Peter Delaney Photography Blog

Nature & Landscape Photography

Zebra Photographs

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Zebras make really interesting subjects and I have been fortunate to create some wonderful Wildlife Prints.

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stallion stands in front of his herd

My favourite destination to photograph these striped animals is Etosha National Park, Namibia. There are many thousands of Zebra within this arid Park. I have photographed them grazing in long winter grass on the plains and as they crossed the barren salt pans.

My favourite waterhole in Etosha to observe these herbivores is Salvadora on the edge of the Salt pan. They arrive mid morning to quench there thirst. The small family groups find security by merging together as they walk towards the waterhole. There is safety in numbers, a lot more ears and eyes to watch for predators. Of course having dominant males so close to each you will be guaranteed of some action. As males try and dominate each other and maybe kidnap a female or two.

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zebra stallions fight for rights to females

Once they reach the waterhole they will wade in to the water so they can drink the cleaner water. The zebra will be very skittish while drinking which results in some of the zebra panicking and quick retreat for all from the water. This will result in lots of action with water, hooves, manes and bodies in a chaotic state.

When the Zebras have calmed down and quenched there thirst they will head back to the grazing areas. If you can position yourself nicely you will get some lovely photos of Zebras in a line with the Stallion at the front. When they start grazing you can then hone in for tight compositions resulting in striking black and white Zebra prints.

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Plains Zebra profile looking at stalk of grass

Pains Zebra Stallion stops and stands in front of herd

 

Zebra photographs will look good as both colour photos or black & white prints.

You can buy Peters Wildlife Photos

Peter Delaney fineartwilderness.com

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Landscape Photography

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I had a lovely surprise delivered to my doorstep from the Postman. It was the Portfolio Book for the winning photographs from the Memorial Maria Luisa 2014  Mountain, Nature and Adventure Photo Contest.

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Dune on Fire, Memorial Maria Luisa 2014 Porfolio Book

It is a fantastic collection of Landscape Photography by the  Worlds best Photographers.

To have my Fine Art Photograph of " Dune on Fire" included amongst such wonderful photographs is truly an  honour.

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You can check out my winning photograph in my Landscape Photography Gallery

I cannot emphasise enough the quality of photographs published in this book. It has some wonderful  inspirational Landscape Photography. My only wish that the text was written in English as my Spanish is terrible.

Peter Delaney

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African Elephant & Wildlife Photographer

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African Elephant and a Wildlife Photographer

The day I came face to trunk as Wildlife Photographer with the iconic African Elephant I was grabbed by a mixture of fear, adrenaline and adulation at this magnificent gargantuan creature. The emotions coursing through your body were paralysing and before you know the moment has passed and your camera unused. Not the reactions you would expect of a Wildlife Photographer.

Magnificent Bull Elephant walking across Salt Pan

 

People perceive the African Elephant as a loving gentle family orientated creature and they are, but they are also huge in size, very protective and can be very irritable and unpredictable in nature. It takes time and patience to understand the behaviour of the African Elephant of which as a Wildlife Photographer I have in abundance when I am in the bush. As a Wildlife Photographer I have learnt the indicators that African Elephants give when they feel threaten or relaxed this knowledge has help me to get some wonderful photographs. 

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My Golden Rule 

as a Wildlife Photographer when photographing an African Elephant or any animal is to get them relaxed. Never rush upon an animal when you first sight them. Survey your surroundings try and think like your subject and preempt their next move. This takes experience and time to learn but a worth while pursuit as it will dramatically improve your opportunity to get great photographs.

Bull elephant walks and blows dust over his body

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My First Real Dilemma as a Wildlife Photographer

when taking images the African Elephant was its size, where do I place the animal in a composition? Do I photograph it close up and fill the frame or place it within the frame to show the subject in its environment. I struggled at first with African Elephants and Giraffes because of there size but after a while I decided to cover all the bases possible. By positioning myself away from the subject and letting it walk towards me. This gave me time to photograph the animal in a wide compositional environmental image as it approach me. Until it eventually filled my frame that I was photographing parts of the subject, eyes, ears, tusks, trunks, tail and feet.

monochrome photo of Elephants on a ridge

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I will always remember my first days

as a Wildlife Photographer. The isolation of the African Bush was overwhelming. My senses were in overdrive, at night every sound heard was an imagined Lion creeping up on my tent to eat me. Sleep came hard and the safety of morning could not come quick enough.The feeling of being out of my depth after fruitless attempts of tracking and following animals in order to photograph them left me wondering was I in the right profession. I have come along way from my early days of being a novice Wildlife Photographer. I may have learnt a lot but I am still learning and believe I can never know enough.

