There are fewer subjects that gets a wildlife enthusiast’s heart racing quicker than that of a Wild Dog sighting. These highly endangered hunters are the most efficient top end predator on the African plains, however, getting a great image can be difficult due to their energy and speed.
The reason why I chose this image as my pic of the week, was because it places the Wild Dog in its natural environment and because of being a distance from the subject, I was able to capture it at eye level. This is most important with any predator as it brings out the intensity and focus in their eyes, adding an element of anxiety about its intentions.
The tough part about getting an image like this is the focusing as there are so many distracting pieces of grass which can pose a problem. If you use single spot focusing, you are not leaving it to chance and should capture the subject perfectly in focus. I use back button focusing which is a game changer due to its accuracy.
Speed and lack of depth of field all played a part in getting this image right. To get that right, I needed to push up the ISO a little more due to the fading afternoon light. The rest was done by Mother Nature.
- Camera – Nikon D4S
- Lens and Focal length – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 VRII @400mm
Settings used to capture this image
- ISO – 2800
- Aperture –f4.0
- Shutter – 1/2000
Editing used on this image
The joys of shooting in this beautiful afternoon light is that Mother Nature really does all the processing for you. The only post processing that I did was to push up the clarity a little as well as the vibrance as I really wanted to bring out the beautiful orange hue of the winter grass. The only thing left to do was to darken the outer region of the image using the Post Crop Vignetting slider. This for me is such a great tool as it naturally draws in the viewer’s eye to the subject.
Always remember – get the right light and you won’t have to do much processing and you can spend more of your time out in the field rather than behind your computer.