Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete’s work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the naturalscapes of Australia. Follow his blog for beautiful Australian and International Landscape Photographs by one of Australia's Leading Landscape Photographers.
I wouldn’t normally write about my birthday as a blog, but I do so as this is dedicated to one beautiful lady whom I call Rosepetal. Vicki is an exceptional lady and it was because of her commitment that I was able to fulfill a dream on my birthday.
For those who know me, know that I love FJ Holden’s which for my overseas friends, is Australia’s frist ever built car and any opportunity that I can get to photography one, I’ll take it.
Well Rosepetal went beyond the call of duty as she researched and researched to find someone who was be willing for me to photograph Australia’s first car.
She contacted all of the car clubs including the FJ Holden car clubs and they all said no. She eventually found one person and bless his soul, Colin was a lone voice in the wilderness who was more than happy for me to spend a few hours photographing his car.
What makes this car even more special is that it is not a restored car but rather a car that has been so well maintained as this was he dads car and Colin drives his dad car with so much pride. I was such a hoot to recall and listen to stories related to this car.
In the context of time, life is short so it is so important to enjoy whatever time that we have left.
It is also awesome to see a son love his dad the way Colin did.As Colin drives his dads car , it will always be that connection with his dad, will always be those flood of memories as he sits in the car and starts it up.
Rosepetals unconditional love is moving and wonderful.This is one special woman who has decided to stay with me where others in the past have said “yes” and then have left.She has the best heart of anyone that I have met along with my amazing and awesome daughter.
It was a special day to spend with Vicki and my Tess.Tess Flew in from Sydney to spend it with her dad. Tess’s words in her card to me, reduced me to tears as she knows how to put pen to paper so well. It was awesome to skpe Jed and Rosie on my birthday as well and it is so hard to believe that he has been in the USA and Canada for almost 3 years living his dream. Go Jed, never stop living ya dream mate.
It was the best birthday spent with these two remarkable women. Time is moving fast and turning 60 is a shock , hence the reason it is so important to spend your time with the love of your life, spend time doing what brings you joy and to leave all of the nonsense behind. Two many people won’t let go of the past and only like being nasty and wanting to cause others harm.There is a lot I could say here as I reflect back on the past, but that can before another blog down the track.
It is so nice to have finally someone who has accepted me for who I am, who knows all of my past and still want to be with me until its my time to go to heaven.
The card featured here is also dear to me as a good friend of 30 plus years spent a lot of time on this card and both of the pictures reflect aspects of me. It was take too long to go into the reasons as to explain the pics but to my awesome friend Barry, I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement and support over such a long time.
When you embark your journey of life,little do you know who you will meet and over the course of time, people will come and go out of your life and there will be some who will last forever until it is your turn to go to heaven.Barry and his awesome wife have been friends of mine for such a long time and he always stays in contact and that amazing given I went through a divorce almost 10 years ago.Others fall away from the side but not this man.
Many moons ago I stated a basketball team called ‘The Mob” and Barry was one of the founding members and we have so many awesome memories and I was not expecting this amazing card when they invited myself and ” Rosepetal” over for dinner recently. Thank you so much and for the wonderful card. Now this card is massive and I should have put a 20 cent piece next to it so you could see how big it is.
We have some other exciting news not to far but that will have to remain a mystery for the time being. This will be a birthday I’ll always cherish for all of the right reasons and Vicki and myself plan of growing older and fatter together. Bring it on whooohooooo.
To take a good picture and to capture something that stands out a little from the rest means there are several things that you need to do. I’ve spoken about this in the past and I’ll keeping talking about this subject every now and again and hopefully the examples that I show will encourage you to take this article on board..
Often I’m asked, “Wow how did you get those shots etc. and so on. Having patience and spending time in one place and not moving to another location will help achieve the shots that people ask, “ how did you get that shot. ”The secret for many of the shots that I take where there is emotion in the shots comes from having patience and then putting that patience into practice..
The series of pictures in this blog were taken at Monarto open Range Zoo here in Adelaide where I live. This biggest in the word outside of Africa itself.
Last week Vicki and myself spent an entire day on the one spot. I said to her, the way to getting good shots about any subject is being prepared to spend time at a place, not to be impatient and saying to yourself’ Nothing is going to happen here, so lets go.’ Often when you do get up and go, that is when something happens.
Yes there are times when nothing at all happens, I get that but unless you give it a go you’ll always be wondering.
