Addo Elephant Park

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in the Eastern Cape.  After spending a few days in PE, we travelled to Addo Elephant Park, a SANParks reserve.

Driving in we spotted a warthog and some of the elephants the camp is known for. This elephant image of mine later won a Shot of the Month competition.

We also had a great sighting of some zebra, frolicking around an artificial water hole – as with the rest of the country, the park hasn’t had rain in months.

At a similar watering hole, we sat at a hide and watched this poor old buffalo take a drink.

On our last night, we decided to brave the cold and go on one of the park’s night drives.  And good that we did – we had some amazing sitings!  The only lighting I had was the ranger’s flashlight, but I pushed my ISO up to 1600 and managed to make it work.

Looking at the rest of this post, I see it’s all in black and white (unintentionally!).  But anyway, here’s a pop of colour; this was the view from my balcony on the morning we left.  It consists of several images stitched together in Photoshop.

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Don’t miss my previous posts from this trip:

 

One Photo Focus – August 2016


After-Before Friday is an event which allows photographers to share their processed images, and, if they choose, their post-processing steps. On the first Friday of the month, all participants have the opportunity to edit the same photo in the “One Photo Focus” challenge.

  1. First, I opened the image in Photoshop and added a vignette
Step-1

Enter a caption

2.  I then opened the image in Google’s Nik Color Efex Pro 4 software, where I boosted the ‘perceptual saturation;’ basically, this enriches the colours.

Step-2

3. I applied a layer mask to soften and fine tune the effect.

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4. The most noteworthy edit took place in Analog Efex Pro 2.  I applied a tilt-shift bokeh effect, a double exposure effect, and another subtle vignette.

Step-4

 

5.  A few more tweaks in Lightroom, and I was done!

Step-5

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result. Images from other contributors can be seen here.

Project 365: Week 47

After some thought, I decided on a theme of ’round’ this week; again this involved a fair amount of abstract images.

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Monday, 16 November

Spoons – I saw an image on 500px of a few spoons on top of a piece of music paper, and wanted to try a slightly different version.  As you can see, I used a trio of spoons and a piece of newspaper. I used the columns of the newspaper to draw the eye to the spoons, and then the ‘stems’ (for wont of  a better word) of the spoons drew the eye through the rest of the photo.

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Tuesday, 17 November

Alien ocean – These are simply soap bubbles which I spread onto a piece of clear glass and lit with back bounce flash.  I used the reverse-macro technique to really get in close. I tried to create an un-Earthly ‘ocean’ effect.

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Wednesday, 18 November

Condensation – This is literally just condensation, from a thawing, half-frozen bottle of water.  I bounced my flash off a nearby wall, creating soft light and a softbox-type effect in the droplets of water.

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Thursday, 19 November

Cinematic – Another simple thing – these are backlit straws.  I reduced saturation and applied a vintage split-toning in Lightroom afterwards.  They sort of remind me of olden day cinema projectors (not that I’ve ever seen one in real life!).

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Friday, 20 November

Ephemeral soul – I had never realised how hard it is to get the cornea in focus! Wow! Eventually I settled with this mystical abstract, which was lit by bounce flash off a wall.

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Saturday, 21 November

The Amoeba – this was a typical ‘accident-shot’, where I hadn’t even meant to click the button but ended up with something rather interesting, which turned out to be the only decent shot I got. I had planned to shoot some water droplets on a piece of glass, and was busy figuring out lighting when this happened.

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Sunday, 22 November

Molten steel – this is the shot that was supposed to happen on Saturday. I sprayed some water on a piece of glass and played with bounce flash until I was happy.

Enjoy the rest of your week! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on my images.

Project 365: Week 46

I’m am thrilled to report that my wi-fi is finally working, after a fairly horrible week! Last week I photographed a series of abstract images, some of which incorporated Photoshop skills I learned (or remembered) the previous week.

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Sunday, 08 November

Black blade – this was one of those wonderful times when I looked down at the screen of my camera and was delightfully astonished, as the image was so different to what I saw in front of me. This is actually part of a feather, which I was playing around with to test different compositions.  I used reverse-macro.

