About Me

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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lovely light and a bit of serendipity

Now back to the regular blog for a little while where I'll post some of my favourite pics and hopefully give you a little insight into how and why I took them.

Afria's one of those places where you don't have to be a specialist wildlife photographer to get close-up photos of beasties. Which is probably a good thing for those of us who would never have the patience to sit in a hide for months on end trying to get a single shot.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in Matobo National Park in the troubled nation of Zimbabwe. I was sitting under a tree sipping on a cold beer and writing up my diary. I always carry two diaries with me - one to jot down memories and notes for future articles, and another diary to write down what I photographed during the day. I'm one of these people who doesn't like to spend my evenings captioning photos on a laptop but sit around and relax, leaving the work till I get back home. With my little photo diary it's easy to figure out what's what.

Anyway I digress. I was sitting there passing the time when not five foot in front of me a mother chacma baboon and her baby came and sat themselves smack bang in front of me. Of course being the incredibly dedicated photographer that I am I of course had my camera equipped with telephoto lens sitting right next to me - not! I walked slowly to the truck and got it out, all the while hoping they would be there when I got back. Sure enough they were and the photography started in earnest.

The main two things I was looking for here were a clear view of both faces and the right exposure. The mother spent most of her time side-on to me like she is here so it basically meant waiting until the little one was facing the sun enough for its face to be recognisable.

In terms of exposure it was a bit tricky. Too much over-exposure would turn the fur completely white and burnt out, but not enough exposure would turn everything else pitch black! So in this case I too an exposure lock off a medium grey area in the background and let the shadows fall where they would. So what I got was an almost monochrome strongly side-lit, almost silhouetted portrait of a mother and child baboon. Sometimes the photo gods smile on you and you just happen to be in the right place at the right time - even if it is with a beer in your hand and not a camera!


Megan from Imaginif said...

I wish you did photography lessons. I'd come. I so cannot make any of my pics sparkle like yours do.

Happy Childhood Hero Day.

Paul Dymond said...

Thankyou Megan. Sparkle is always a good thing. I might look into running a photography workshop here in Cairns a bit later in the year as quite a few people have been asking for me to do one. I will let you know for sure.