Size does matter, especially in this case when nothing quite puts the awe inspiring size and beauty of the Chilojo Cliffs in Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park into perspective like one of the parks' massive bull elephants.
The sandstone edifice of the Chilojo Cliffs forms one of Zimbabwe's iconic landscapes and is a landscape photographer's dream, especially in the dwindling light of a hot day's end when the colours of the cliffs change from a myriad of shining orange to progressively more subtle tones of glowing magenta. I love the cliffs and Gonarezhou in general and must have hundreds of pictures of this landscape in various forms and angles, but until now had nothing that showcased the immense size of the cliffs.
Capturing this image required a fair bit of patience, although I kept reminding myself as I sat for hour after hour under the spellbinding view of the cliffs that I could have been in much worse places! Luckily for me there was quite a substantial pool of water in the bend of the Runde River near the cliffs and as a result lots of Ele's were making the trek across the hot, shimmering sand to get to the liquid gold. Unfortunately for me this was mostly in the heat of the day when the light was terrible and I was comatose in my tent anyway!
Thankfully this view was only a few paces outside our campsite so I could persevere every evening in the golden light hours without breaking any of the Parks' regulations. It was only on the last evening of our stay when said perseverance and mother luck paid off and placed the bull elephant, golden light and a by then very twitchy photographer all in the same place. Needless to say there was a lot of snapping and holding of breath as the elephant nonchalantly and unknowingly made his way across the bed and into my library as possibly one of my favourite Chilojo cliffs images...
So from a technical POV what photographic aspects does my waffling above touch on? Simply put this picture works because the composition style of having a large subject (the cliffs) being balanced out by a smaller subject (the elephant) creates a very pleasing image that our eyes and brain can easily navigate around, and appreciate! If you would like to learn more about photography and its theories why not join us on an Introduction to Photography Course? See more info here...
How: lots of patience, picking the right spot and being consistent.
Where: Hlaro campsite, Gonarezhou National Park
Tech Specs: Nikon D3 Camera, Nikkor 500mm f4 VR lens, ISO 1600 f4 @ 1/40th second supported by a Induro GHB1 Gimbal head on Manfrotto carbon fibre legs