Photography talks with Michael Dippenaar

Planet Of Animals
Planet Of Animals

BY Mohammad Namjoo

Photography talks with Michael Dippenaar

Photography talks with Michael Dippenaar

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1. Tell us a brief description about yourself.

My name is Michael Dippenaar, I am 26 years old and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am an attorney by profession and run a photographic safari business called At Close Quarters, part-time. I am also a qualified game ranger.

2. How did you get into wildlife photography?

I have always had a passion for wildlife and the African bush-veld was a favorite place of mine to go on holiday. When I became friends with someone who shared the same passion but also took wildlife photographs I decided to buy a camera (in 2015) and try out wildlife photography. I quickly became hooked and have been shooting wildlife for 18 months now.

3. What inspires you about wildlife photography?

The ability to spend time in nature and the excitement of possibly seeing something rare and being able to capture it in a photograph. For me, wildlife photography is the ultimate treasure hunt.

4. What kind of equipment’s do you use now, and what did you begin with?

I shoot on a Nikon D750, Full Frame DSLR Camera with varying lenses. I started with a beginner Nikon DSLR crop sensor camera but quickly outgrew the camera and upgraded to a better performing full frame camera.

1. Tell us a brief description about yourself.

My name is Michael Dippenaar, I am 26 years old and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am an attorney by profession and run a photographic safari business called At Close Quarters, part-time. I am also a qualified game ranger.

2. How did you get into wildlife photography?

I have always had a passion for wildlife and the African bush-veld was a favorite place of mine to go on holiday. When I became friends with someone who shared the same passion but also took wildlife photographs I decided to buy a camera (in 2015) and try out wildlife photography. I quickly became hooked and have been shooting wildlife for 18 months now.

3. What inspires you about wildlife photography?

The ability to spend time in nature and the excitement of possibly seeing something rare and being able to capture it in a photograph. For me, wildlife photography is the ultimate treasure hunt.

4. What kind of equipment’s do you use now, and what did you begin with?

I shoot on a Nikon D750, Full Frame DSLR Camera with varying lenses. I started with a beginner Nikon DSLR crop sensor camera but quickly outgrew the camera and upgraded to a better performing full frame camera.
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5. What are the challenges wildlife photographers face on a regular basis?

The pace. When in the field, you have to consider so many variables at the same time whilst dealing with unpredictable subjects and continuously changing conditions, this means you have make decisions under pressure and very quickly in order to get the shot in focus and correctly exposed and composed without missing the moment in time.
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6. What are your thoughts on raw images vs images that have been edited?

 I shoot all my images in RAW and then I use post-processing software to process the photographs (as you would do in a darkroom). This is not considered to be editing and is merely processing the RAW data in the image and adding back the feature to the photograph as you saw. Editing a photograph can mean manipulating parts of the image and changing the image from a true representation of the scene that was captured. I do not have a problem with editing depending on the context of the edits.

 

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7. What are the techniques you use?

I try any techniques I can including panning, freezing motion, astrophotography, spotlight photography etc.

8. What is your favorite animal if you had to choose one?

African Wild Dog

9. How do you plan your shoots?

Location Location Location. I pick my locations carefully based on what animals I would like to photograph. If I want to photograph Big Cats, then I go to areas where they are common. Because I own a photographic safari company I am lucky and get to travel to amazing destinations regularly. Then it is about going out early in the morning and late afternoon to get the best lighting conditions. The rest involves luck and good tracking in order to find the animals.

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10. What is your favorite image? Can you explain the background story behind it?

An image of a large male leopard trying to pull a large python out of a tree. The python was killed by a honey badger and the leopard found it and tried to get it out of this small tree to eat it. Eventually the leopard was on his hind legs pulling the snake as hard as he could to get it down from the tree. That is when I captured the image. The leopard eventually climbed into the small tree to retrieve the snake and ran off with it in its mouth.
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11. Do you have any tips to inspire junior wildlife photographers?

Yes, practice as often as possible. Don't be afraid to try new techniques. Watch as many YouTube videos on techniques and tips and read book on photography. Understand how your camera works and how to set it up and change settings. Purchase post-processing software, such as Adobe Lightroom in order to process RAW image files. Also, follow wildlife photographers in order to get some inspiration and ideas for future shots.

Photo Credit: Michael Dippenaa
@Michael Dippenaar