Its often difficult to capture dramatic environmental portraits of animals. So imagine my joy when one day in Mana Pools National Park I came around the corner and saw this small herd of Waterbuck watching me intently! Mana is renowned for scenes of the last rays of light filtering through the Albida forests and of course whenever this happens there is no game around to add some interest to the scene's foreground.
Thankfully not on this occasion as I managed to position myself at an angle that utilized the stunning golden backlight. Using backlight can sometimes be a tricky affair, you need to ensure that you are not directly in front of the sun as this will cause glare and refraction that will result in circles of confusion and rainbows all over your image (the result of the light bouncing around your lenses' glass as well as the lenses' end element coating). So its best to offset the sun at a bit of an angle. This as well as the background will then cause some tricky metering, the general rule for backlighting your subjects is to underexpose but you don't want to loose detail in your main subject so the amount will vary from scene to scene. In this instance I metered off the highlights but not directly off the sun and the light was soft enough to ensure I still maintained detail in the Waterbuck.
This must be one of my favorite recent shots from Mana Pools and goes to show how technical knowledge and its application goes a long way in creating that 'perfect image'!
Want to learn more about photography and wildlife techniques? Why not join Chris on a Photographic Safari Workshop in some of Southern and East Africa's best wildlife areas? See more info on the website here.