Night of the pelicans
Greg’s car had broken down – he was alone in the bush and it was getting dark. But the location was perfect. Stranded on the edge of Kenya’s Lake Nakuru, he could see about 200 great white pelicans settling down to roost. To get a view from the birds’ eye level, he lay down at the lake’s edge (alert to the danger of emerging hippos) and composed his shot. He decided on a long exposure to capture the atmosphere and timed it to include a pelican flying in. ‘I would look down the valley to see if one was approaching. When I figured it was about three seconds away from being in the frame, I tripped the shutter.’ A burst of flash was just powerful enough to create the ghostly impression of one of the stragglers, with the last of the ambient light reflected off the Rift Valley wall behind.
Nikon D3s + 80–400mm f4.5–5.6 lens at 400mm; 3 sec at f16; ISO 200; Nikon SB-800 flash + remote cord; beanbag.
Lake Nakuru National Park, Nakuru, Kenya.
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Greg du Toit, South Africa
Greg is a professional wildlife photographer and African safari guide. He is the author of two books, African Wildlife Exposed and Phototips - Getting It Right In Camera. Greg is passionate about communicating his appreciation and awe for wild creatures through his work. He was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2013.