Photographing Mopani trees in the Kruger Park.
The coloured Mopani’s are without a doubt one of the most beautiful
backgrounds one get during winter with the wildlife as
main subject matter in The Kruger National Park. Or if you are lucky and work hard enough on their own as they are definitely beautiful enough to compare with the mega predators on photos or landscapes elsewhere.
To me the most beautiful sight throughout my July 2013 trip was the wonderful
fall colours the Mopani trees displayed especially when the sun was shining from behind
the trees or into the lens. It thus
places the wildlife second in line subconsciously if you go out deliberately to capture them. I could however just not get the perfect setting and I was literally
scanning every meter while driving and obviously in the process missed out on most wildlife
opportunities but if you want a specific image that is what you have to compromise on. The
main reason for mostly not getting the images depicted in the mind’s eye when it
comes to landscapes in the Kruger Park was the fact that one is not allowed to leave your
vehicle in the park as well as the restricted road system. Of course I’m in
favour of both rules due to sustainability but I just mention it from photographic point of
view. If you could drive anywhere and get out of your vehicle there would have been breathtaking landscapes capture in the Park. The row of trees directly next to the road
restricted a good view of the good Mopani landscapes so I was driving to find a open grassland in the foreground with Mopani’s
in the distant to get from foreground to
background in focus. The other problem
was that when the sun came out the horison was too bright or about 4 to 5
stops lighter than the Mopani’s. At locations when I got to a good viewpoint the effect
was missing or there were no varied colours of leaves. It is not everywhere
that the Mopani’s had the wide variety of colours however.
What I was looking for was clean dark branches or lighter branches spattered with coloured moss, and a large variety of coloured leaves especially with individual trees. This is very difficult as the Mopani’s cluster together making it look too disorganised. The patterns, colours, and emotions have to come together.
I however decided to get as much wildlife and other plants as a assignment or project that had Mopani’s in the image and will display them in future.
I mostly used a very small aperture to cut as much as possible from the distracting backgrounds of the other Mopani's in the background. Also I looked for a slight slope in the background as to get most of the background in shade to allow the Mopani's that are captured to stand out.
Next: Capturing Elephant images
Tags: mopani "colours of the kruger national park"
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