Sleepy Eyes

Sleepy Eyes

I just love discovering a gem in my archives. Unlike what many people may think, I am not on safari for the better part of the year.

I actually have 3-5 opportunities to go to the bush for periods of between 3 and 8 days every year, depending on leave roster at work, my Wild Eye schedule etc.

So the majority of photos I put out on my blog and social media channels may actually have been taken some time ago. I’m actually just lazy in deleting excess images, so I have to inevitably go back into my archives to clean up some space. In doing so, I actually come across photos I’d forgotten I’d taken.

They may not have grabbed enough of my attention in my initial processing binge after returning from that particular trip, but for whatever reason I didn’t delete them initially as there was some sort of moment caught there. Case in point, this image:

Nikon D3s
Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II
f4.0  |  1/500 SS  |  ISO-200

Sleepy Eyes – click on the photo to display at best resolution and sharpness

We came across this Verraux’s Eagle Owl asleep in a mopani tree along the Mphongolo loop north of Shingwedzi camp in the Kruger National Park. The scene was cluttered and the bird was asleep, but something about the moment spoke to me, and I snapped it.

Fast forward to last week, when I was looking for a “fresh” photo to process for the popular “black and white challenge” that is viral among photographers on Facebook. I scrolled over this one again, and immediately saw the moment that spoke to me initially when tripping the shutter, and knew that it was a good candidate for monochrome…

After some tweaking in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex I was happy.
The result??

click on the photo to display at best resolution and sharpness

Quite a different feel, mood and effect, right?
It’s actually about more than the owl – and that’s what I like.
It’s not about what it evidently is – it’s also about what else it is…
Photography should evoke more than it describes, if it’s to be seen as an art-form…
I hope these statements above resonate with you?

Now, go dig up those gems in your own archive!
Until I write again…

Morkel Erasmus


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!

Vanished - Megascops Choliba by Jose Garcia Allievi

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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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