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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Giraffe

giraffe.jpg

Wildlife Winner

Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards

GIRAFFE

Kruger National Park, South Africa

by Marsel Van Oosten

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“I chose to travel to South Africa during the summer rainy season. At that time there are many young animals around and the lush green vegetation offers a nice change from most images you see of this region. But more importantly to me, there’s lots of rain, and rain means clouds, and they are what creates interesting skies. I think this is essential, especially for habitat shots. The rainy season also offers overcast days, which allow you to keep shooting close-ups all day, as the light never gets too harsh.

“ The day I took this shot the weather was constantly changing; periods of heavy rain were followed by periods of nothing but the blistering sun. Late in the afternoon I decided to wait near a waterhole and see what would happen. Nothing much did, but the weather changed again and large clouds formed, creating impressive skies, especially as the sun began to set. Then, in the distance, I noticed a small group of giraffes heading in my direction. My position was lower than theirs, giving me a clean horizon and nothing but great sky. I anticipated where the giraffes would go and made a composition with my wide-angle lens. I wanted to render a single animal as a small silhouette against the dominating sky, showing the overwhelming beauty of nature. When the first giraffe walked into the frame I waited until it reached the perfect position before taking some shots. When it stopped for a few seconds, I got the shot.”

Nikon F100; 20-40mm lens; shutter speed unrecorded at f/16; Fujichrome Sensia II, beanbag.

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