To watch the mothers and children initially playing in the mud was so much fun. Then the old bull emerged from the bush, where he was hidden from our view feeding. With a flick of his trunk and a subtle move of his body the entire herd stopped playing, as if chided by him, and then proceeded to regroup and leave the water sports in the dam to go dry off. It was inspiring to witness the interaction and intelligence of these massive creatures, and yet not a sound was made by any one of them. Read on to see an edited image and decide what impact that has overall.
The bathing/drying antics took less than two minutes and this shot was hand held at the 500mm (750mm) end of the lens. I was the driver and I couldn’t reach across to rest the lens on the left front passenger window “noodle”. Those guys walk surprisingly fast so I anticipated the shot coming, switched on the camera, framed, pushed the ISO to 1600 with eye pressed to the viewfinder and fired one shot all in the space of <2 seconds. The camera was preset to EV -0.7 the whole day so it helped with the exposure and back lighting. Shutter speed was 1/2500s.
Here is a creative edit of the image after the critique. I received a lot of it, from both camps. One said it was too far & should have been cropped tighter. Others said they think that the water is an integral part of the image because Elephants bathe first & then throw the dust on. Correct. It wouldn’t stick otherwise would it? This is why I chose to frame the shot like I did & also the leg reflections add more to the image. Anyway, I did do a crop but found the colour version lost impact so I gave it a Sepia touch & made it look like a typical 1800′s image. Visions of Livingstone! Each to his/her own