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
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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.