Essence of elephants
Since first picking up a camera, Greg has photographed African elephants. ‘I’ve always wanted to capture their special energy and their state of consciousness,’ he says.
The shot was taken at a waterhole in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve from a sunken hide. Greg used a slow shutter speed to create the atmosphere and ‘to depict these gentle giants in an almost ghostly way.’ He used a tilted wide-angle lens to catch the size of any elephant entering the foreground, and a narrow aperture to create depth of field so that elephants in the background would also be in focus.
To emphasise their mystery, he attached a polarising filter and set his white balance to a cool temperature. The lucky final touch was the baby elephant, which raced by so close. The slow shutter speed conveyed the motion, and a burst of flash at the end of the exposure froze the fleeting detail.
Nikon D3s + 16-35mm f4 lens + polarising filter; 1/30 sec at f22; ISO 800; Nikon SB-900 flash + SC28 remote cord; mini-tripod; Nikon cable-release.
Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana
Love this image?
Choose your favourite from this year's collection. You can only choose once.
Greg du Toit, South Africa
Born in South Africa, Greg studied nature conservation before working as a wilderness guide in the Timbavati Game Reserve. His days spent stalking animals proved invaluable when he became a professional wildlife photographer. Greg’s photos have been exhibited from New York to Singapore and profiled in international magazines. His first book on African wildlife has just been published.