We had planned to stay the whole day out, with packed breakfast and the lodge would bring us lunch later. We were on a photo safari in the Sabi Sand in Kruger National Park in South Africa, the heaven for leopard photography lovers.
Staying the whole day out in the bush has the advantage that you can stay with the animal when you eventually found it and follow it the entire day. We had found a female leopard. She had two pretty “old” cubs of about 18 months old, two boys, still staying with her. Usually the cubs have to live on their own by this age, but the boys seemed to enjoy their mother’s care and were in no rush to live on their own and do all the hunting themselves. The mother is a good hunter and also this morning she had a kill hoisted in a tree. But there was no sign of the boys. After she had fed on the kill for a while she started calling for the boys. No response. She started walking away from the tree looking and calling for the boys. The calling is a gentle sound, heard by the cubs and telling them mom is calling and expecting response. But nothing. The mother kept going and calling and after about one hour doing so, she seemed to have enough. Now she was really calling, a loud, strong leopard call that made clear she will take no nonsense anymore. And suddenly one of the boys popped up, just a few bushes away from her approaching her in apologies and trying to sooth her anger. After a moment of accepting the cubs attempts to make it up again, they wandered off to the tree with the kill.
For some reason Sony seems to me rather the excellent video camera brand than a still photography brand, although more and more of my photo course safari guests have Sony cameras and I get to use them in order to help and explain. Somehow they don’t feel “ripe” yet and functionality, menu and displays seem influenced by video cameras. But maybe that is something one got to get used to, I don’t know.
Well, there is the new Sony A99 and when I read the review from Phoblographer I get the impression that they had a bit the same feeling about it. Please read yourself and experience the camera yourself, if you can. They are doing great work and who knows, maybe one day they will overtake the Nikons and Canons.
“Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year — an astounding figure. More than ever before, thanks in part to cell phone technology, the world is engaged with photography and communicating through pictures.
Nonetheless, a great photograph will rise above all the others.” This quote comes from TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2012.
But what is a great photo? Somehow the first image they choose with the man from Ghaza reminds me very much of the winning photo of Word Press Photo 2012. Are they playing safe by choosing what won an award elsewhere or do they really find it one of the greatest photos of 2012?
The problem is, that all rankings and awards are subject to the subjective judgment of the jury. They have an idea what they want an image to look like and the one that gets the closest to the idea is the winner. But what a jury likes is not necessary what you like and find a great image.
A great image is an image that appeals to you, an image you love and can’t stop looking at. A great image draws you into it and makes you discover new things all the time. It lets you experience the feeling it captured and takes you on a journey.
We don’t like unpleasant surprises, we like nice surprises; yet both ways, surprises have the power to make us more creative. When you plan to photograph your friend’s birthday party you will get from one surprise into the other, because the people will just not do what you as the photographer want them to do. You got to come up with creative solutions to get some nice pictures anyway. And at the end your own photographs will be the surprisingly good.
When you walk through your town, garden, in the woods or in the park, with every step you might be surprised by new photographic opportunities. And you will try to capture them the way they surprise you. Lets not mention walking in the bush and being surprised by an elephant, well then there is no time for photo safari snaps, then its time to run.
But isn’t it always the surprise of beauty that makes us snap? The moment of awe we capture and go back to when looking at the images. Surprise can reflect in the images in many ways, from the blurred photo, because we were surprised by that photographic opportunity coming along just now and we were not ready, to the building that surprised us with its beauty.
Look at your images and see how they surprise you, again and again, every time you look at them.
Joseph Woodland died this month at the age of 91 and he is the man who invented the bar code as we find it on anything we are buying nowadays. The invention was made in the late 1940ies and patented 60 years ago. Woodland, a graduate student, worked together with his classmate Bernard Silver on the technology, but it was Woodlands experience as a boy scout and sitting for months on the beach in Miami what brought the breakthrough.
When the work didn’t progress at university he quit and spent a winter in Miami Beach where he was sitting the whole day on the beach thinking. And then suddenly the puzzle fell into place. The knowledge of the simple Morse code, he learned as a boy scout, and running his fingers through the sand made him suddenly draw lines with four fingers, realizing that these lines could be wide and narrow depending on the information they carry and the bar code was found.
Woodland and Silver were ahead of their time and the scanning technology was not yet ready to apply the invention for mass production. They sold their patent for USD 15,000. That was all what they got for it ever, besides the honors from the academic world.
But what is the essence and what does it tell photographers? Your way of photographing might be different than what anybody else is doing and what no photography course is teaching, but it doesn’t mean that it is no good. You might just be creative and ahead of your time. As Woodland did, be yourself and follow your intuition, your path. There might be a point that all puzzle pieces will fall into place. Well, and don’t give away your art to quickly and to cheap, at least if you are in the position to wait. You are creating something with every photo you take, worth attention and respect.
Source: The New York Times, read the full article here
Day 17 We decided to have a quite day with our game drives and also a long rest around lunch. It was just so hot. It felt like being roasted on lave stone and at the same time it was so beautiful, so irresistible beautiful that one takes it all just to be there.
Day 18 We left the campsite at 8.15 a.m. and headed to the main gate of Tsavo West Mtito Andei to hit the road to Mombasa. It was a short drive to Voi where we did some groceries and I got myself some chocolate and a stroll through the market place. The main gate of Tsavo East was just outside Voi and the campsite Ndololo just 20 minutes from the gate. We arrived there before lunch and pitched camp.
When we were about to have lunch a troop of baboons was lining up to get our food. I encouraged Alex to make a statement with the catapult to make clear who is the boss. He would be the one staying in camp when we are out and they would make life for him very hard if he wouldn’t do something right now. He went after them and they got the message.
Tsavo East is huge and doesn’t have many roads. It felt to me like a paradise for the animals, because they can live their lives unbothered by vehicles if they want, yet we had great sightings too. The first afternoon we spotted already lionesses, actually quite close to the camp, on their way to hunt. It was a good start.
When we got back to the camp I wanted to take advantage of the good facilities of the campsite and went off to have a shower. It was almost dark and when I entered the shower I saw them, bats everywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable and hurried up to get away form them quickly.