Behind the Frame – 16 May 2012

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

Welcome to the seventh edition of Behind the Frame.


The behind the Frame post features  wildlife and landscape images from wildlife photographers who share some of their thoughts, whether from an artist or technical point of view, behind their image.  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.


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:


– Kerry Manson

– Anthony Robbins

– Marlon du Toit

– Andrew Aveley

– Andrew Beck

– Gerry van der Walt


Aldabra Giant Tortoise by Kerry Manson



Sony A500, 18mm 1/40, f/6.3, ISO 800

Denis Private Island, Seychelles


I knew before I arrived in the Seychelles that I needed to get a picture of the famous giant tortoises that live there. After seeing countless photos of them on the internet before my trip I knew it was going to be hard to get a different and good shot. My thoughts before seeing the animal were always to shoot from a low angle looking up at the tortoise to try and show the true size of these animals and that was going to be my shot.


So eventually the time came when I saw them I knew what I had to do, get down and dirty in their food and other things. The problem was that every time I went down to photograph them they would go back in their shell, so it took a while for them to get used to me. While waiting I noticed their faces showed so much more expression than I realized they could and so my mind changed to take a portrait type picture of a wise old tortoise. I wanted to show what I thought the tortoise was thinking. I lay on my stomach and got covered in mosquito bites and waited for the tortoise to stop eating and look directly at me in a thoughtful pose.


I’ve always known and been told that it is wise to stay around your subject as long as possible to possibly see some action or movement. Even though the tortoise’s movement was slight, in the end it worked out for me.


Kerry’s Links



500px Gallery


Kerry de Bruyn


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Ah Sand by Anthony Robbins



Canon 1D Mark III,  1.1000, f/5.6, ISO 200

South Africa


This particular photo was just a really cool moment for me. This day I was so concerned about getting sand in the lens and camera body but as soon as I came across these birds I forgot all about the sand and got caught up in the moment. They flew all around me, sometimes with the ocean behind them but the ones I liked the most was when they flew past the sand dunes. When this particular bird landed and the sand blew straight into its face it reminded me that I to was getting sand blasted from behind.


Amazingly it did not seem to worry the birds at all.

Beach sand is some of the finest sand in the world and it amazes how it gets through the smallest of gaps. Look after your equipment, especially if you only have limited equipment like me. Good cleaning equipment is worth it as well as a good bag.


Technical’s are fairly simple here as it was in the late afternoon and the sun was setting, there was a little cloud around so I had to keep adjusting as the sun popped out from behind the clouds. Aperture was set to f 5.6 and my ISO was at 200 which gave me a SS of 1/1000 fast enough for a bird on the ground but remember I was taking birds in flight just before it landed. I could of upped the aperture but I wanted to keep a shallow DOF (depth of field).


Processing, I cropped a little and again kept it to a minimal. I did up the exposure a little and then adjust my levels, shadows/highlights and curves. Sharpening done after all adjustment, always do at the end of all changes.


Do yourself a favor, sometimes take a photo just for you….I bet others will like it too 🙂


Anthony’s Links:

Facebook Page



Anthony Robbins


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Protective Mother by Marlon du Toit



Canon 1D Mark III, 20mm, 1/2000, f/8, ISO 500

Sabi Sands, Soutn Africa


We startled this cow and her two calves as we drove along late afternoon.


She backed away from the road and stirred up alot of dust in a protective manner. She also picked up some dust and caked herself in it, a common form of “displacement behavior”.


The dust and the low sun created the most beautiful mood and I had to capture the moment of a mother protecting her two calves.


Marlon’s Links:

Facebook Page


500px Gallery


Marlon du Toit


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Perspective by Andrew Aveley



Canon 5D MK III, 15m, 30sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600

Port Elisabeth, South Africa


I recently went to a weekend outing of a photography group from Face Book’s  in the Southern Cape. They are very active in the Port Elizabeth area and are a great bunch of people. I have been a member for a while and it was a great experience to finally meet and chat face to face. As with any good old fashioned ‘braai’ , a few cold ones were enjoyed and interesting subjects and ideas where discussed.


