I had spotted the opportunity for a sunset shot a few days before this image was taken and had watched animals as they walked across the savannah. To get the image I envisaged was going to require timing and a little bit of luck. Before this shot was taken I had hoped to capture a giraffe or an elephant in front of the sunset and under the canopy of the tree. Unfortunately both had been and gone and as the sun rested just above the horizon my only option was to take the lone zebra. A magical moment nonetheless.
The judges considering my submission for an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society were very complimentary about my panel, including Joe Cornish who felt my panel delivered in terms of my statement of intent, which was to produce a panel of images for children as a means of educating them about the nature and wildlife around them. I produced the images over a six week period while I was working on a charity project in South Africa.
As the judges concluded their deliberations and confirmed my ARPS, one of them speculated about whether I had used Photoshop to insert the zebra into my image. I was insulted and felt very strongly that I would never consider taking this approach. Apart from anything else, I would gain no satisfaction from creating an image in this way. Part of the challenge of photography is to visualise an image and then return time and again to get the shot. For me, photography is about using the camera to produce the finished image (leaving aside the necessary tweaks in Lightroom) however difficult that might be. It is not an exercise in spending hours in Photoshop producing an image that was never seen.
It’s a wonderful image.
Maybe the judges comment was a reflection on their own practice.