Behind the Frame – 11 April 2012

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment


Welcome to the second edition of Behind the Frame.


Yes, we have been posting our own images, and sharing some thoughts behind the image, for quite some time now but since last week things have changed.


Last week was the first edition where other wildlife photographers could also start posting their images and share some of their thoughts, whether from an artist or technical point of view, on the blog.  I still feel that one of the best ways to learn and be inspired is to look at other peoples images and get some insight as to the how, what and why.  In the spirit of sharing we then share links to their websites so that you can see more of their work.


So, if you are keen to contribute check out this post for details.  For now, here goes with this week’s images from the following photographers:


– Anthony Robbins

– Marcelle Robbins

– Mark Dumbleton

– Andrew Beck

– Gerry van der Walt


Hope you enjoy!


I Don’t Get It by Anthony Robbins



Canon 1D Mark III, 400mm, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 1000

Kruger National Park, South Africa


Sometimes photography is not all about light, composition etc but rather opportunities, this is one such moment.


It was a rainy day in the Mopani area of the Kruger National Park, overcast, dull, no golden light and so we decided that there was no rush to get up early and head out. Eventually we ended up driving around, cameras ready, but just enjoying the bush without looking through a lens.


We ended up at a large open plains area occupied by a large amount of game including a good few groups of zebras. After quite some time we noticed a specific zebra family moving closer and we soon realised that there was loads going on. The family were fighting, rolling in the mud, playing, grooming each other and in general giving us quite a show. This really caught my attention and out came the camera, black bag in tow (cheap lens raincoat).


The zebras were so engrossed with chasing and playing with each other  that they did not give any attention to us, until they got too close for their comfort and proceeded to “Flehmen” straight at me. What a classic opportunity these zebras gave me.


The sequence of photos I took that day taught me two very important things about wildlife photography.

Always have your camera ready and stop chasing the photos, they will present themselves.


Lesson learnt, not easily forgotten.


Anthony’s Links:

Facebook Page



Anthony Robbins


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Chameleon Tail by Marcelle Robbins



Canon 10D, 105mm, manual focus

Kruger National Park, South Africa


Many years ago watching an obscure television program, I saw how macro photography could highlight textures within an object, living or not. Back then I had no camera equipment at all, but very firm ideas of certain shots I would love to take should I ever have the opportunity.


One of those ideas was to capture the swirl of a Chameleon tail. I have always been fascinated by the textures of reptile skin, add to that the perfect circle that a curled up Chameleon tail makes and in my head I could see an image that I would be well pleased with.


The years went by and I finally managed to get my hands on some camera equipment, passed down to me from my husband. Everywhere I went I always looked for the certain subjects that I have always wanted to photograph.


In December of 2011, we finally found a macro lens for me. Second hand yes, but a good starter lens for my slowly increasing macro equipment collection. Two days later we were off on a whirlwind break at Kruger National Park.


I was beyond excited to try out my new lens that I had yet to learn anything about. Could you imagine my joy when one of the first available subjects for me to photograph was a beautiful and friendly Chameleon. After years of having this specific image tumbling around in my head, I finally managed to capture it!


I would definitely do a better job of it now as I have a much better understanding of my equipment and I have way more experience, but this image will forever remain one of my treasures.


To finally see my “vision” come to life in this photograph, was a truly rewarding experience.


Marcelle’s Links:

Facebook Page



Marcelle Robbins


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Flaming Namibian Rainfall by Mark Dumbleton



Nikon D700, 16mm, 1/5 sec, f/11, ISO 200, Lee ND Grad Filters

Excelsior Farm, Namib Rand, Namibia


Namibia has been high on my list of destinations to travel to for a long while, and finally in March of 2012 I embarked on a 10 day trip into the heart of this incredible landscape. Namibia’s rainfall season is generally from November to April, and I decided it being fit to travel here during this period. I wanted the epic skies!


I spent some time on a farm in the Namib Rand conservancy called Excelsior. The farm had a lot to offer and created a magical destination for some wonderful landscape photography during our stay.


