Behind the Shot: Mister Mara

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel 14 Comments

Thought I’d jump in with another quick post this week, and I haven’t done a “behind the shot” post in some time, so here you go.

On our first afternoon drive on the Wild Eye Great Migration photo safari I hosted with Marlon du Toit last year, we came across a trio of magnificent Elephant bulls on the plains. The were moving directly towards the road we were using, and this afforded us the opportunity to stay ahead of them and try various angles, backgrounds and focal lengths as they came closer (they came up to a few meters of us eventually).

This is one of the photos I captured that afternoon, processed and cropped to taste.


Can’t get much better than this, can it? Lovely tusker. Iconic umbrella tree. Wide open spaces.

Well, the light could have been better – it was overcast and the light was quite flat. What this does do, is it evens out exposure across your subject and makes for increased texture and detail across the whole animal. With elephants, this always makes me itch to try it in monochrome…well, by now you should have seen that I have a bit of a love affair with elephants in monochrome. I’m never lax to try and create something interesting with elephants in monochrome.

Here’s my converted result – plus a few rounds of dodging and burning etc.


Which do you prefer?

And why?

Oh, and space on our Great Migration photo safaris is running at an all-time low…limited spots still available. If you are still contemplating joining us for this bucket-list spectacle later this year, then check out the details of the extended safari and regular safaris.

If you are concerned about safe travel in Kenya given recent events and the bad press surrounding it, you may want to read THIS.

Have a great day, and thanks for tagging along in my musings…

Morkel Erasmus

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Comments 14

  1. Heinrich Neumeyer

    Good morning Morkel

    Hope you are very well.

    Thank you for your incredible shots and insight every day. I really am learning a whole lot. Love the monochrome Elephants. I personally use it a lot as I think their greyish colour really suits monochrome perfectly! I am struggling to get really dramatic skies though. Any thoughts on how to get those clouds really blooming out?

    Keep up the good work and hoping to chat to you lots more!

    Kind regards and best wishes

    Heinrich Neumeyer

    1. Morkel Erasmus

      Hi there Heinrich.

      Thanks for your kind comment. Getting more out of the skies takes a bit of finesse and a few tricks, but as long as the detail/information is there in the file it’s possible to tease it out. Play around with various colour filters when doing conversions, and don’t be afraid to tweak contrast selectively using masks or selections.


  2. Heinrich Neumeyer

    Hi Morkel

    Thank you very much for getting back. Appreciate it a lot!
    I posted a phot0 on the Facebook post from this morning (hope I am allowed too) as an example.

    I will definitely try these tips out.

    Kind regards and best wishes


  3. Jackie

    Hi Morkel – love the Black & white version!
    Background less distracting, tree more visible which balances the pic nicely and my favourite of all: texture on elephant is more visible. Nice one!

  4. Ralf

    Hi Morkel, i’d prefer the monochrome version of the elephant. IMHO the animal dominates and the surroundings are there but not too prominent (as in the color version). Just my humble opinion – thanks for sharing these great images! Great job you’re doing here. 😉

  5. Elizabeth R

    Although I love black and white photos I have to say I love the picture of the Elephant that is colored. My love for animals wants me to see them filmed in color most of the time. Keep up the great work that you do !

    1. Morkel Erasmus

      Thanks Elizabeth, and each of us is entitled to our preferences in this regard. That’s what makes photography so awesome – it’s art and some will love it and some will prefer something else.

  6. unknown admirer from US

    Bravo! I’m simply a passing elephant art lover. I thought however, to add my opinion passing through cyber space. To be quite sure, you’re art is exceptional, and the monochrome lovely, but I prefer the edited color version.
    I am personally fond of the natural contrast this particular species has. In such a rapidly changing world, this animal continues to transcend into an almost ancient image. You catch it’s quality perfectly.

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