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Hippos Out For a Swim

Hippos Out for a Swim - D800e, 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm, f/4, 1/2000s, ISO 2500

When I first started thinking about doing a photographic safari in Botswana, it was this kind of aerial image that immediately came to mind.  I was hoping for a family of elephants (like this image by Andy Biggs) but Hippos are very cool too.  I opted to do two helicopter rides to maximize my chances, one before sunset and another the next morning before sunrise.  This image was made at 6:16 AM before the sun cleared the horizon, giving the scene flat and even lighting.  With the helicopter moving quickly and the hippos swimming out, there wasn't much time for careful framing so I composed to put the hippos on the left with the ripples from the movement visible but also leaving the radiating lines of the water lilies to carry the composition.


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