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Jim Zuckerman's Blog
Partial silhouettes at sunset
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

There is an unusually large amount of water in the marshes here in the Camargue region of France, and that's good and bad. It's good because the splashing of the horses as they run through the water looks great. It's bad because some of the staging areas are more difficult to get to. This shot was done last evening at sunset where we had the horses run against the sunset sky. The partially silhouetted forms underscore the beauty of horses in motion. I shot this with a 24-105mm lens, and my settings were 1/1250, f/5.6, and 500 ISO. 

Running horses by star light
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

Everyone is using the Milky Way as a component now and replacing night skies with it because it's such a dynamic background. For some, this may be getting old, but I still think it's an exceptional visual. So, I tried something different. I took a shot in daylight of the horses from my last workshop (with a shutter speed of 1/1250), darkened the image, added blue, and desaturated the colors to look like a night shot. Then I added the Milky Way (take with a 20 second exposure) using a layer mask, and with the gradient tool blended the bottom of the stars with the horses. Finally, I selected the top part of the picture with the rectangular marque tool, copied it to the clipboard, pasted it ...

Water combat
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

I'm headed to France at the moment to conduct a photo workshop to capture the beautiful white horses of the Camargue running through water. This picture is from a previous workshop. It's one of the setups I arrange. We put two stallions together in shallow water and photograph the dramatic interaction between them. With action like this, it's no time to use slow shutter speeds. The ideal is to have every detail tack sharp, including the churning water. It is exciting to witness the power play between the two horses, but it's also amazing to be able to freeze a dynamic moment in time and examine every detail in a still photograph. My settings for this shot were 1/2000, f/8, 1600 ISO. I used ...

Birds in flight
Monday, May 14, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

A favorite bird in east and south Africa to capture, especially in flight, is the lilac-breasted roller. They usually don't accept a close approach, and they fly like bullets. This makes it a real challenge to capture something good. On this last tour to Namibia and South Africa, I got a few shots but, to be honest, none of them are very good. This picture is from the previous trip. I used my standard settings for bird-in-flight photography: 1/3200, f/11, manual exposure mode, and auto ISO. When I know a bird is going to fly against the sky, I use all of the focus points available -- 61 on my camera. My rationale is that it's hard enough to keep a fast flying bird in the center of the ...

A sighting at night
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

In South Africa at the Sabi Sabi private reserve where my photo tour group and I spent six nights, we had 8 different leopard sightings. This is the best place in the world to see these stunning cats. Leopards do most of their hunting at night, and then they drag the kill up into a tree to protect it from other predators, mostly hyenas, who would steal it from them. Dragging an adult impala or another heavy animal up a tree trunk simply by digging claws into bark takes a great deal of strength. I don't use on-camera flash at night if I can avoid it because this kind of light is too harsh, too flat, and too unattractive. Instead, the 'spotter' has a powerful spotlight that provides a much ...

Night drive safari
Friday, May 11, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

Night drives in Africa sometimes reveal animals that would never be seen in daylight. I captured this flap-necked chameleon a few nights ago in South Africa. The challenge of night shooting is the necessity of using a high ISO, but the combination of better camera technology and Neat Image software for mitigating noise has allowed us to take pictures that would have been impossible just a few years ago. I used a 500mm f/4 Canon telephoto for this, and my settings were 1/500, f/4, and 10,000 ISO. Notice I chose a high ISO setting so I could maintain the fast shutter speed. It's paramount when using long, heavy telephotos to use a fast enough shutter to guarantee a sharp image. There is no ...

Crash of rhinos
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

On the last evening's game drive in Sabi Sabi before returning home, we came upon a crash of white rhinos at a drinking hole. I had never see this many in one place. There were nine in total. Unfortunately, it was just before dark and the lighting condition was terrible. When we finally left, we could hardly see the animals at all. I shot this with a 100-400mm lens plus a 1.4x teleconverter giving me 560mm of focal length. Some of the rhinos weren't drinking because, I believe, they were nervous about the sounds of conversation coming from the vehicles watching them. My settings were 1/250, f/5.6, and 20,000 ISO. I later removed the 1.4x converter to give myself an extra f/stop of light. To ...

African wild dog
Monday, May 07, 2018
Partial silhouettes at sunset

African wild dogs are among the most endangered mammals in Africa, and that's one reason it's so hard to photograph them. Yesterday here in Sabi Sabi in South Africa, my photo tour group and I came across a pack of the dogs as they were hunting for impala. In a private reserve, there are no restrictions about staying on the roads. Therefore, we were able to follow the pack anywhere they went. At warp speed, we drove over trees, logs, and rocks to keep up with the fast moving predators. Every once in a while, for a brief moment, one of the wild dogs would stop to assess his situation, and that afforded us a great opportunity for a beautiful shot. My settings for this were 1/1000, f/5.6, 1600 ...

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