NancyAttwater
NancyAttwater

Thika



Portrait of an elephant.

Portrait of an elephant.
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Superb Composition
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Absolute Masterpiece
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Magnificent Capture
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The African Continent Photo ContestTop 20 class
The African Continent Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Anything Animals Photo ContestTop 30 class
Anything Animals Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Monochrome Masters ProjectTop 30 class
Monochrome Masters ProjectTop 30 class week 1
A World In Black And White Photo ContestTop 10 class
African Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class
African Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
African Wildlife Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
All Things Black And White Photo ContestTop 10 class
All Things Black And White Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Happening At The Zoo Photo ContestTop 10 class
Happening At The Zoo Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
B&W Masterpieces Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Animal Kingdom Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class
Animal Kingdom Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class week 2
Animal Kingdom Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class week 1
Awesomeness In Black And White Photo ContestTop 20 class
Awesomeness In Black And White Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Awesomeness In Black And White Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1

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1 Comment | Report
joaotaveira
 
joaotaveira July 27, 2015
Love it!
NancyAttwater
NancyAttwater July 28, 2015
Thank you very much joaotaveira.

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Behind The Lens

Location
Although Thika no longer lives there, this image was taken at the Metro Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada. Thika was one of three elephants that made a cross continent journey to live out her days at the Performing Animals Welfare Society, (PAWS), located in California, U.S.A.
Time
This image was taken at about 2 P.M. in the afternoon. It's not an ideal time to take a photo due to the harsh light of the summer day but there are also advantages. Shadows are much more dramatic which is great for monochrome photography. Especially when an animal has wrinkles.
Lighting
I didn't use any special lighting in this image. Thika's face was illuminated by the summer sunlight. In cases where a face is in the shade, I may have added some flash fill.
Equipment
Thika's portrait was taken hand held with a Canon Rebel. This camera has since been retired but it was the first digital SLR that I owned and inspired me to upgrade my gear. The lens was a 70-200 lens and was taken at 72mm. Illuminated by the summer sun, a flash was not required.
Inspiration
Thika seemed to be a very social elephant. She was born in 1980 in the Metro Toronto Zoo and had only ever known zoo life prior to her move to California. It almost seemed like she enjoyed the attention of the crowd watching her, walking directly up to the edges of the enclosure and looking at you straight in the eye. Who wouldn't want to take an image when a magnificent animal seems to be giving you some one on one time.
Editing
This image was processed through PS6 for minor fixes of hue, saturation and colour correction. From there I used NIK software, Silver Efex Pro. It's my go to software for monochrome images at this point. I really like the features and the amount of control you have.
In my camera bag
I used to bring every lens I owned with me when I set out with my camera. Now I tend to bring along only two or three lenses depending of what I intend to photograph. They vary from 10 mm to 300 mm with varying f-stops and I also have a Kenko 2X teleplus Pro if required. Along with that I always carry my tripod, a Canon flash and my Canon 7D. And don't forget that extra battery. A day of photography can be ruined by a dead battery. That's when that perfect moment will always appear before you.
Feedback
The biggest advice I can give about animal photography is to get down to their level. (Or up if you can). We always like to talk to an individual eye to eye and it should be the same for animals. Speaking of eyes, this should be your focal spot. If the eyes are not in focus, your image of the animal cannot convey a feeling to the viewer. It doesn't apply to this image but always watch your background. Distracting backgrounds or tilted horizons draw your attention away from the subject of the image. Watch the light and move your position till you get the lighting your looking for. In a zoo you don't always have this ability but you do with your furry, feathery, scaled friends at home. After all, photography is all about catching the light.

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