At Monarto, I run my own specialized photo tour there where we are up close and personal with the animals, where we get time to spend at each place in the enclosure with the animals. The end results are always rewarding and you’ll get shots that you cannot get while doing the standard tour that is offered there.
When we arrived, Vicki and myself did the tourist thing and did a lap of the open range zoo, in their provided bus. The end result of that was it made me even appreciated more the programme that I run there and my guests are very lucky when they join the tour as the time you get in each enclosure and to have the window down to shoot the animals, is leaps and bounds ahead of there normal tour for Monarto.
The time in each enclosure was between 30 seconds and 90s being the longest. Those who have done my photo tour there would appreciate it even more if they were to go back and do the regular tour that the zoo offers.That’s why I run the Photo Tours there as ut all about the time spent, having time and no matter where you are , no matter what you are photographing, time and patience is the key to coming away with pictures that will be different from those who don’t spend time.
So after doing their regular tour, which wasn’t that long, we decided to put into practice what our purpose was. We wanted to get some shots of the baby giraffe that was born bout a month ago and to do that, we were going to spend the entire day waiting….. and waiting at the one spot!!!!
When you wait long enough and you wait for the wildlife to get closer to you ,you’ll be able to take their portraits and framing and composition is just so important. Knowing how to use the light and working in with the animals movements are also crucial in achieving nice and emotive portraits of the animals.
Wildlife even in captivity is unpredictable; you never know how far away it will be from you. Our mission was to stay at the giraffe platform all day and to see what would come our way.
The series of photos that you see in the blog were a result of just doing that. There were quiet moments when the giraffes were way off into the distance, others times they ventured close enough to make it worth while in taking their pictures.
I can’t stress this enough the key to any amount of success in taking picture is being able to spend time with the subject, not to be rushed. ( This applies to any subject, not just animals)This I know sounds all like common sense and yet, few have the patience to do just that.
One of the things that I state on my photo tours is that it is never about coming away with a 1000 shots wherever you go, it is about walking away with hand full of shots that you are very pleased with.
When was the last time you actually stayed and waited an entire day in one spot and walked away with a collection of images that you were really pleased with vs staying for an hour and walking way with a 1000 images, all which you’ll mostly liking never look at again.
The value of the picture to yourself can be measured in how often you look at it, what emotion is behind the picture and the impact that it has on others.
We live in an era where people are so self absorbed in taking every movement on themselves.
When I’m just waiting in one spot for the day I’m always looking and observing what is before me and if the wildlife comes close enough to me, I love working with the abstract. This is only possible when the wildlife is close enough and that comes with patience. All of my shots are perceived in my head before I put the camera to my eye. I can see the picture before I take it and with the following abstracts that you see, I was able to see them before I put the camera to my eye. That comes when you have time in a place, it comes when you are prepared to simply wait and wait. Are you prepared to stay in one spot for the day?
Not that long ago I was running a photo tour in Australia and there was this couple there. Normally at sunrise I’m usually the only one there with my group at this spot but this morning we were graced by the company of this couple. I’m not stretching the truth but this couple would have taken well over 400 shots of themselves at the different points of this place. The funny thing is, given they were so close to themselves, they would have not seen the background, as their faces would have dominated the frame. How many pictures of the self do we need to take? Nothing wrong with taking a few pics of where you are with friends etc. but it’s become such an obsession today.
So we take our 1000 pictures of our self all which most will never be looked at again or deleted perhaps and I think this style of mentality in shooting has made us lazy in our approach in taking quality shots as opposed to quantity of shots .It also has made us lazy.
The biggest negative of the digital revolution is that it has made us lazy, self absorb and we have lost the ability to be prepared to wait, spend time and observe. We live in a world where our attention span has been reduce to very little.
Taking pictures is a craft where you take the time to know how to take time to work out your composition. With the millions of pics that are taken all over the place, what strikes me the most is the complete lack of composition and thought that is placed into the picture which is very little.
Being at a place, spending time, not being in a hurry should encourage you to look at the subject, you be able to look at your composition and to wait for it to happen.
All of these pictures that you see in this blog, I thought about the composition, waited for that to come about was all at the forefront of the picture taken. When I’m at a spot, composition is what I look for to add more emotion to the pictures. Remember when you take a picture , this is your sole opportunity to show the world what you see through your eyes , so make it count.
