January 2021
Bush Stories

Let’s talk photography and processing

in Bush Stories
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Let’s talk photography and processing

Marc Bowes-Taylor
By Marc Bowes-Taylor
Field Guide

If the rain looks like it may settle in for a few days, don’t let it dampen your creative spirit. Photography during the rain can be very rewarding in producing unique images. Often they portray dramatic, moody scenes. After all it’s not always sunshine and happy days in the bush!

Before the storm hits there is usually a big cloud build up in the east (well at least where we are in southern Africa that is the case), and with late afternoon sunlight this will illuminate your subject against a dark background.

Once the storm has moved in and sunlight is not available this is where post processing can be really fun. Remember photography is a form of art and you have all the right in the world to experiment with your editing program. I personally prefer Lightroom as it is easy to use and has plenty of editing options. I generally turn to monochrome or black and white options as colours become less vibrant when there is no sunlight. It also can turn a fairly ordinary image into something more captivating. I like to have some focus in the sky by increasing my aperture on my camera (to show more detail surrounding the subject) and then in editing, darkening and lighting certain areas of the image. This will help lead the eye and create contrasts between the dark and light areas.

Going back to experimenting with the camera, over exposing some images will help bring out areas cast in shadow, like a leopard in a tree. Choosing the black and white editing option in Lightroom will give a satisfactory result.

Motion blur is another option during overcast days. To achieve this, slow your shutter speed down to say 1/6th of a second (you can play around until you find the setting you prefer). This requires plenty of trial and era, and a sturdy hand. Keep your focus on the head of the moving animal and snap away doing your best to pan your camera at the same pace your subject is moving at. You may find that the majority of your images are blurry and will be deleted but you may have one keeper where a certain part of your image is in focus and the rest all blurred, portraying movement.

Happy snapping!

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