It’s early on a summer morning in Namibia’s Etosha National Park. The first summer rains have just started to fall – so everything looks and smells fresh.
There’s still a lot of cloud cover overhead from last night’s deluge…but there’s a gap for the sun to rise into on the Eastern horizon.
As I drive out of the gate of the Okaukuejo camp with my wife and kids in the back of the SUV (kids still dozing), I head East towards the nearest waterhole, which is called Nebrownii.
As the sun starts peeping over the horizon and through the break in the clouds, I find my first willing subjects – a small group of Plains Zebra.
- Stop the car.
- Fiddle to grab the nearest camera. Lens too long (500mm).
- Switch to the other camera – this one has a better focal length (70-200mm).
- Start snapping.
- Check exposure.
- Make adjustments.
- Snap again.
- Check exposure.
- More adjustments.
Framing a rising sun and plenty of sky with wildlife at the bottom makes for a tricky exposure. This is where using your exposure lock function helps, as well as back-button focus to be able to focus and reframe.
Finally satisfied with my exposure on the D800 and 70-200mm combo, I contemplate swopping the 500mm on the D3s for a shorter lens, but realise the sun will rise behind the clouds in a few moments. So I grab my instamatic wide angle that is always with me (that would be the Apple iPhone 5, folks), switch on the HDR function, and snap a few images that way.
Here’s the DSLR photo…
Which do you prefer?
Sure, the iPhone version doesn’t have the same high resolution quality, and it came out a bit over-the-top when it comes to the HDR effect, but it does make it look quite surreal. The perspective is definitely better for me at this wider focal length. Perhaps I should have switched lenses right away when I got there…but I will have to take that lesson into my next safari.
What’s the old adage? The best camera is the one you have with you…