This is more of an update than a good (old fashioned?) blog entry. Mostly just good awards news. My photo "Double Vision" placed as a finalist in the nature category in the World Open Of Photography. It didn't make it into the top three, but I was in pretty good company with some great photographers as a finalist, and was glad it was recognized among so many entries. Another of my images will be on display in January at the 22nd Los Angeles International Photography Art Exposition, photo l.a. "Tree Lines" is one of 20 finalists in the Emerging Focus International Photo Competition that will be on exhibit at the Expo. Earlier this fall I had 16 images come up with Honorable Mentions in The International Photography Awards (IPAs). So a nice ending to a good photo year! I've also been hard at work putting together hundreds of selections for stock and uploading them to Tandem Stills & Motion, where my work will be available for licensing at tandemstock.com.
I will put up a real honest to goodness blog post soon.
This being my first blog post, I thought I'd start with a highlight. Why start with a lowlight? That would leave a bad taste in your mouth, and I may want your to read another post sometime. Of course each trip has it's highlights, but truly unique photo ops are rare and remind you why you schlep all of your gear so many miles to reach these places. I recently returned from another trip to Africa. (Yes, that Africa.) On my first trip to Africa, nearly everything seemed like a great photo op. It took a couple of safaris to get used to all of the things that made me raise my camera (read: nearly everything) and wait for moments that were real opportunities. Every day on safari begins the same way for me. My guide and I leave camp before sunrise looking to shoot in the morning light. Like most wildlife photography, it's a little bit of a crap shoot. Sometimes I end up with just a pleasant sunrise landscape photo, other times maybe some portraits of big animals waking and starting to move around or hunt. And there are plenty of mornings that just don't pan out. This would not be one of those mornings. At sunrise the day before, I had been to a pool with lots of bird activity, a hippo in the water, and great morning light. After checking my images from that day, there were a couple of shots I might want to try again if conditions were similar - knowing that there aren't a lot of second chances in wildlife photography. When we got there, the light was great again as we had hoped, but most of the birds had moved to another side of the pond. In their place was a beautiful lechwe (in the antelope family) in the middle of the water, and four hungry hyenas circling it from shore. I'm used to seeing hyenas scavenging for food or taking advantage of a wounded animal, so to see them hunting a large healthy animal in water was unusual. The lechwe was trapped in the water, which isn't a horrible thing as they're very well adapted to water - the hyenas - not as much. We sat and watched as the hyenas would close off escape routes and then back off. A couple of the hyenas then started a series of charges into the water to force it into an area where the others were waiting, but the lechwe seemed to outsmart them each time. Each one of these charges was like an act in a play, and the play went on for well over an hour. That hour was during the best light of the day. Perfect lighting for the splashing water, as well as a beautiful way to witness this survival scene. And since they kept repeating their charges, I had the chance to get the settings I wanted with none of the panicking and name calling that usually goes with shooting sudden action scenes. The hyenas eventually tired and got distracted, and the lechwe bolted for shore - joining it's herd a few hundred yards away. It worked out for the lechwe, and for me. One of my mornings that was better than others.