Monday, 16 January 2012

Bonsmara Bulls - a Portrait

Bull Photography. 

It was quite difficult to separate the bulls from the herd - the bulls kept on running back to their herd! Eventually we managed to isolate a bull for a few moments and then I had to be quick to get my image. I had to wait till the bull turned into the correct position where it looked good and I could see the scrotum clearly.....and only then snap off a few exposures..... apparently that's how bulls are supposed to be photographed!!! . . .

I used a Canon 5d MKII with two zoom lenses a 24-105L and the recently released 70-300L. Focus was set on AI Servo which means that once focus is captured the lens will keep on focusing on the original spot even if the bull moves around....which is what it did all the time! Depending on how the bull was standing I would use a focus spot closest to the eyes and then let the camera follow that spot as the bull moved around. It worked fairly successfully and most of the images had acceptable focus. With the longer zoom lens depth of field became shallower so focus accuracy as the bull moved around became even more critical...fortunately everything worked out OK and I was satisfied with the results. To get decent depth of field the lens aperture was set to f11 and iso at either 800 or 1600 to eliminate blur and help with the focus as the bull charged around to get back to his harem.....

click on images to enlarge...

As this blog reflects my personal photography as opposed to my commercial work, I converted the bull images into a sepia colour and on a separate layer I cut out the bull in full colour and superimposed it back over the sepia bull, with a reduced opacity to take away some of the bright colour of the skin..... I am not overly fond of bright colours and prefer a more muted palette.

For those who are interested in the Bonsmara breed, Wikipedia has the following entry for Bonsmara :

'The Bonsmara is a cross breed of cattle known for its high quality beef. Originating in South Africa as a scientific experiment of professor Jan Bonsma, the Bonsmara was created after many criss-cross matings consisting of 5/8 Afrikaner (Sanga-type), 3/16 Hereford and 3/16 Shorthorn animals (both taurine-type).'

Regards, Ivan