Tag Archives: vervet monkey

I am completely stoked

Dear all,

Whether it’s life, a game of poker or photography, all of them are characterized by up’s and down’s. The trick is to hang onto the up’s and in that sense, this week has definitely been good to us.

We sold our first canvas print, making Sietske’s Daydreaming lioness our best selling shot, with the counter standing at 1. Meanwhile, my ‘So tired!’ shot got highly commended in the Wild Eye February Nature Photography Competition, being the first time that one of my images earns recognition in this kind of venture. Please take a look here for the announcement of the winners.

Now don’t worry, I’m not planning to get cocky about this (I won’t change my Twitter profile into Award winning photographer just yet ;-)), yet I must admit it is extremely motivating to have your image selected amongst over 350 great entries.

A few more words on the picture entitled: So tired!

Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM, 1/800, f/4.5, ISO 1000

This shot was taken on the morning of December 31st. We had decided to sleep in, in order to make it till the new year in the evening, yet I got woken up by a baboon that decided to check out our roof tent and I was forced to join him for a morning leak. At that moment, I saw a vervet monkey family moving in the bushes along the river bank. I got my camera out and decided to go halfway down the river bank, with the family slowly moving towards me, hoping they would move on and pass in between my position and the river, much in the same way as they had passed in the other direction the evening before. Most animals being creatures of habit, they did. The shot I wanted to get was a youngster portrait, with backlit ears against a clear background. Yet in the process this obviously still tired little one gave me some great laughs. It all happened in the bushes to my side, hence the busy background (as the judges rightfully pointed out). Lesson learned: always keep your background in mind, yet don’t let it prevent you from taking the shot. In this case, I could not reposition, since I would’ve scared off the entire family and I would have missed the backlit ears shot (I’ll share that one later on).  In terms of post processing, I decided to convert ‘So tired!’ to black and white to enhance the mood of the picture, I dodged the background and burned Gollum or Yoda slightly (of which the youngster reminds some people, personally I had not thought of Yoda, yet give this one a few more years and a cloak, … ;-)).

Coming back to the fact of not getting cocky, the more I think about it, I feel that that is one of the great characteristics you need as a photographer: it are the people who take their craft serious without taking themselves too serious who tend to make it that one step further! Do you recognize that? Are you one of them?

Most of all, enjoy what you are doing and take it from there.

Have a great week,




You can’t have them all

Dear all,

In my first post I mentioned to have invested in some new material. Last week, I talked about the 7D upgrade for the 350D. In terms of glass, I wanted a good general purpose lens, both for wildlife landscape shooting, yet also for other purposes (such as indoor shooting in low light conditions, see last week’s post), which I found in the Tamron 17-50 f2.8, a good price-quality ratio lens, saving me some money for the larger toys: a canon L series 70-200 f2.8 IS USM and while waiting for the 200-400 f4 to come (delayed due to the earthquake in Japan), a 300 mm f4 L IS USM. On top of that, we were lucky to receive a 100mm Canon macro lens from Sietske’s parents for our wedding, allowing us to go wild in the garden ;-).

In choosing those, once again, the information provided through The Digital Picture has been of an incredible support.

The 70-200 f/2.8 has been chosen for its overall sharpness, its general wildlife usefullnes, I stuck to the I series for the sake of saving some money.

Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 mm f/4 L IS USM @ 153 mm, f/4.5, 1/160, ISO 100

I opted for the 300 mm f/4 prime, because the 400 mm lenses and the f/2.8 are way out of my budget. It’s my first prime lens and is quickly developing into my favorite toy for the time being, scarily sharp and stimulating my photography by being stuck to one focal length.

Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 640

We opted for the 100 mm macro as a compromise between the shorter focal length macro lenses (too short to have some insect fun in the garden) and the too bulky larger focal length ones.

Canon 7D, Canon EF 100mm, f/2.8 macro, 1/125, f/3.2, ISO 125

Choosing them is one thing, purchasing them is another thing, especially when you happen to be based in Kenya. Myself, I have great experiences with Fotoapparatuur.

This being said, for the followers of this blog in Kenya looking for photographic equipment to buy or to rent, please feel free to contact me and I will let you know whether I can help out or not.

Enough about equipment, time to talk photography again, … more next week.

All the best,