Now you will notice that there is dirt road in the pictures, well one cannot do anything about that as this is what is in the landscape. Many I know what clone the track out where, as I prefer to leave it there, as this was the setting where the pics were taken.
I love it when you are able to get good close ups of the subject as it makes it more engaging, more emotive and these shots in this blog came about when the animals on their own accord make their way to you. Most animals are inquisitive at times and will at some stage move closer to explore what is before them. Spending time at a place requires only one thing, patience.
Monarto is an outstanding place and the temptation to see everything in a day and that’s fine but if you want to be able to come home with some pleasing shots that will be emotive, that help tell a story , then you will achieve that if you have the patience to wait.
It is not uncommon for me to go to a location and stay for the entire day. I have dome this on so many occasions and the photographs that I walk away with always put a smile on my face and it continually teaches me that you can never have the attitude, been there done that.
What you put into your photography is what you get out of it. If photography is a strong passion of yours, then make sure if you go away on holidays with others that you are all on the same page otherwise , you will be very frustrated…hence the reason that its great to do photo tours as you are all on the same page that’s another story for down the track.
What was fascinating with these two, the feather was the main attraction. They were like little kids, so playful. When one had discovered the feather, the other wanted a play as well. Seriously. this was so entertaining, so inspiring and it did the heart well to see these adorable ladies having fun and they were ever so gentle during this time. These creatures can be aggressive to each other when the males are fighting for the rights to mate. The way they do that is to pound each other with their necks but in this case, it was just playful fun. Spending time in one place for the day, you get to see little things like this, the unexpected moments but it is these unexpected moments that stirs the emotions deep within us and put a smile on our faces.
To be continued with a few more pics to be added…..
There are times when you are traveling that you come across your favorite subject to take pictures off. This was the case here. I love old ruins; anything rustic as it is a reminder of the past and even it its run down state it is also a snap shot of the present and the future.
On my photo tours and day workshops, one of the things that I like to stress is for people to tell a story with their pictures. To do this you need to explore the subject, search the angles out and look beyond what is the obvious. By doing this you will grow as a photographer, you will see things in a different light and you will be amazed of the angles and the unlimited photographic opportunities that are in front of you.
There may have been a time when you would have walked right past or just taken the standard shot and that’s it. I have posted several articles about telling a story with your pictures. This is much the same but I just had to post this to show you another example of that story.
When I’m out and about and no matter what it is I’m photographing, I always try to tell that story through pictures. I may not always be successful in doing that, but it is still a lot of fun in looking for the edge in your pictures.
I love photography as it is very expressive and what I like about it most, is that you are showing the world through your eyes which is reflected in the pictures that you take.
Vicki my partner and I were just going for a drive on the long weekend here in Adelaide and we came across this little gem. It is not often that you score an old car on the back of a old truck. For those of us that love things rustic, this is heaven to us.
If rustic is your thing, I do have a Forever Rustic Photo Tour that I run each year and what you are exposed to are things rustic which is totally awesome.
What appeals to me with the rustic things, things that are old is that in your pictures you are persevering a little bit of history and min their decayed state , they have their own charm and there will come a day when some of those things will no longer be standing.
Everytime you snap, you have just recorded history. Go tell a story through you pictures. Pete:)
It is so nice to share the rest of my life with this wonderful warm and adorable woman whom I call , ” Rosepetal” who shares the same interest as my self, who is definitely a far better person than myself. I love seeing the joy in her face when we are photographing together and this subject was no exception. Pete:)
What I love about Photography is that there is always something different to photograph and you can really never say” Been there done that” .. if you do then you have missed the bigger picture of photography I think.
In my 30 years of doing photography as a professional, I have shot this little creature many times but on this occasion, this is one of the most rewarding times that I have had with the Echidna.
Here is a little background to this very unusual creature which I think you’ll find interesting. The echidna has spines like a porcupine, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Some say it has a beak like a bird but personally I can’t see that at all. Also known as spiny anteaters, they’re small, solitary mammals native to Australia and New Guinea. They are not very big and grow to a maximum of about 75 centimetres and weigh up to 10 kilos as adults.
There are two different type of these awesome Photographing Australia’s Echidna’s the short beak as they call it and the long beak. The long beaks are native to New Guinea.
The spines which are found all over its external body are modified hairs and in between the spines, they have their fur.
They can vary as you’ll see in some of the pics that the ones that I photographed in Tasmania, their spikes are very thin and are not as thick and intense as those on mainland Australia.
