The majority of my time in southern Africa has been during the fall and into the winter (the dry season) which also happens to be the time for the impala rut. The dynamics at play during that period are very interesting to watch, and sometimes the result for the fighting males can be an untimely end (I shared some images taken during rutting season here, if you’re interested).
This time, while traveling through the bush, we saw many heavily pregnant impalas, and were hopeful of the chance to see some newly born lambs. Our group lucked out in two areas, Zambezi National Park and Chobe National Park, and had the chance to see two of the newest members of the herds. In both cases, these were our guides first lambs of the season. We were a bit early for the baby boom, but it was nice to see the couple that we did.
It’s been a rather strange winter (weather wise – no pandemic commentary here!) and I’ve not been seeing the neighbourhood deer as frequently as in past years. I know they are around, both from the tracks in the snow and the need to refill the food bowl I keep out for them every couple of weeks. Any time I catch a glimpse of them lately it is always after dark, which doesn’t lend itself to photo taking, so instead I’ve gathered up some images of some African antelope instead. To be honest, even if the deer had been around in broad daylight this past week, the best I would have done would have been a photo out the window, as it was far too cold to be going out to take photos (at least for me).
Even though it was the rutting season, when males can begin to lose condition from spending all of their time and energy fighting over access to females, this one looked to be in fine form, with a shiny coat and a small herd to call his own… at least for a day or two.
Impala are beautiful animals and definitely interesting to watch while out in the bush. But the sound the males make when they are fighting, that is something else.
When you pull up to a small group of impala, in my experience they will either bolt immediately, or give you a passing glance and then go back to grazing. But when you encounter a large herd like this near the side of the road, things tend to get a bit hectic, quite quickly.
We stopped to take some pictures of the herd and all was calm; until it wasn’t. The noise of the vehicle didn’t startle them; perhaps it was realizing that we were actually looking at them, not something else, that brought up their urge to flee. Or brought up the order for one of them to flee… but when one bolts, all the others follow suit.
A lot of people don’t really give impala a passing glance whilst out on safari; their abundance in so many areas; compared to the relative scarcity of predator sightings, can make them seem a bit boring to some. I think they are beautiful creatures though, and love when I have the opportunity to watch them and take a few images.
I hope you enjoy my selections this week. I hope your week ahead is wonderful! 🙂
I’m a little later than normal with my Monochrome Monday post as I have been playing around with using the MacPhun (now Skylum) Tonality plugin with Luminar. I must say, I am really enjoying using Tonality again!
Tonality was my go-to for black and white conversion when I was using Lightroom and Photoshop. I found I could dial in the vision I was imagining much faster than using other black and white methods. Now that I no longer have Photoshop, I am glad I have a way to integrate the plug-in back into my workflow when I want to.
I’ve started watching some Luminar videos on YouTube by Jim Nix, and one of them really resonated with me today. It had nothing to do with the image or the edits he did, but just the concept of revisiting old work to re-edit photos, to experiment with new software, filters and combinations of tools to keep your creativity and interest peeked. A lot of that is why I am enjoying this theme so much, as the lack of familiarity with the software has caused me to think a lot more critically about what I want to achieve, so I can figure out how to do it, but it has also allowed me to just open random filters to see what they do, sometimes to great result, sometimes awful. If you are interested, you can find the Luminar video by Jim Nix here.
Now on to the images for today.
For this giraffe image, I did an extra step to start, and from Luminar opened Topaz Studio and then the Topaz Remask plugin. I find Remask is excellent for complicated situations like these tree branches against the sky. The sky was very grainy, and I wanted to apply some noise reduction, and I thought that would be the best way to go. I shot this image with my Panasonic FZ1000, which is a very capable little camera, but I do find skies are generally quite noisy regardless of the ISO. There was also a lot of airborne dust so it could have been that rather than a limitation of the camera. After I created my mask in Remask, I ran the noise removal filter in Topaz Studio and sent the image back to Luminar, and then onto Tonality for black and white conversion. If Luminar had an option to adjust luminosity masks so I could isolate the sky, I would have gone that route and saved some steps, but right now its not an option.
Things were much simpler for the next two images. I edited both using the Tonality plug in, though I am sure I could have arrived at similar results just using Luminar. As with most photo editing programs, there are a lot of different paths to get to the same place. It’s all about what works for you.