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Published on Jun 19, 2014
Greg du Toit was the overall winner of the 49th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition with his image Essence of Elephants.
Since first picking up a camera, Greg has photographed African elephants. 'I've always wanted to capture their special energy and their state of consciousness,' he says. The shot was taken at a waterhole in Botswana's Northern Tuli Game Reserve from a sunken hide. Greg used a slow shutter speed to create the atmosphere and 'to depict these gentle giants in an almost ghostly way.' He used a tilted wide-angle lens to catch the size of any elephant entering the foreground, and a narrow aperture to create depth of field so that elephants in the background would also be in focus. To emphasise their mystery, he attached a polarising filter and set his white balance to a cool temperature. The lucky final touch was the baby elephant, which raced by so close. The slow shutter speed conveyed the motion, and a burst of flash at the end of the exposure froze the fleeting detail.