They live up to 45 years and in captivity it is not uncommon for them to push 50 years unlike the Tasmanian Devil whose life span is roughly 6-7 years.
There are many things that are unusual about the echidna. The male has a 4-headed penis. During mating, two of the heads shut down and the other two expend and fit into her two branched reproductive tracts.
Like most animals in the animal kingdom, there is a ritual for the male to gain rights to be the chosen one to mate with the female. How this is done with these creatures at the beginning of the breeding season the males line up behind the female, nose to tail and there can be up to 12 males and when she is ready to mate, the males will dig a trench around her. They will then push each other own of the trench in the ritual of gaining rights to mate with her; the last male left in the trench with the female has won the honours.
The Echidnas lays eggs just like the platypus as both are mammals. She lays a single egg, which is the size of about a 5-cent piece. It’s soft and leathery and lies in the pouch. 10 days later the baby echidna emerges forth and they are about the size of a jellybean.
The young which are called Puggles, which secret the milk from glands which are found in the pouches.
The Echidna is toothless but what they lose out for not having teeth, they make up for having the “fastest tongue “ in the west and they are so long when extended. They can reach up to 18 centimetres.They use their long sticky tongues to eat ants and insects.
Echidnas are very solitary animals, but they are not territorial and are willing to share their home range with others of their kind. Thye just waddle from place to place, acting as if they don’t have a care in the world.
They only eat termites, ants and other soil invertebrates including beetle larvae which they love. Their strong claws help them break open logs to get to termites that they scoop up with their long tongues.
They are one of the most fascinating creatures to photograph and also one of the hardest. They don’t move fast when walking but although they are slow in walking, its slow enough to make left hard for the photographer to get a really good shot as they are either walking, or if they are shy and not use to people, they will crouch into the ground hiding their heads and can take a while to come out. I have waited up to 45 minutes for the head to rise again. Other times, they can be a free going as one can be and there are no issues with them hiding their heads
Unless they are on open ground that is flat, it can be a challenge to get a descent shot of there faces. The pictures reflected in this blog were taken in Tasmania and on Kangaroo Island. I was so happy to get some decent shots of them and while on Kangaroo Island recently, the one there as so helpful as it was just standing there looking straight at Vicki (my partner) and myself.
You can see by how close Vicki is to this little character and it wasn’t fussed at all. It was so involved in licking up the ants as it had found a little hole that was rich in food for itself.
There are two types of Photographing Australia’s Echidna’s here. The ones that I have been photographing on Kangaroo island have the longer spikes and they are so predominate and the other one which seems to be more life a fur ball with a few spikes thrown in was photographed in Tasmania. I’m not an expert on this creatures and I’m assuming given it is a lot colder in the winter months in Tasmania , the Photographing Australia’s Echidna need more fur for warmth, hence the difference between the two.
This little character was taken in Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and why they need to put themselves at risk to cross the road when the bush on both sides of the road is the same, I’ll never know. The good thing , people do stop for them and allow them to continue on their way.
Seeing them cross the road is a good opportunity to get a good clear shot of their features as you have nothing to obstruct your view.
Then it is you who needs to be careful of the cars!
A coat of short, coarse hair insulates the Echidnas from the cold, hence the Tasmanian ones lacking in spikes and having more fur, while longer hairs act as spines, protecting them from predators. Their sharp spines are 50 mm (2 in.) in length and are composed of keratin, the same material that makes up our fingernails.
It is not always possible but when taking pics of the Echidna, it is better of you can get at ground level as this point of view I feel gives you a better perspective on the animal. It is not easy to do this as the older we get, it is harder to get to ground level and being at ground level you’ll have small grasses and twigs that can obstruct parts of the face. The face is the critical feature to try and capture as it is so different and it is not always easy to capture their eyes. Patience will always pay off in the end.
The above series of shots is thanks to Vicki. It was an awesome opportunity to get it on the log looking for ants. For myself as the Echidna was about to get on top of the log, guess who’s memory card was full.Grrrrr For those who do my photo tours know the term that we give to this and that’s ” Black Hawk Down” and this was a “Black Hawk down moment that I was not hoping for…. but there is always tomorrow.
The Echidna has a low body temperature maintaining temperatures around 31-32° C (87.8-89.6° F). Given the way their legs are positioned, they waddle as they walk as a result of their legs positioning and shape.
Their predators, include goannas (large Australian monitor lizards), dingoes, foxes, feral cats, dogs, eagles, and Tasmanian devils (which even eat the spines).
