Every now and again in your photography career you make a shot that sticks with you. One of these shots for me is this one, which is of a Marabou stork sitting on the bank of the Chobe river just as the sun sets behind it. The things that attract me to the image are firstly the stark contrasts that create the silhouette, and then the red glow of the sunset itself. It’s totally indicative of the Chobe area.
Apart from a crop and some minor adjustments to highlights, shadows, black and white points, this is pretty much how it came out of the camera and it illustrates to me an advantage of having an electronic viewfinder (EVF), where you can see what your shot is going to look like even before you take it, just by rolling the exposure compensation dial. That’s a really big deal to me.
This scene happened when we were on our first trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana/Namibia on the Wild Waterways safari of 2014. On one of our evening boat trips we were motoring back to the houseboat when I spotted this stork sitting on the bank of the river with the sun just about to set behind it. I practically yelled at our boat skipper to stop and drift back down the river so that our group could get this shot. The part of the Chobe we were on flows quite strongly, so we had to do it a few times, but each time we did it, either my focus was off or the boat rocked a bit, causing me to miss the framing I wanted entirely. You literally only had a second to get your shot before the parallax between the bird and the sun changed and we had to motor upstream again. The sun moves pretty quickly when you don’t want it to! I was also using a lens that isn’t suited for the task of focusing in low light (namely the Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II). Eventually though, after about 4 minutes of floating up and downstream, I managed to pull together all the elements and the result was this shot, which I am quite proud of. The EVF really did help in this regard too.
A lot of people new to mirrorless cameras tend to dismiss the EVF as being unreliable, but I have not found this to be the case at all. I think when they first came out there might have been an issue with lag and blackout, but from the original Olympus E-M1 those things became a non-issue for me. You have to set up your camera correctly to make the best use of the EVF, so I have mine set to not boost the live view, but reflect the shooting settings in the EVF. Also, I have the review set to auto, so if I have my finger constantly on the shutter release the playback doesn’t interfere with what I am seeing in real time. It’s there if I need it to be though, which is quite convenient.
This is the 50th daily shot I am posting to our various social media feeds, so if you haven’t already followed us on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr or Facebook, please do!