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Bull Elephant

I was canoeing on the Zambia River in Mana Pools National Park when this bull elephant charged up to the edge of the river on high river bank with its ears out....
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I was canoeing on the Zambia River in Mana Pools National Park when this bull elephant charged up to the edge of the river on high river bank with its ears out.
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2 Comments | Report
RafaTakami November 06, 2022
Oh wow, amazing shot!
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RDVPhotography November 07, 2022
Thank you Rafa, it was a bit of a heart stopping moment
sophiedv July 27, 2023
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RDVPhotography August 04, 2023
Thanks Sophie
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Behind The Lens

This photo was captured in Mana Pools National Park. The park is in the far north of Zimbabwe. It includes the south bank and islands of the Zambezi River, which forms the border with Zambia. The park is known for wildlife visibility beside the river and in the flood plains. Large populations of elephants, hippos and Nile crocodiles gather at sunrise in the Long Pool. We were canoeing in the river at the time of this photo.
We headed back to our camp about 4:30 PM and completely surprised when this bull elephant charged towards the river bank.
As we were paddling in a northeasterly direction and the elephant approached from our right the light was fairly even shooting in a southeasterly direction with full sun. Just a bluebird day sky so no real clouds for background.
I used a Canon 50D, this was ten years ago and this was my first DSLR Camera. I had a Canon EF300 f/4L IS USM lens on and used settings of f/11 with 400 ISO and 1/400 sec, hand held in a moving canoe.
This was a completely unexpected encounter as we were headed back to camp. We heard an elephant trumpet sound and could see some dust flying when all of a sudden the elephant appeared on the high bank above us with ears out and seemed somewhat agitated. I rolled off about 7 shots and this was the best.
I used Lightroom and On1 Effects for editing this image. I started in LR using spot removal mainly in the sky then went to Camera Profile of Faithful. Next I enabled Lens Profile for the 300mm lens. Following this I made lighting adjustments using shadows & highlights sliders as well as black & white sliders. I also adjusted the Light and Dark tones using the Tone Curve. Following those adjustments I used the HSL/Color Luminance sliders to adjust the sky a bit and also a couple Hue & Saturation sliders. I then took the image to On1 Effects for final adjustments using Tone Enhancer, Sharpening and Noise Reduction.
In my camera bag
When I went on this trip I had two bags and each had a purpose. Bag 1 had my 5DMKII (Full Frame Camera) along with my 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-105mm f4.0 and 70-200 f/2.8. These items work mainly for everything except wildlife. Bag 2 had a 50D (APS-C) camera along with a 24-70 f/2.8 and 300mm prime, and was mainly my for wildlife. Back then if I was traveling by car I would take it all. If traveling overseas or by plane only Bag 1 would go. If wildlife phtography was part of the trip, then I would take Bag 1 with both cameras and swap the 70-200 for the 300 prime.
Most important advice is to really plan your trip and get a good travel agent for Africa. Also practice hand holding shots with a long lens. Today I only have a Canon R5 and use the 1.6 crop setting for wildlife as it allows me to get a tighter shot and is great in low light situations. Cropped Sensor Cameras are not real great low light cameras and that is another thing you really need as most photos on a Photo Safari are taken early morning or in the evening.

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