21 February 2011

Roan antelope

On the Nyika Plateau one evening I stopped near a small group of roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus). The low sun lit the big animals from the wrong side but I photographed anyway. I'm glad I did.

[23 May 2007, Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L IS, ISO 200, 1/1000s at f5.6] 

All content © 2011 Pete McGregor


Lydia said...

Breathtaking, Pete. What a heavenly animal, captured to perfection by your lens.

Am here wondering if all is well with your family in Christchurch. The first reports I've seen of the new earthquake show such terrible destruction and I am saddened and worried for everyone there. My thoughts are with you.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you Lydia. My brother and his family are fine, and their house appears unscathed, too. The damage, although terrible, appears to be reasonably localised (much like the September quake). However, I'm worried about two friends in particular, one with a business in a particularly hard-hit area, the other resident in Lyttelton, the epicentre.

The stress on so many Christchurch residents after the big September quake, the thousands of aftershocks and now this, must be almost inconceivable.

Thanks for your thoughts — much appreciated.

vegetablej said...

I'm always, as in every time, struck by your ability in portraiture. I think you must have an extremely good lens and a lot of patience to get such wonderful character in your animal shots.Any comments on this to share? I'd love any hints.

And I love this picture.You can see its eyelashes.


pohanginapete said...

VJ, thank you :^) This lens is the main reason I haven't yet switched from Canon — it simply has no equivalent, at least not at a sensible price (and even then, it's the single most expensive item of camera gear I own). On the other hand, most of my portraits of people have used Canon's 24–105 mm, for which other manufacturers do have comparable lenses; however, choice of lens is much less important for that kind of photography (I can hear the howls of outrage from the gear freaks already — but try photographing a wild bird with anything less than a good 300 mm on a reduced-frame sensor and you'll take my point).

That being said, too many people get too hung up on gear, especially when all they ever do with the photos is view them on a computer monitor. For that, lens quality doesn't matter much. Try doing a big print and it's another matter.

I'm actually much less patient than you think. With animals, I think I do have a reasonable understanding (more tacit than conscious) of their behaviour, which sometimes lets me get closer and pick my moment. In fact, cars are usually wonderful aids — in many situations much more important than the lens. I photographed this from the car (again, realising that stopping suddenly would have spooked the group, so I slowed very gradually); if I'd been on foot I'd probably have needed a lens twice the size (and 4–5 times the price) for this photo.

On foot, never walk directly towards an animal — zigzag slowly and if it seems uneasy, stop and look away until it settles down.

With people, ... well, I don't really know. I like people, and maybe that's important.

vegetablej said...

Thanks, Pete! I know you probably have it somewhere and maybe I 'd trip over it..., but I can't quite seem to find what "this" Canon lens is. I'm also a beginner so I need baby talk.

My daughter is also interested.

I'll practice my zigzag.


pohanginapete said...

VJ, the lens is the Canon EF 300mm f4 L IS. Canon's "L" series lenses are intended to be their top lenses and unfortunately the prices reflect that.

I'm just about to head down to photograph the annual bouldering competition at Baring Head, so can't elaborate more right now, but feel free to email me.