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February 28th, 2015

BPN Newsletter 2, 28 February 2015

BPN Newsletter 2, 28 February 2015

  • Image of the Year selection
  • New Forum: Story Sequences
  • BPN Membership Changes
  • Recurring Payments and Subscriptions and BPN Subscriptions
  • Publisher’s Favorite
  • Our Sponsor
  • Previous Newletter
  • Q&A and BPN Support
  • Unsubscribe

Image of the Year selection

Work on selecting the 2014 Image of the Year (IOTY) is done. The overall winner is “Fish Toss” by David Salem. This image was selected by the jury as ‘Avian’ category winner. The reward is a Lifetime Membership. Congratulations David !


Fish Toss
Find the original thread here: “Fish Toss” by David Salem

The following stunning images were selected as winners in the other categories:

  • In the Shadow of the Ele, by Marc Mol in Wildlife


  • In the Shadow of the Ele
    When you look at the thumbnail of this image, you wonder what this is about. Until you see the shapes of the camouflaged elephants, almost blending in with the desert colours. Great image, a lot of stories could be told when you look at this image.
  • Fun with Smoke…Waves, by Steve Adkins in Out-Of-The-Box


  • Fun with Smoke...Waves
    Very creatively photographed image. The smoke (from a cigarette) colors blue because of the size of the burnt particles. Only blue light gets reflected because the other colors have wavelengths that do not bounce on these small particles. You can see Steve’s smoke setup here: http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php/125110-Fun-with-Smoke-Waves.
  • Fluffy, by Vida van der Walt in Macro and Flora


  • Fluffy
    I don’t know how Vida managed to get close to this spider, let alone have it pose like this. If you go to her website http://www.jumpingspiders.co.za, you almost think it is easy, but that is only a first impression.
  • Dune 45, by Peter Delaney in Landscapes and Cities


  • Dune 45
    Dune 45 is a star dune in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert in Namibia. Its name comes from the fact that it is at the 45th kilometre of the road that connects the Sesriem gate and Sossusvlei. Standing over 170m, it is composed of 5 million year old sand that is detritus accumulated by the Orange River from the Kalahari Desert and then blown here (Source: Wikipedia). It is almost as if there are two light sources here, which creates a very strong image. The B/W conversion boosts this effect.
  • Wte, by Giovanni Frescura in Eager to Learn


  • Wte
    Two fighting birds on an ice lake. Great moment captured and very well done.

All of the category winners will receive a one year subscription voucher. Congratulations everyone !
Note to the winners: your free one year subscription is best taken by cancelling your next paypal subscription payment: your BPN expiration date has been extended by one year.

New Forum: Story Sequences

The forum “Story Sequences”, announced last month, is now active and open for submissions. Gabriela Plesea will be leading and moderating this new forum.

You are all invited to submit your images in this forum to tell your image story sequence. Please make sure to limit the number of images to a maximum of 5.

There are 4 ways to upload multiple images in a thread:

  1. Use the vBulletin IMG tags to import an image to a thread.
    [ IMG] http: /www……[ / IMG]. Use multiple of these tags to display multiple images

  2. Members, who are able to upload images to BPN, can use the BPN uploader to upload multiple images. Although uploading goes one at a time, you can actually upload multiple images per post/thread.
  3. Members can use their entitled albums to host the images on BPN. Once uploaded in your album, you can reference these images with a [ IMG] http: /www ….[ / IMG] tag.
  4. You can also start a thread and then submit a post/reply for each image.

The forum can be found at the following link: Story Sequences.

BPN Membership Changes

BPN is changing how participation to the forums will be managed and who can actively participate. As of 1 March all current ‘Forum Participants’ (non-paying members) will be granted limited BPN memberships (BPN Limited Membership group). On 1 June their limited memberships will expire and they will become ‘BPN Viewers'; they will no longer be able to start threads or to comment on threads started by others. BPN will become read-only for this group.

Similarly, participants who register after 1 March will be granted granted limited BPN memberships (BPN Limited Member group) for exactly 90 days. After that time, they will automatically be moved to the ‘BPN Viewer’ group, limited to read-only privileges.

Folks who become ‘BPN Viewers’ will need to sign up for ‘BPN Membership‘ to continue BPN Member privileges. Note that the BPN Member group has more privileges than the Limited Member groups: see the table below for a detailed overview.