The overcast clouds and FOG lifted and late into the evening it was decide that it was time for some of the members to use techniques discussed during the evening to the test. We all found some place along the rocks next to the ocean and went about shooting the evening skies. The most amazing thing for me was the joy and excitement on many of the faces as they captured some of there first Nocturnal Landscapes.


I managed to shoot a few frames with my landscape lens and also decided to try my favorite ‘out the box’ lens , Da Fisheye . Using the back lighting from a nearby group of buildings , I was able to extend the exposure time a little for some foreground detail. There was a small yellow colour cast from the ambient light which I reduced in post processing , but some of the rocks have a very yellow coloring at low tide so it was no biggie for me. The composition was strengthened with the milky way escaping out the ocean and it was cool to also capture some of the phosphor in the distance from my position. The use of a fisheye is not one that can really add to many images but for me, this image was strengthened because of it.


Don’t be afraid to experiment and try things anywhere and with the equipment you have. Sharing is also a great way to learn and improve your knowledge, no matter what you feel your experience level is!


Peace & Light


Andrew’s Links:


500px Gallery


Andrew Aveley


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Mara Eland by Andrew Beck



Canon EOS 1D MKIV, 600mm, f/4.0, ISO 160, 1/1600

Masai Mara, Kenya


During last years trip up to the Masai Mara I have to admit that I was really prepared for the diversity of game in this region. It is certainly not all about the incredible numbers of wildebeest and zebra that move through the Mara between August and October – there are plenty of other surprises along the way.


One of these was this large Eland bull which got quite a fright as we came up from a valley and out onto the open plains. As soon as he saw us he turned and started to trot away in typical eland fashion. This is where understanding the behavior of wildlife comes in handy. I have seen on many occasions how a herd of Eland are initially spooked at the presence of a vehicle, with the herd inevitably getting anxious and starting to move away. More often than not though, there will always be one or two individuals that will stop, turn, and face you directly as the rest of the herd continue to move off. This bull was a classic example and after running for 50m or so he stopped, turned around and presented himself for a short while before moving off again.


What is the lesson here?


Take the time to study your subject and get to know their behavior a little better. The tell tale signs that  bird is about to take of, or that a pride of lions is about to get up and start to move, or that a leopard is about to yawn. When you can pick up and understand these signs you will find that you are able to anticipate the perfect moment and capture the image that you are looking for.



Andrew’s Links:

500px gallery

Andrew on Twitter


Andrew Beck


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Intensity by Gerry van der Walt



Nikon D700, 600mm, 1/500, f/7.1, ISO 800

Masai Mara, Kenya


There are few things in nature as intense to photograph as a massive herd of wildebeest thundering through a river.


From a wildlife photography point of view you have everything.  Subjects, interaction, action, drama, intensity but… you still have to get the shot.  During your first crossing this is sometimes a bit tough as there is so much happening but by following the basics, slowing down and thinking about the image you can create some very powerful images.


In this particular sighting the wildebeest were channeled down a narrow pathway as they stormed towards the river.  This immediately made me look and and shoot the scene in a portrait orientation which would help me to tell the story of the top-to-bottom movement of the herd.


During post processing I decide to go for a monochrome conversion for two reasons.  Firstly the light during this particular crossing was not great which made for a very contrasty image.  Also, and this was my main consideration, the black and white presentation made for a much better image as it tells the story of the chaos and intensity a lot better.  The splash of white in the front adds life and a sense of movement while the repetition of the horns defines this part of the annual wildebeest migration.


Photography is about the entire story.  What you see, how you decide to capture it and also how you process the image.  Tell the sotry!


Gerry’s Links:

500px gallery

Gerry on Twitter


Until next time.


Gerry van der Walt


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