PHOTO TIP OF THE MONTH

Elephant Family at Waterhole:
I was photographing a group of elephants at a waterhole in Namibia's Etosha National Park one afternoon.  I chose to shoot into the sun to get some dramatic backlighting.   I was also excited to see that this group contained a few baby elephants, and everyone loves baby pictures so I tried to make the most of this opportunity. 

I took this image late one afternoon shooting into the sun to get backlighting on the elephants.  Exposing the image properly is critical for these images and difficult.  I used the spot meter in my camera and took a reading on one of the shadowed babies in the front and set my exposure for -0.7stops.  This is as dark as I wanted the babies, so that you could still see detail in their hide.  I could not worry about getting detail in the water.  I spot metered the background elephants and obtained a reading of  0 to +0.3 stops, and I knew I they would also be exposed well.  This is a scene where you need to expose for the shadows and not the highlights.  I also used the fastest shutter speed I could to freeze the motion as the babies were walking.  The slight movement in their legs is fine and helps convey movement. 


Past PhotoTips

September 2004

June 2004

May 2004

April 2004

February 2004

January 2004

December 2003

November 2003