As mentioned before when threaten they usually roll into a ball and expose only their spikes or they will dig into the ground, again only exposing their spikes.
As you can see how close Vicki was this character. As i mentioned before, they can be stubborn in digging themselves in but not this one on Kangaroo Island. He was happy to pose for the cameras giving us some rewarding shots.
I love this shot and ones like it as it shows how focused they are in getting their food and coming up with sand and dirt all over their faces which takes me back to my own childhood.
I remember my mum shaking her head as when I came back from playing with my friends outside and I would be covered from head to toe in dirt.
This little fella wasn’t too fussed that it couldn’t see where it was going as there eye sight is very poor as it stands and they reply of their very good sense of smell to find their food and their way around things.
To take the perfect panoramic picture, there are many ways that you can do this. You can buy dedicated panoramic cameras, they are expensive, you can buy a special plate to attach to your tripod, the Nodal plate, these are very expensive and wouldn’t be justified by most people. So what is the next best thing for us?
When I teach photography on my workshops I take as much jargon out as to make it very simple.
To take the perfect panoramic photo you need to find the nodal point. I won’t go into the details in explaining what they is, it’s technical, but the basic idea, is that you need to find the place that is most central where you can rotate your camera and still be square to the plane that you shooting towards and that is basically the Nodal point.
If you were to put your camera on a tripod and rotate the head around it will dip to one side and this is not good, it won’t be flat.You’ll get better results with a ball head but you still need to keep it flat and square.
So what do we do then?
The best way of finding the nodal point is to place your camera on your thumb as shown in the picture here and rotate your camera on your thumb. It’s that simple.
1.Things to keep in mind. You need to overlap your picture by a third.
2.Don’t chose a lens that shoots extreme wide, like 16mm etc as this will be too distorted.
3.The best range to use in my opinion is between 35mm – 50mm.
4. Always shoot vertical and not horizontal. Vertical as it gives more depth to the foreground and it allows some give when it comes to photoshop or lightroom when they stitch it together. There will always be a little cropping that you’ll need to do at the end. Shooting it vertical gives you more room to crop.If you chose the right lens,and your horizon is always flat, you’ll have minimum cropping to do..
5.To help keep the horizon flat, I use the focusing points in my view finder. I select those that are in a line to each other and place them on the horizon, 95% of the time, that gives me a flat horizon.
6. Chose to do this when the light is consistent throughout for better results.
7. Take no more than 10 pictures to stitch together-Ideally 7 would be fine.
8. For better results shooting in manual mode and manual focus will give a more consistent result. Having said that, I have shot some of my panos is Av mode and it has been good but on those days, I was had even light overall.
Using the camera in manual mode for controlling light just does that, controls light and you won’t have any great jumps in the level of brightness from each frame.
9. What I always do is take a picture of my hand as the first frame and the last frame. I do this as it is easy to work out your starting and ending points. If you do several panos in a row and you don’t take a picture of your hand at the beginning and end, you will get lost in the number of pictures you have taken and will have little idea where you started and finished.
What is your passion for photography? What are the things you enjoy photographing? Do you just keep to your favorite subjects? Would you go to areas where you might not go?
In this small blog which I have called ‘ The Dump” I talk about no matter where you are, no matter what the situation, if you understand light, you’ll always be able to photograph something that can be special.
Recently I was in the northern Flinders Ranges and I came across a massive dump. It’s more like the dumps you find on farms. The more isolated the farms, the more gear that is discarded over time.
The items can be old fridges, old cooking stoves, old wagons, wheels, cars, motorbikes and trucks. Pretty much anything that was once used to make the farm operate you’ll fine there over time.
In this dump I came across treasures, well treasures in my eyes. This place had the old wagons, wheels, motorbikes, old trucks and so on.
I was in the area for a number of days and on the last few days I had the most amazing skies, which I just love. The mixture of epic skies, along with understanding how light works meant that I could photography anything within this area.
I’ve written before how understanding light is the key to any photography and I can’t stress that enough.
Knowing how light works means no matter what you come across, you’ll always be able to shoot it in the right conditions.
Here at the dump, they had things here that really inspired me, things that I had not seen before and things that had the quirky effect.
As I mentioned before, I love awesomeskies and seeing these skies drift across, and seeing how the light was changing gave me the perfect opportunity to shoot the subjects the way they should be shot.
