Photography play time!

Play time in New York City

Play time in New York City

Play in New York City

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Play time in New York City

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A few weeks ago I met Amber while on my way to a free outdoor concert outside the Lincoln Center when she stopped me to take a photos of my outfit. We got chatting via email when she kindly sent my the beautiful photos and decided that it would be really fun to go and shoot together to get a bit of practice. I suggested that we shoot based on a theme, just to give us a focus – and we choose “inner childhood”.

The photos were taken at the East River Park in Manhattan. We had a lot of fun and got some good shots – although once again I found myself mostly only liking the ones taken on my 50mm. It really is the best value for money lens.

No, these won’t make it to the pages of National Geographic

Over the past few months a number of my expat friends have blogged about the Rhino & Lion park just outside Johannesburg. Having lived in South Africa for 18 years I have seen my fair share of wildlife in proper game reserves so I was not about to rush to a park where the animals are in enclosures or so accustomed to humans that they barely flinch at the sight of 100 cars. But since my cousin from Poland was coming, and there is a cave on the property of the park too, we decided to give it a go.

Of course it is by no means a replacement in any way to the amazing game reserves like Hluhluwe and Kruger, but it made for a fun day out and it is a great alternative to the usual hang-around-in-a-mall-drinking-coffee. There were five of us in the car and we laughed and joked and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We also got to play with baby lions and baby jaguars and you can’t do that at the Kruger – I’m afraid that if I had more money than brains I would be completely tempted to buy one of the baby Jaguars, they were adorable.

On a photography note I can’t say that I enjoy shooting wildlife very much. I guess I have just seen too many breathtaking photos in the National Geographic and other publications to ever be satisfied with my little efforts. Equipment, luck, and weather aside, if you’re not a professional you’re unlikely to be close enough for long enough to get that perfect shot. One the plus side my new Nikon 18-105mm lens performed quite well and I even got fairly sharp photos when shooting from a distance.

I will blog about the cave in a separate post…

Most of these photos were actually taken through a fence.
While most of the animals slept through the heat, a group of 6-month-old white lions decided it was time to play with one of the handlers.
This Secretary Bird would not stop moving around so I battled to get a perfectly focused image.
The Marabou Stork - one of the candidates for ugliest bird out there. On the plus side there were lots of them and they were very happy to have their photos taken.
Mufasa - well that's what we named him. There was a Scar too....
Who can resist those big paws and ears?

 

If only by the night…

Sandton by night, and from a distance, is far more appealing than up close
 
When I first bought my DSLR (which is a Nikon D3100) I somehow (very foolishly) felt that my photos would immediately be a lot better. It was a tough lesson to learn that a camera or lens does not make you a better photographer. It took me several months before I stopped shooting on automatic and before I finally moved from appeture priority to full manual.
 
A year later I can say that I take every opportunity to learn new techniques or aspects of photography and the results are starting to show.
 
This was taken around 15 minutes after sunset, Nikon D3100, ISO 100, F11 (or so), exposure of around 15 to 20 seconds. With a tripod of course.