The table below show the detailed rights of the different usergroups:

Feature BPN Member Forum Participant BPN Limited Member(ship) BPN Viewer
Number of threads 1 per day per forum 1 per week per forum 1 per day per forum, for 90 days none
Number of posts unlimited 20 per month unlimited, for 90 days none
Image Hosting by BPN external by BPN n/a
Posting Access to Used Gear Forum yes no yes n/a
Two-line selfpromotional signature in posts yes no no no
Feature in Publisher’s Favorite yes no yes n/a
Access to Workshop and Lectures Forum yes no yes no
Eligible for Image of the Week yes no yes n/a
Personal Album hosted on BPN yes no no no
Thread Thumbnail yes no no n/a

Become a member by clicking on this link: http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/payments.php. This page lists all membership benefits in detail.

Recurring Payments and Subscriptions and BPN Subscriptions

As of 1 January 2015, BPN’s annual subscription fee was raised to $40. Why?

  1. Despite ever-increasing operational and maintenance costs during our seven years in existence, we have never had a rate increase.
  2. When we tried to raise funds by introducing ads, there was lot of resistance. We, as owners, agree that BPN should not be flooded by advertisements

Please help us keep our new low rate in place by supporting our main sponsors, B&H, Outdoor Photo Gear, and the BIRDS AS ART Online Store by using the logo links on the site.

For new members, the price increase will be straightforward. Their first payment will be $40 and will get them into the new scheme.

Existing members with an automatic Paypal renewal who wind up paying the old fee of $20, will receive a mail from staffbaa@att.net with detailed instructions as to how to proceed.

Existing members who currently have automatic Paypal renewals set up for the old fee of $20 are asked to follow the somewhat complex directions immediately below carefully just before their next recurring payment is due. Many of those are scheduled in mid-January through February so now is as good a time as any. Though most will have not trouble canceling their old $20 recurring payment, we do apologize for any inconvenience that we my have caused.

First log into your Paypal account and cancel the current $20 recurring payment. Yes, please cancel your existing $20 recurring payment.

Do this by going to Profile -> My Money -> My Pre-Approved Payments. Click on the Update button. Now Identify the line for BPN/BIRDS AS ART and then click on the active hyper link for Merchant. A new Billing details screen for BPN will pop up. Then click on Cancel.

Folks that do not see an active link for the word Profile should click on the gear icon (upper right). Then they will need to click on Preapproved payments. To cancel the $20.00 preapproved payment, click on the merchant name, in this case, Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Now comes the tricky part: in the upper left of this screen, below the words “Subscription details” and “active” you will see links for Cancel and View history. Click on the Cancel button and then hit the button that says Cancel Profile. No worries. You will not be making any changes to your Paypal profile, you will simply be canceling the Recurring payment.

If you have trouble canceling your $20 recurring payment , please let us know with an e-mail to us at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net and we can take care of it.

Next, please set up a new Recurring payment to BPN by going here http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/payments.php and then selecting your correct currency from the drop down menu at the top of the page just to the left of the order button. Then click on the Order Using Paypal box, enter your password, and click the Login box. On the next screen check all of the details and then click on the Agree and Pay box.

Go to Activity and you should see your payment.

Once we receive your $40 payment BAA/BPN will issue a $20 refund to your Paypal account. If you run into any problems along the way you can e-mail us at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net or call us at 863-692-0906 during weekday business hours or on Fridays before 2pm.

It took us about 8 hours of work to figure out how to implement these changes in a relatively seamless manner.

Publisher’s Favorite

When you visit BPN, the home page features two side bars. The sidebar on the left, lists the current selection of ‘Image of the Week’, managed by Daniel Cadieux. The right sidebar represents a selection of striking images from all categories that drew special attention. The newsletter will select a special image that stood out, selected outside the voted IOTW. At present, the image displayed here shows a mother Black Rhino that managed to escape the horrors of poachers but was eventually killed by a puff adder. The image was created by Carl Walker. Read about the details in Carl’s thread, by clicking on the image.


Tribute to a female I have come to know well over the years
Click on the image to be directed to the post on BPN

Our Sponsor

Our main sponsor is B&H Photo Video. Support our site by clicking on the link below. Using the BPN affiliate link will not cost you a penny but will be greatly appreciated.



Previous Newletter

The previous newsletter can be found on the BPN Help forum: BPN Newsletter 1, 24 January 2015.

