Behind The Frame: Madikwe Wild Dog Kill

Andrew Beck Andrew Leave a Comment

I must apologise for being absent from the blog the last couple of weeks. First we were in Madikwe with Isaac (our partner from kenya) and then this week I have been finalising the costings for our 2014 Migration safaris. All this activity hasn’t left much time to share with you all on the blog… Until now…

Last week we spent a couple of days in madikwe doing some brainstorming and planning for the future but we always found time to get out on drive. On one of our morning drives we responded to a wild dog sighting where a pack of wild dogs had successfully chased a kudu bull into the fence-line.

Wild dogs in many conservation areas have adapted to hunt using the fence-lines, using them as a substitute for a natural barrier. Running parallel to the fence-line they will flush any game into the fence where it is cornered and then disembowelled. Its a fact, fence-lines make hunting that much easier for what is already one of the most successful species when it comes to quantifying success rates for hunting.

Blood and guts (literally in this instance) usually dominate the scene of a wild dog kill as the pack rips away at their quarry – this scene was no different. I’m not a fan of sharing these kind of images usually but I felt that the dappled golden light of the first rays of sun hitting the face of the wild dog to the left of frame made for an interesting story.

Madikwe kudu & Wild Dog

Canon 1D MKIV, ISO 1000, 300mm @ f6,3, 1/1000

Compositionally I was very lucky that I was able to fit the entire scene into frame without clipping the tips of the horns. This was thanks to my position in the back seat of the vehicle but the main point here is that I was aware of how much space I had in the frame and was cautious not to clip the tips of the horns. Something to keep in mind when working with prime lenses!

Anyway, let me know what you think and if you feel that the image works!

Andrew Beck

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Comments 0

  1. Mike

    If you are going to take images of wildlife, then you need mages of them doing what they do. And wild dogs eat kudu. And if folks don’t like that, well the. They can look at the myriad of lions lion’ around (see what I did there?) that are on the web.

    I have a technical question on the processing. On my screen (50% brightness) the lower horn and half of the kudu face is very dark. I know the kudu isn’t the main subject, but is there a reason why you didn’t lighten the shadow there? Just a nitpicking technical question…. Great image nonetheless…

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      Andrew Beck

      HI Mike

      I like your approach! I toyed with the idea of lifting the shadows but the “artist” in me felt that the shadow almost helps portray the image in a different light. As you mentioned, it helps keep focus on the main subject, the wild dog, but on a deeper level perhaps relates to the death of the kudu and give the image a more sombre tone.

      It may be complete BS but that was my thought process when processing the image in this way.

  2. Gavin

    Andrew… I like the image and it definitely tells a story, agree that the gory detail might not make it onto a wall in your house, but still think the story telling is important.

    Mike I enjoy your technical question, although when I saw the image I quite enjoyed how it was dark, taking your focus onto the dog and away from the Kudu…

    Nice one!

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