Elephants in Sandstorm + Crop

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


While camped near a dry river bed in Kenya, high winds came up in mid-day creating a sandstorm. I took this photo as the two elephants entered an opening and were clear of the trees. A small amount was cropped from top and bottom to make it more panorama like.

Specific Feedback

I pushed the image a bit to make it more hig key to convey the conditions. What do you think of that approach?

Technical Details

Canon R5 and 70-200 mm lens at f/7.1, 1/400 and Auto ISO.

It’s an impressive image Richard and it’s clear that there’s something in the air.
In my experience weather events like this are actually very difficult to capture well on camera and I think that your high key idea may well have helped to emphasise what is going on.
How about posting the original?

Ryan: thanks for your comment and the suggestion to post the original which is attached. The bulk of the conversion was done with a LR black and white preset followed by a bit of tweaking.

Wow there’s some drama here, but also a sense of time slowed down. Maybe it’s the inclusion of elephants and we rarely think of them as speedy animals. I like the obscuring power of the sand with this because it simplifies things so well. One thing you could try is a bit of work with the transform panel to bring the right edge of the frame closer and straighten the lines on the bottom. It wouldn’t take much and might make an already excellent image even better.

Kristen: thank you for your comments and suggestion. I am not at all familiar with the usage of transform panel . Please feel free to edit the image.

Well since the transform tool in ACR and LR acts differently with Jpegs I can’t get it to do what I’d like with this image. Since neither are destructive, just play with it until you see what it does. A combination of vertical and horizontal should correct this. Aspect might do it as well.

Kristen: I watched a few videos on Youtube to gain some familiarity with Transform. I was able to straighten the lines on the bottom of the frame. However, bringing the right edge of the fame closer was a stumper. Instead I chose to crop the bush at the right edge which places a bit more emphasis on the elephants.

It’s a great setting and very beautiful frame, which can be transformed into a stunning image, but requires lot of work. I agree that it would make a great B&W.
In my photographic journey I managed to capture certain frames which were very good, but I didn’t have the necessary post production skills. I managed to process them effectively after many years. One such frame I captured in 2007, but managed to process it effectively in, may be, 2017. And it was showcased in Smithsonian. :upside_down_face:

Richard, your choice of monochrome rendition is spot on, I think. It really conveys the mood and the semi-opaque environment. I do think cropping out the bush on the right was the right call.

Jagdeep and Max: thanks for your comments. Jagdeep: I think we’d all like to see your showcased photo.