the lower right hand corner to give him room to run into the photo; the white of the snow actually has minute details but I chose to leave them as inconspicuous as they are to make the fox pop out of the frame more.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/500s f/8.0 ISO200 400mm

For #wildlifewednesday

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Every photo in my smugmug is now 50% off until Dec 25th with the code: WELOVEWINTER

They called him Macaroni... Penguin


South Georgia, Antarctica Macaroni: A term used in the mid 18th century to describe an unusually fashionable man who cared very much about his appearance with a flamboyant flair. Previous terms such as fashion-monger, ninny and fop were also used for someone overly concerned about their clothing. The Macaroni fashion was a precursor to the “dandies” which were the early 19th century metrosexuals.

Hence once the unusually vibrant crest of the Macaroni penguin was first observed they were given this name. These penguins were sitting on their nest, carefully keeping an eye on us while they tucked their necks in to conserve warmth and rest. Macaroni penguins lay two eggs during the mating season but often toss the first one out to make way for the second. The mother and father will share their responsibility over the egg as it incubates for a month, and raises the chick over another month. In this time the parents may fast for up to 42 days losing 40% of their body weight. Talk about dedicated parents.

Photographic details: I had to be very careful approaching these penguins. Believe it or not there is tall tussok grass growing here, it’s easy to accidentally step on a macaroni nest in a place like this. As we crouched down to their level this guy would keep an eye on me but that was the greatest reaction this bird would give me, and I respected their space as I waited for them to take a brief glance at me. After spending time with these fastidious penguins, I realize they only live up to their namesake in appearance. Canon 5DMarkII ISO400, 400mm, f7,1 1/320sec

Sometimes photographers talk to the penguins


Falkland Islands, Southern OceanThank goodness it's my favourite day #wildlifewednesday !

These Rockhoppers have a lot of character. Not only do they live up to their namesake by hopping around the beach in the most comical way, they have a bright yellow flourish on their crest and piercing red eyes. The beach is littered with the dark bouncing figures of these guys, the only thing to do is take a seat and watch the show.

Photographic Details: Sitting amongst these guys I enter “spy mode” with my telephoto lens. Waiting for the right penguin to look in the right direction while also facing the sun so I can get those bright red eyes illuminated. These guys are busy so they aren’t all that interested in me, saying “Hey there, nice yellow crest” or “I saw you on the Fleetwood Mac album cover can I have your autograph?” didn’t really work, however screeching like they did got me a head turn and a few looks.

Yes I have learned to call to penguins now. They really don’t care what sound you make, but as soon as you start sounding like them they start paying attention. I look like a complete idiot hunching down taking photos and making penguin noises, but I’ve learned for a long time that if you don’t look like an idiot doing it, you probably don’t have an interesting photo.

I wanted the profile to focus in on the eyes and crest, and since their heads are symmetrical I thought I would take a different approach and get half the face, this makes for a more unique photo than the typical full face penguin portrait.

To see more or get a print see my smugmug here: http://kylefoto.smugmug.com/Antarctica/Antarctic-Worlds/19589737_M4DwLg#1538623730_9pjmrFs

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