Monday, 09 November

Pages –  this didn’t come out quite as planned, but I was happy anyway. The photo is a macro (I used the reverse-macro technique) of the pages of a book, lit by bounce flash.

Tuesday, 10 November

Wind – this is actually a montage of a couple of photos. I positioned them in photoshop and used various blend modes to change contrast and colour.  I was actually really happy with the final result.

Wednesday, 11 November

The Golden Whorl – as you can probably guess, this is a shell which was lit by bounce flash.  I used reverse-macro to get in close.

Thursday, 12 November

Clarity in chaos – this is another montage of two images, one of zoom blur (I took a photo with a relatively low shutter speed and zoomed out during the exposure) and the other of a focused trio of leaves.  I positioned the leaf trio in the middle of the zoom, played with blend modes, and voila!

Friday, 13 November

Lettuce – this was taken with my usual 18-55mm lens, from above. My flash was bounced off the wall to the side.

Saturday, 14 November

Apples in a row – I really tried to focus on the composition in this image, and I think I succeeded. (Confession: we only had three apples.)

Sunday, 15 November

Delirium – I’m not sure if I actually like this image or not – it’s one of those very subjective photos that people either love or hate.  I took it by shooting through my bathroom skylight (and yes, it involved lying on the floor next to the toilet – don’t judge).

Apologies for the belated post! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Project 365: Week 28

This past week my focus has been on abstract, macro photography. When I first started photography a few years ago, my favourite go-to genre was macro photography. Over the past few days, I managed to regain my passion, with the help of my flash.  I had forgotten how amazing the world is up close! I took all of the following photos using the reversed-macro technique, with an old manual lens, which allows me to manually change the aperture.

Sunday, 5 July

Sunday, 5 July

Reams of paper – this is of a stack of different types of paper. I bounced flash of the ceiling and the white wall behind the paper, hence the soft backlight.

Monday, 6 July

Monday, 6 July

Picking straws – I’ve seen a few macro images of the tops of straws on 500px, and wanted to try it myself. I attached a few straws together with an elastic, propped them in a glass, and bounced the flash off the ceiling and wall.  I love the slight colour-leak in the top corners, and the way the shadows were tinted by the colours of the straws.

Tuesday, 7 July

Tuesday, 7 July

Paternal pollination – This is an extreme close-up of the pollen-producing organs inside a rose.  The photo was tinged pink and orange by the rose petals, and by a slight light-leak in the corner.

Wednesday, 8 July

Wednesday, 8 July

Wither – I was walking around our garden the other day, looking for a new subject to photograph, when I spotted the small, shriveled flowers on our hydrangea bush.  Using side-flash, I excacerbated the texture of the flowers, and created a higher contrast image.  I added a slight tilt-shift effect in Lightroom, but the colours are entirely natural.

Thursday, 9 July

Thursday, 9 July

Lonely lady in red – it took a lot of trial and error to get this shot; I wanted a large depth of field, but decreasing the size of my aperture meant that very little light travelled through my viewfinder, and focus was hit-or-miss.  I isolated the flower from the background by using a high-zoom flash, and then darkened it further in Lightroom.

Friday, 10 July

Friday, 10 July

Ocean fossil – This is a very small part of a fossilized shell I found many years ago.  I used quite harsh side-light, to create dark shadows which portray depth.

Saturday, 11 July

Saturday, 11 July

Lens-to-eyeball – I love looking at macro images of irises, but have never tried it before now.  This is my cousin’s eye (thanks Jess!), which I lit with side-flash.  I debated removing the reflection in the pupil, but then decided it adds to the image.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Project 365: Week 21

This week I decided my theme was going to be ‘music’.  Despite no one in the family currently playing a musical instrument, we have a few of them lying around from previous years.

Sunday, 17 May

Sunday, 17 May

A dusty keyboard – I waited until it was almost dark before taking this image, in order to create those beautiful long shadows. I used side light, which illuminated the covering of dust on the keys. I processed it using the ‘Creamtone’ preset in Lightroom.

