Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!
“Travel , photography and wilderness are my addictions….And I’m happy with that…”
There are many terrible aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic, too numerous to count really. On the other hand, there are a few positives as well. This week I experienced the latter – which in the spirit of Halloween week here in the U.S., I am calling “quite a treat”. Thanks to COVID, our local photography club has been able to enlist some well-known photographers who would otherwise be leading group photography tours around the world. At home instead, they have welcomed the opportunity to teach groups via Zoom. This week we were honored to host renowned wildlife photographer Kathleen Reeder, who joined us from her home in Arizona.
“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s like catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself”
Kathleen is a marvelous teacher. Organized and to-the-point, she also illustrated her instructions with superb images. Her guidelines for photographing wild animals caused all of us to wish we could revisit the places where we’d captured God’s creatures in their natural habitat. Personally, I thought immediately of our African safari – yet another incredible treat. I would love to return for a “do-over” (now that would REALLY be a treat!) but that is not currently in the cards. Instead I decided to revisit my images to see how often I’d followed her instructions – either intentionally or by luck. I’m illustrating some of her many suggestions with today’s images.
“Animals are a window to your soul and a doorway to your spiritual destiny.”
I’ve included several of Ms. Reeder’s points in my three opening images. The first capture, of a beautiful leopard, shows tack-sharp eyes, ears up and pointed in the same direction as the eyes, the animal off-center in the image and a clear delineation between the animal’s head and the image’s background. Check 😊. The second image shows the elephant exhibiting a “behavior” which makes him more interesting. The image of the sable, above, uses panning to illustrate motion and speed. It breaks the rule of including the animal’s legs but as was mentioned during the presentation, this is one of the more difficult techniques to master so I’m giving myself a passing grade on it.
“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”
Another of Ms. Reeder’s suggestions is to use burst mode when interacting with wildlife in motion. Often when using this technique your chances are better for getting one or two good shots – especially when multiple animals are involved. My burst-mode series of two wildebeests in battle resulted in several images that are among my favorites, including the one I’ve chosen above.
“We don’t own the planet earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.”
The image above represents several of Ms. Reeder’s suggestions. First, when shooting animals in a tree, a vertical composition is most effective. Second, when possible try to include the animal’s tail – check! And finally, look for tender moments, such as the interaction between the cub and its mother. I would have preferred better lighting for this one but hey – you can’t have everything!
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
An interesting suggestion was to capture wildlife in motion by including a raised leg. It’s hard to believe that such an ungainly looking creature could be so fast but in fact ostriches are among the fastest land animals – easily reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour with a stride up to 25′ long.
“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much larger and better in every way.”
My image of the juvenile lion above is a reminder of a suggestion that Ms. Reeder illustrated very effectively for capturing an animal’s “mood or behavior”. There is very little difference between an animal that is growling and one that is simply yawning. We were shown several images and asked which of the two behaviors the animal was exhibiting. We got several wrong 😊. So what do you think – growling or yawning on the image above?
Speaking of lions, I’ve illustrated one final suggestion from Ms. Reeder below. Include space above and below to show the animal’s entire mane. Full disclosure, I had several images that did not do so, but happily this image did – and what a mane it is!
“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
There were many more helpful hints, including how to photograph through fences, cages and glass enclosures in zoos and wildlife parks. I found the session very helpful and hope to be able to get additional practice when COVID restrictions are lifted.
This week we are including what we hope is a treat for all of you! At the suggestion of one of our followers we are announcing NEXT week’s theme. Our host, Patti will share “FOCUS ON THE SUBJECT” on her blog Pilotfish. Please let us know your thoughts – is it helpful to know the theme in advance or do you prefer to be surprised? Your responses will help us to formulate our future plans.
Finally, sincere thanks to those of you who participated in Ann-Christine’s Hideaway challenge last week. As always we enjoyed your creativity and the peek you gave us into what you consider a hideaway in your own lives.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?
- I.J. of Don’t Hold Your Breath gave us an insightful post about how people have reacted to lockdown during COVID
- Ana of Anvica’s Gallery cleverly used clay figures to illustrate her personal concept of a hideaway
- Khurt of Island in the Net shared a beautiful natural retreat in a densely populated area of my former home state, New Jersey
We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us this week. We’d love for you to share something that was a treat for you – a visit from your grandchildren, a special event, a recipe you really loved, maybe even a Halloween surprise ….it’s up to you. Whatever you choose, please remember to link to this post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. Until then have a lovely week and as always, please remember to stay safe.