Often when we are on the road we will come across something that is great to shoot but we are there at the wrong time of the day. The key is, to come back to the spot and to be there at the right time. Now often people don’t do this as they are in a hurry and they let a ordinary situation pass
them by which could have been a stunning time with the right light.
We are always in a hurry but if you are keen on your photography, it is so important to make sure you understand the light and once you under how light works, make sure you use it to your advantage.
When I look at the wagon, I instantly reflected back to when was this last used in its hey day. When was that definitive moment when the owners though to themselves that this will no longer be any use to them?
What was the date when this cart took its last official ride,. These questions I also asked for the other items that I shot over the time spent here.
I chase the skies and when the skies are there, for me , that is the time to shoot and all that is left to do is to know how you are going to compose the shot.
To most this is likely to be junk, trash and something that has no value to it but to others, it becomes photographic treasures to be photographed.
Light will always be the defining moment is all that we photograph and the skies for me, is the perfect marriage of the two.
When you understand light, when you understand the skies above you and how they work, then these two elements will always bring your subject alive.
When the skies change, you can go back to the same subject and a different sky will always give you a different feel to the picture that you are abiout the take. Pete:)
This Old House is rather famous. This would be one of the most photographed old houses in Australia. It lies on the major road that leads just outside Burra in South Australia. Most people stop to take the picture of this old ruin. It has been featured in many commercials including a Qantas commercial that was shot a number of years ago.
In this blog, I am going to show two series of pictures. Both are of the same theme of the old ruin. One was shot over 6 hours before the grass turned green and the other one in winter where the grass has turned green , over 5 hours as a result of winter.
The series where the grass is not green was shot at the beginning on winter before the heavy rain came and the grass had not turned. This was shot this year in 2017 and normally this old ruin would have a crop in it. This year is the year for the land to be rested.
I have shot this old ruin consistently over 30 years and I could do a book just on the moods of this old ruin. So why have I shot it for such a long time? Well hopefully when you see the images, that will answer that question. maybe later I will do a blog on this old place showing it spanning over 30 years.
I have written other blogs about patience and photography is just that. Patience is one of the key elements in photography. Many of the images that you see that inspire you, just don’t present it self to you. Many are a result of time and patience. Sounds simple doesnt it? How many people could actually sit for 6 hours and observing the clouds, the changing light and the moving shadows.
This next series of pictures as just that. Changing skies, shifting shadows and the ever presence of light that reflects all sorts of moods.
These pictures that are featured here are not featured in the order that they were taken, but were all taken on the same day.
Often I get asked, ” aren’t you sick of going to the same subject all the time. The short answer is no. Why is that? It’s because it is all about the skies and light for me. They are never static and with those two elements always shifting and moving there is a wealth of photographic opportunities that are presented to you.
Is one picture better than the other? No. The movement of skies, light will always give you a different mood and it is really up to you which changing mood really does move you the most.
Every year I takes guest to Africa to photograph the wildlife there. There is never a boring moment in Africa. The zebra is one such animal that blesses the photographer with so many opportunities with the camera.
As we know the Zebra is single-hoofed animals that are native to Africa.No matter where you go in Africa, you will see the Zebra.
Zebras are generally thought to have white coats with black or brown stripes because the stripes end at their bellies and the inner side of the legs, which are white. However, zebras have black skin under their white coats! Each species of zebra has a different general pattern of stripes. None are the same.The Grevy’s zebra has very thin stripes. The mountain zebra has vertical stripes on its neck and torso, but horizontal stripes on its haunches. Some subspecies of plains zebras have brownish “shadow” stripes between the black stripes.
It is believed that the zebra’s stripes work like camouflage so when zebras stand together, it is harder for predators to determine how many zebras are in the group. The stripes may also make the zebra appear unattractive to smaller predators, such as bloodsucking horseflies, which can spread disease.
Each zebra’s stripes are unique. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two zebras have the same stripe pattern just like no tow giraffes as the same pattern as well.
The stripes on the zebra are a gift to us with the camera in hand. As long as you are not in a hurry, as long as you are able to stay in one place for a while, as long as you understand the word patience, then it is then you will be blessed with hat this wonderful creature can give to you.
The zebra is a very aggressive animal and I always tell my guests to be on the look out and look not just at the main subject, but look at those that are to the left of you or to the right of you. Why is that? The answer is simple, because they are aggressive and they are always fighting each other. It can be calm one moment and then all of a sudden, a fight will break out.When this happens, you will get some awesome action shots.The actions lasts a good time .
