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,