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Monday, 18 May

A harmonious blend – I tried to push my Photoshop skills by trying out the double exposure effect which is trending at the moment. This image consists of two photos; one of the piano and one of the music. I played with different blending modes before settling on ‘overlay’. Finally, I opened the image in Lightroom and applied a vintage preset.

Tuesday, 19 May

Tuesday, 19 May

The guitarist’s compositions – Again, I wanted to try a double exposure effect. My base image was simply of a guitar against a bright background; I used this to extrapolate the silhouette of the guitar.  To create the inside of the guitar, I took several photos of sheet music, and to create the background I downloaded a few free textures off the internet.

Wednesday, 20 May

Wednesday, 20 May

Evening prayer – I think this is one of my favourite images. I took two photos; one where I exposed for the candle, and another where I exposed for the music book.  I combined them in Photoshop using layer masks, and added a couple of adjustment masks to make the tone of the music book warmer.

Thursday, 21 May

Thursday, 21 May

I’d do Anything for Love – this image was also the result of two photos; one of the scene and another of the sound track on the iPod. After blending, I applied two tilt-shift filters, added contrast, and a vignette effect.

Friday, 22 May

Friday, 22 May

Incoherent symphony – I’m not a big fan of blown out highlights (I’d much rather have shadows!) but I actually think that they enhance this photo.  I also loved the texture of the guitar.  For more images of my brother’s old guitar, see my post, Broken.

Saturday, 23 May

Saturday, 23 May

In the line of fire – yesterday evening I attended a “burnout”; basically a firefighting training exercise. I’ll try and post more images from the event soon.

Sunday, 24 May

Sunday, 24 May

The little singeress – this afternoon I attended a June Krous Student Concert, which my cousin took part in.  The singers were excellent, but my favourite part of the show was still my ability to photograph the event.

Project 365: Week 20

Despite deciding at the beginning of the week that I wasn’t going to theme my images, I later realized that I had inadvertently created an ‘antique’ theme.

10 May

Sunday, 10 May

The Druid’s viewfinder – I have taken several photos of clovers this year, and yet this is the first time have have properly managed to acheive the desired effect. I placed my LED light on the soil, aiming upwards, to create the beautiful backlight. I particularly loved the colours produced by shining the light through the leaves.

11 May

Monday, 11 May

The venation of a monocotyledon –  Unfortunately, as I took this quite late in the afternoon (when I would be able to achieve sufficient contrast with my LED light), I had to  sacrifice my shutter speed, and therefore the image has some hand-shake.

12 May

Tuesday, 12 May

Seaside carapace – I set this shell up on a dark surface indoors, and then positioned my LED light to camera left. I was very pleased with the result; it is very much my kind of photography; minimalist and low-key, with an emphasis on texture.

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Wednesday, 13 May

Perceived invulnerability – this is a close of a tree in our garden, side-lit with my LED light.  It reminds me of a metaphorical mental shield, meant to protect the softer core from the worlds’ dangers.

Thursday, 14 May

Thursday, 14 May

The wanderer’s tool of choice – this compass does not look nearly this ancient in real life, but a very high ISO, some dust covering the glass, side-light to illuminate the dust, the ‘Antique’ preset in Lightroom, and a full but basic edit, and I had this!

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Friday, 15 May

Literary abstract – unlike in the previous photo, this book actually is quite old, but I treated the photo in a similar way; with a high ISO, side light, and the ‘Antique’ preset.

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Saturday, 16 May

When the clock struck twelve – this is a fairly new necklace of mine, which I bought while on holiday in San Francisco.  I shot it with fairly harsh backlight, and then applied the ‘Creamtone’ preset in Lightroom. Several Adjustment brushes later, and I had my final result.

Project 365: Week 19

This week I decided to completely step out of my comfort zone, and focus on wide-angle photography, especially the distortion produced by ultra-wide angles. As my widest angle lens is my 18-55mm, I achieved most of these shots using macro filters, which increase distortion due to the close proximity to the subject.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the wonderful moms out there!