Behind the Frame: Forest Light

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel Leave a Comment

There’s something about Mana Pools.

It’s the quality of the overall experience, the wilderness, the connection with nature.

For photographers, it’s also the quality of the light. The light is soooo right.

During our photographic safari to Mana in August 2014, we spent one particular afternoon on foot with a gentle elephant bull. To those who frequent the area he is known as “Fred Astaire” because of the dubstep he performs when going into bipedal mode to reach the juicy leaves and pods of the winterthorn trees.

As the sun was setting, our Zimbabwean guide and I positioned our guests so that we could capture the sun’s last rays filtering through the forest before it sank behind the Zambian escarpment (a bit easier to do if you can just walk around to the correct position, being on foot in Mana rocks). Anticipating the opportunity for incorporating a starburst into the shot, I suggested they increase their apertures to a high number like f11, f16 or f22 if their lenses allowed it, to enable them to capture this…given the low light this was a challenge as you need to trade off ISO and shutter speed for aperture.

Subject: African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Location: Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe IUCN Listing: Vulnerable Gear: Nikon Df, Nikkor 80-400mm VR @ 125mm Camera Settings: f11; 1/80 SS; ISO-1400 Post Processing: Basic adjustments Story: There truly are no fitting words to describe the feeling of spending an afternoon watching the sun set through the forest canopy on the floodplains along the Zambezi river in Mana Pools, in the presence of a very relaxed elephant bull going about his business of stuffing his face with foliage. My guests and I were enjoying such an afternoon when I snapped this image which evokes so much of what I love about Mana - the trees, the enigmatic light, the wildlife that allows for close on foot encounters, and the sense of being in a part of Africa that time seems to have forgotten.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 80-400mm VR @ 125mm
Settings: f11; 1/80 SS; ISO-1400


There are still limited spots left to join me or Marlon in Mana Pools this year.

It truly is a place that cannot be explained fully in words or images, it needs to be experienced.

Share this Post

About the Author

Morkel Erasmus

Facebook Twitter Google+

Just a regular guy, camera in hand, overcome by the beauty of the African continent, and passionate about sharing this beauty with others!

2016 Mana Pools Photo Safari

Join Morkel in Mana Pools!

More info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *