Giraffe Sunburst

Giraffe Sunburst

I’ve been making a point of sharing some photos of ungulates on my blog and Facebook page recently. It’s so easy to share the photos of the iconic big cats, other predators, elephants and rhinos. But many people have more appreciation for the lesser-known forms of life in the bush and actually enjoy seeing photos of them just as much.

Giraffes are certainly an iconic African species, and frequently turn up on the lists of “have-to-see” animals for new safari tourists to the continent. They can be tricky to photograph, though, as their awkward lanky stature makes it hard to compose your photos in such a way to do them justice. This old bull was feeding on a tree by the roadside around sunset in the Kalahari desert one afternoon back in November 2012. Giraffes were reintroduced to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park a couple of years ago after being hunted out many many years before that – and they are doing very well, particularly in the northern reaches of the Auob river valley where this photo was taken.

I used the late afternoon mood and position of the sun here to add interest to the photo (after careful positioning of my vehicle). Stopping down my aperture to f22 helped me make the most of the sun’s rays creeping over the back of the giraffe – creating the “sunburst” or “sunstar” effect. The incredible dynamic range of the Nikon D800’s sensor allowed me to have immense detail to work with, even with shooting directly into the sun.

Does it work for you?

giraffe sunstar 1 KTP 2012
Techs: Nikon D800 – Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 @ 100mm – f22 | 1/400 SS | ISO-900 – Exposure bias -1.3



Morkel Erasmus

I used to relish writing these kinds of “bio” pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways… The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look. To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didn’t have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God's creation! The greatest thing I’ve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy. Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals…and above all, learn to see Africa anew… because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!

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Morkel Erasmus

Since picking up a DSLR camera for the first time, a little over 3 years ago, Morkel has been invigorated with an unbridled passion for the photographic art form. He has grown at a tremendous pace and put immense energy into the creation of his images. He absolutely loves spending time in the wild places of his native Southern Africa. From a young age he has been visiting legendary wildlife and outdoor locations, including the Kruger Park National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains, with his family. Now that he has found a way to share the natural beauty of his homeland with the rest of the world he is regularly out on photography trips. An Industrial Engineer by profession, and an accomplished artist in genres like music and poetry, Morkel has always enjoyed whatever allows him to express his creativity to the fullest. Photography turned out to be the perfect "marriage" between his engineering brain and artistic soul. "I hope that in some way I can raise awareness through my imagery of the plight of not only our wildlife but also the fragility of the last remaining wilderness areas that they call home.” Morkel was recently honoured for his commitment to his craft by receiving a "Highly Commended" for one of his images in the 2010 BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He is based in Mpumalanga, South Africa and even though he prefers going on safari with his family and friends, Morkel also leads the odd photographic safari and has recently begun presenting workshops in post-processing techniques.

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