Daniel Dolpire has been on two workshops with me and he is a fine photographer and always adds a great deal of fun to our groups. After game drives we often have friendly banter looking over our shots to see who got the shot. He is fast and skilled and could probably give up his day job if he wanted. It was Daniel that taught me to take the straps off my camera bodies as they slow you down when working on wildlife and he is very good at hanging back on sightings and not disturbing natural behaviour patterns.
Daniel (and his new Nikon D4) and his wife Di (she juggles the 500 and 200 – 400 lenses for him while he is working and keeps the laughs going) have just returned form East Africa at And Beyond Kleins Camp in the Serengeti where he took this fantastic image of 6 young male lions. According to the guide the lions had not been seen for months and there they were — all neatly lined up with their legs folded like obedient kids for a school photo.
The lions had never been seen like this together. Its just so fascinating as males usually split up at this stage of their lives. This could be a mega coalition.
I also loved his shot of the leopard too. I prefer gloomy to the so-called sweet light as the saturation of colours is just so magnificent and there are no reflections. Daniel says that it was so gloomy that he did not think that he got the shot. But the incredible 91 000 pixel sensor on the D4 took care of the rest. His settings were f/5.6, SS 1/200, exposure bias: +0,33, ISO 1600, focal length: 700 mm. Once again I have to applaud him on his shot.
For photographers without full frame cameras and with more issues with noise at high ISO levels (the D4 has virtually none) I find that it can also be a good idea to underexpose the image by a half a stop or more. Not only does it give you a slightly faster shutter speed which can be critical especially if you are not using “fast glass” but it also ensures that the subject which is much darker than the background does not get overexposed.
Daniel reckons that the D4 is a big step up on the D3s especially with regards to the video and button functionality which is much easier . “I use auto ISO a lot,” he says, “now its possible to go back to manual settings with the turn of a dial without having to go back into the menu” Its hard to know just how useful it is to have an ISO that goes up to 24 000 and more but its clearly doing a fine job in low light situations at more reasonable ISO levels. It would be interesting to hear other user opinions.
Rumour has it that Daniel’s fine image may soon find his way into the beautiful pages of Africa Geographic.