When that is not happening, if you are quite and with time, you will see what the strips do for you. It all comes down to how you can previsualise a shot before you have taken it. Its all about perception, its about how you view the zebra and it’s about how you see their strips and waiting for that moment to present it self to you. When it comes to wild life, nothing is predicable. You can’t make wildlife do what you want it to do, you just have to be able to be patient and to work with what is before you. There are times when that will work well and other times, not so well.
I also try and plane my trips to Africa with my guest when the babies have just been born. This is not always easy to do but if you are there when the foals are about, this will also give you a contrast between black and white strips and brown and white strips.
When the action is taking place and the chase is on, it i so important to understand your camera, to know the settings of your camera to make sure you can freeze the action. All of the images that you are seeing here were taken with my Canon 7dmark2 as I see this the best camera set up to shoot wild life with. I also use the 100mm-400mm 5.6 which when placed on the 7dmark 2 along with the crop factor, gives me almost 750mm. This is perfect for Africa. The 7 Dmark2 shoots at 10 frames a second and this is so good to capture the action in front of you.Now if you were to get this camera , then it is so important to get the right memory card to go with the camera. If you don’t have a fast card then the card will not keep up with the 10 frames a second and then it is a complete waste of time buying the 7dmark2 as you wont get the full benefit of 10 frames a second.Don’t use a slow card, you will regret it.
When the Zebra makes those funny looking snarls with its face, this can mean a number of things. They communicate this way a lot and it is one of the main ways in which they communicate to each other. Facial expressions, such as wide-open eyes or bared teeth, all mean something.It’s not always a means of aggression.
The Zebra as a subject to photograph is one that is stunning as the compositions are endless and each time you press the shutter down, you are bound to get that shot that may be just a little different .The stripes do stand out and they lend themselves to stunning and very different shots as compared to the other animals of Africa.
The body shape of the zebra is stream lined and lends itself to many wonderful horizontal shots. Remember it is a matter of just waiting and see what take place.
As a photographer, if you are not prepared to wait and to be patient, then you might as well not be there in the first place if you are wanting to get ” that shot” as it will only happen for you if you have patience and the right mind set.
If you don’t get the shot , you need to be in the right frame of mind that says” Ok, it didn’t happen today, maybe tomorrow” I think if you are in that frame of mind, then you will enjoy your photography with the zebras and other animals. It is when you allow it to grind at you that you didn’t get the shot, then it becomes a burden and it will lay heavy on your heart. It is so important to be in that frame of mid that will enable to you let it go if you don’t succeed first time round.
The Zebra is a very aggressive animal as I have mentioned before but at the same time it is very affectionate to its young and you can get some wonderful shots when mum is showing her affection to her young. Lines and shapes and patterns will present themselves to you when the affection is being displayed.
The horizontal shape of the zebra, with the stripes will give you so many compositions, just wait for it all to happen before you.
There is so much more that I could say but time and space is against me. When you are photographing a zebra be prepared that there are many wonderful opportunities for you.
The Zebra is a photographers gift, all we have to do is be patient and wait for that moment. If this excites you, if you find it helpful, then join me in Africa and be blessed in ways that you thought not possible. Pete:)
Thinking outside the square at times can hep you pull of shots that you would never have thought of taking in the first place. Such was this moment in time.
I love old cars and this one I have given the name,” The Girlfriend”to , that’s a story in itself, maybe for another time.I went out one night to shoot the stars above the Old Holden, and a FJ Holden at that. For my overseas friends, the FJ Holden was Australia’s first ever built car in the late 40’s and early 50’s.
Where I lived at the time when this photo was taken, meant that I was approx 25 minutes from the car. I went outside, looked to the heavens and saw clear skies which is what I was needing.
So it was in the car and off we go.As I was getting closer to where the old Holden was, I could see that the stars had been swallowed up the stars.Upon arriving where the car was ,there was a massive cloud cover the old car. No stars that night and I wondered how could I make the shot more interesting given that I will not be getting the stars on this night.
I had come a good distance for the shot and although the shot would allude me once again, I was determined that I was not going to be going home without a stunning shot of this old car. I sat in the field, dark and cold and reflecting on what I could do to make this work for me.Thinking out side the square was what was needed on this night and that is what I did to achieve this shot.
So how was this shot taken? Do you have any idea? I will reveal this very soon.Pete:)