You might like to read the post about Etosha Wildlife

 

Peter Delaney

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Wildlife Photography

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What is Wildlife photography?

Wildlife Photography is probably one of the most difficult of photography disciplines. It is not enough to have right equipment and to know the behaviour of your subject. To get that "perfect photograph" it is a combination of beautiful light, interesting subject matter and to be able to capture this fleeting moment sometimes in the most difficult weather conditions.

Many wannabe Wildlife Photographers have idealistic and romantic visions of the "Life and Times"of a Wildlife Photographer. The amazing sunsets ,sunrises, being one with nature etc etc.

night portrait of Leopard

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african lion walks across grasslands

Yes at times it can be like that. But most of the time is actually a lot of hard work , frustrations with moments of complete despair and ecstasy.

Countless hours behind your camera or computer editing. 

The business side is the hard but necessary part of photography that most photographers dislike. Marketing your images to NGO's, editors, journalists all whom expect you do give away your work for exposure !!! 

On a personal or family level you have to sacrifice a lot time away from your family. Who worry about you being so far away working with dangerous animals and environs. 

As with any vocation you will find like minded people who will become great friends whom will share knowledge and experiences which will in turn enrich all those involved. 

Wildlife photography is an important tool in the conservation of our planet. In a way it is a vocation for those who chose this life. For they do it out of love and passion foremost rather than a means of financial self enrichment which tends to be priority of many who chose a particular career path.

Peter Delaney

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How To Be A Better Wildlife Photographer

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Basic Tips For The Wildlife Photographer

Cheetah mother and cub sit upright surveying grasslands

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Wildebeest Trek across dusty river bed at sunrise

From time to time I receive emails from photographers asking for tips on becoming a Wildlife Photographer.

First of all there is no short cut to becoming a successful Wildlife Photographer. You have to be prepared to put in thousands of hours, frustrating hours, you will have to make sacrifices e.g. family time and financially. A Wildlife Photographer will spend many thousands of dollars on equipment and logistics with no guarantee of recouping their monies.

It is easy to set yourself on the web as a Wildlife Photographer. You buy a website , you open a Twitter account , FB account... etc., you are getting lots of "likes" and comments from friends. Now you are ready to make the big time as a Wildlife photographer.

The harsh reality is that you are not going to make it. I am not saying give up, far from it.

I love photography, I live and breathe it every second, I am obsessed about my work. And the more people who become interested in photography I believe is a good thing. It means Photography manufacturers will have more people to sell too and will continue to produce and innovate for this growing market.

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Some Basic Tips For The Wildlife Photographer That I Have Learnt On My Journey.

In no particular order.

  • Know your subject! As a Wildlife Photographer you must understand the behaviour of your subject. Once you do this you will find yourself capturing better Wildlife Photographs. 
  • Patience is a necessity of a Wildlife Photographer. You must be prepared to wait hours, days and even months to get that one shot you may have pre-visualised. At first you will be frustrated to the point of giving up. Every Wildlife Photographer has been there. Use your failures as a motivator.
  • Know your equipment. Your camera and lenses are tools. They will not help you become a better Wildlife Photographer unless you master every aspect of your camera. Every button you press must be intuitive so you never have to lift your eye from your viewfinder.
  • Learn how to you use the back focus button on your camera. 
  • Do not be afraid to experiment with your compositions, shutter speed, aperture and using flash. 

    Elephant herd of brow of hill

     

    • If possible when you do go out in to the field to work. Try and go on your own. I cannot emphasise how much your work will improve if you "zone in" to the task at hand. If you have distractions you will miss shots and will become very frustrated. And you confidence will take a knock.
    • Share your knowledge with other Wildlife Photographers. You may find that they will reciprocate and your knowledge base will increase.
    • Find a mentor, someone whose opinion you value. It is very easy to attach emotion to your work. You need an objective point of view. Look at other Wildlife Photographers website. Find a website that has tips and interesting articles on photography. Keep learning, You can never know enough.

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B&W portrait of lion

 

  • Competitions can be a good benchmark for your photography. And a great way to get exposure. But do not be too disheartened if you do not win. Competitions are subjective. Rather look at the winning images from an objective point of view. Check the compositions, the angle of view, the editing, every aspect of the image then apply the same criteria to your work. And then use it as a motivator to do better.
  • Make sure you have the right apparel for your field trip. You need to be prepared and comfortable.
  • Digital darkroom, you must be as competent in editing your images as you are at capturing them. There are many forums on the internet to learn more.
  • When possible use a tripod. No matter how good your stabilisation is on your camera. Tripod images will always be sharper. 

"No Matter How Good Y

ou Think You Are, You Can Be Better"

The reasons why I switched from DSLR to Mirror Less

article written By Wildlife Photographer Peter Delaney

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