Our first afternoon shoot was the best of the entire 10 day trip. Rain had been falling all afternoon all around us, and this created incredible photographic potential, which increased even more with the prospect of a clear horizon, which if stayed the way it had all day, would create some “sunset” magic.


We photographed all afternoon, shooting rainbows, golden sunlight, rain and shifting storms, but it wasn’t until the sun made it to the horizon and shone through the clearing in the cloud, that an amazing light show begun. Heavy rain was falling to the west as an ethereal yellow glow, which later turned into the flaming orange glow you see in this image as the sun began dipping below the horizon.


I had scouted the area beforehand, I had a composition planned shooting to the west. I set up my camera, filters, made sure of my exposure, tripped the shutter and an immense feeling of satisfaction emerged as I thought to myself, this is what it’s all about, this is the essence of Namibia, and it felt good having captured something magical.


This is the journey through photography I love! It’s chasing that feeling of satisfaction, chasing the light, capturing the essence of a destination, and above all, enjoying the wilderness and wildlife we encounter along the way. Namibia was epic, and everyone in their lifetime should experience the essence of this incredible beauty.


Mark’s Links:

Mark’s Website

500px gallery


Mark Dumbleton


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Pearly by Andrew Beck




Canon  1D MK III, 400 mm, 1/40, f/5,6 ISO 2500

South Africa

A roman philosopher once said that “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. I have found this to ring true in many aspects of my life and none more so than in Photography.


All to often, fantastic photographic opportunities may be recognized but not captured in a way which satisfies the photographer – be it on camera or afterwards, during editing. Preparation for the photographer means working out which combination of settings works best to capture scenes given various lighting scenarios. One of the toughest scenarios for most photographers is photographing at night with a spotlight.


Before I continue, let me set to rest any questions about the use of the spotlight in this image – it was only shone on the owlet for a brief moment and that is why the bird is relaxed and has its eyes open.


The recipe?

– ISO : up

– Aperture : Wide Open (Low f stop)

– Metering Mode: Spot (although given the time I had I was not able to change this from Evaluative)

– Stability : Wedge your camera against anything you can to prevent any camera shake.


The result, as fast a shutter speed as possible to capture a sharp image under the low light conditions. With a bit of luck and a securely wedged camera I was able to capture a pretty sharp image even with a shutter speed of 1/40 of second. Had I not been as prepared as I was, and been able to dial in the correct settings as quickly as I did, I would have missed the opportunity all together.


There is some debate as to who actually said the following but I believe it was the famous golfer Gary Player:


“The More I practice, the luckier I get”


Get to know your camera and its settings, practice as much as possible in as many scenarios as possible, search for the opportunities and who knows, you might just get lucky!


Andrew’s Links:

500px gallery


Andrew Beck


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Lion in the Mist by Gerry van der Walt



Canon 7D, 28mm, 1/8000, f/2.8, ISO 200

Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


When you head out into the bush, whether on a normal game drive or photographic safari, you never know what you are going to get.  On a very misty morning we head out into the Madikwe Game Reserve and within 10 minutes of leaving the lodge we found a large male lion walking through the mist, roaring all the time.


Forgetting the photographic side of things, the experience of being out in the field with so much mist that you could hardly see 20 meters in front of you while listening to Africa’s largest cat proclaim his territory was almost dreamlike.  Something I will never forget.


As we followed the lion through the thickets the mist seemed to lift for just a second as the sun became visible and we could just see the dark shape moving through bush and that’s when I grabbed this shot.  As luck would have it I had my camera set on JPEG after working through some of the settings with a client but the Canon 7D did a very good job of capturing the scene.  The only thing I had to do in post processing was lift the darks and shadows a bit in Lightroom 4 and that was that.


This type of image might be everybody’s cup of tea but I was quite chuffed with the way I was able to capture the scene.  It’s something different to the normal ‘lion-walking-through-the-bush’ image and a great visual memory of a special morning out in the field.


Gerry’s Links:

500px gallery


Until next time.


Gerry van der Walt


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