December 30, 2020

I could swim all day long

On September 12, 2020, I started as a participant in the mentorship program of Nature Photography by famous Dutch photographer Bart Siebelink. I wrote about the second mentorship day in an earlier blogpost, see this LINK.

The second meeting was on October 2, 2020 held in Rhenen, the Netherlands. We needed to focus on animal "parts" in which a head and eyes could not be seen, to learn to look differently at a subject. I will discuss two photos that I took that day. Here is the first image:

Title: Tortoise Rock

Process: a beautiful Brazilian giant tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulatus) was resting, allowing me to admire the large shell. Due to the heat my lens got blurred, so it was cleaned frequently!

Idea: The tortoise shell reminded me of a drone photo or video, as if you are flying high above huge rock formations, partly due to the beautiful red-brown-yellow tones.

Digital editing: the photo has been edited in PS Elements (dust removal, contrast, color). I applied the Levels (histogram) for a nice distribution of the dark and light areas.

What do I think of it? Nice distribution of shapes and warm tones.

The next image to focus on and discuss, is the following image: 

Title: I could swim all day long.

Process: a Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldtipasses by with its powerful feet and at that moment some air bubbles whirl up.

Idea: I really liked the scales on the webbed feet of the Humboldt penguin, as well as the tail, which occasionally wobbled in the water. I wanted to capture the bubbles in combination with the feet, including the water edge. Especially in black and white this seemed really nice to show!

Digital editing: the photo has been edited in PS Elements (dust removal, color, contrast). Then I converted the image to black and white with a Scenic Landscape filter and I added some grain. The grain makes the structures stand out just a little bit better.

What do I think of it? Rather successful. It was very difficult to record this, as the penguins are very fast underwater. I was really waiting for a slow motion movement to get it in focus. I think black and white is a nice choice.

December 26, 2020


On December 15, 2020, I wrote on Instagram:⁣

⁣Tomorrow... tomorrow... getting prepared for another wildlifehide day! It reminds of the previous session in November. You know, when getting there and preparing the scene really gives a rush! You don't know exactly what to expect, every time is different. ⁣
In November I was prepared for the red squirrels jumping through the water. I felt my blood running wild. They did come along to visit the pool, though less than I was used to. Of course there was a really good reason for their short stay: in the morning a female sparrowhawk started hunting near the hide, her eyes fixed on the great tits and other small birds. Eventually she decided to bathe. Wow, in such a beautiful golden glow! In the afternoon I literally saw a sparrowhawk's tail disappear above the hide. The tail belonged to a rust-colored male. He also decided to take a plunge, just DIVE right in.
All is about anticipating the moment and it may work out differently than expected! I loved the wonderful moments with the sparrowhawks (also nice bathing jays), even though this meant the squirrels wouldn't come near. What will happen tomorrow? Tomorrow... tomorrow...