Topics covered were:

  • Image of the Year selection
  • New Forum: Story Sequence
  • Recurring Payments and Subscriptions
  • Vertical Image Limits
  • Your BPN email address
  • CDLC Videos: BirdsAsArt Bird Photography Tutorials
  • Publisher’s Favorite
  • Our Sponsor

Q&A and BPN Support

In case of user, posting or other BPN problems, contact me on my BPN email address: peterkes@birdphotographers.net.

Subscription and payment problems: staffbaa@att.net.

Unsubscribe

Should you want to unsubscribe from this newletter, please log in to your account and go to:

  • Settings (top right)
  • General Settings (left sidebar)
  • Find: Messaging & Notification
  • untick the mail notification for “Receive Email from Administrators”

best,
artie & peter

February 20th, 2015

Londolozi Trip

We have been visiting the African bush for years and we try to take every opportunity we can to get out there. There is a sense of stillness and excitement when one is in the bush that is quite unique. The buzzing ‘silence’ sets one’s senses working overtime: sight, sound, smell, taste and even touch are getting a fair share of work in the bush.

Note: click on each of the images to get a larger view. To exit the large view, click the ‘x’ in the top right corner.

We have experienced all sorts of bush lodges and we have wanted to visit the Sabi Sands Game Reserve for years. The region’s reputation for good game viewing is well established. We had read the books, watched the documentaries and followed the progress of famous leopards over the years. Last year we decided it was time to visit Londolozi Game Reserve, part of the Sabi Sands. Photographing the animals and in particular the leopard was high on the priority list.

Going a bit wider with the zoom, gives a nice inclusion of the surroundings.

On one of our first rides into the bush we met with an older leopard male, just waking up out of his afternoon nap. Londolozi is a private game reserve and the rangers may go off-road and follow the game into the bush when appropriate. We were able to get really close and have an almost personal interaction with this male. I had a good opportunity getting the images I wanted.

Zooming tighter provided this proud pose of the leopard.

Getting to see and, in particular photograph, leopards was high on our wishlist. We were very lucky to see leopard on more than one occasion. The rangers take great care when they approach animals and the animals are well habituated to the presence of the vehicles. This is of course great for photography and game-viewing.

The leopard female.

On our last full day at Londolozi we were treated to a spectacular display of a male and female leopard courting and mating. For thirty minutes we witnessed them vocalising to each other, walking around, flopping down and eventually also making sure the species continues to thrive. As Londolozi has a strict visiting policy (max #vehicles = 3) for any sighting, we released our spot for another vehicle after we had our fair share of taking images.

The act

The excitement of the bush is that you never know what may appear just over the next rise or behind the next bush. On one of our morning drives we visited a hyena den. At least one mother, an older cub and two younger cubs were present. Hyenas evoke many responses but cute is rarely one of those. We definitely had the cute response when we saw following scene.

The two cubs were chasing each other like domesticated puppies, playing and fighting over a piece of bark. They were having the time of their lives, we did too. For at least twenty minutes, they ran around the termite mound and raced past the vehicle and one of them gave one of the tyres a playful bite. Because it was overcast this morning, I set my camera in manual mode (by histogram check). Light conditions being the same for the time we were there, I didn’t have to reset the light settings on my camera. It was a very special encounter.

We left the scene as the smallest and cutest one glanced at us as if to say: “Oh … were you there ?”.

During an afternoon drive we came close to a group of giraffe and our ranger decided to give this group of eight giraffe a closer look. He parked the vehicle and invited all of us on board to get off and follow him in single file as we carefully approached the herd on foot! This is generally strictly forbidden in most game parks. It was really special to be on the same ‘level’ as the game, although that is not entirely applicable in this case. The eight giraffe all looked at us then turned and slowly continued on their way moving into a thicker part of bush. Since we were positioned with the sun in front of us, I processed this image to make it even more dramatic.

The past year has been one of the worst with regards to the poaching of rhino in South Africa. On average three rhino were (and probably still are) poached per day. We were very pleased to see that these animals were still present here. Private patrols have been effective in helping to protect these magnificent animals.

We were also lucky to see a group of three grazing rhino, also known as a ‘crash’ of rhinos. It was very special.

In all of our years in the bush I have seldom seen cheetah. It was therefore very special to come across this beautiful female cheetah. It was later on the morning drive and she was in hunting mode: constantly looking around. She then jumped on a fallen tree to have a better view of the surroundings.

I asked our ranger to move the landrover, to better position the vehicle in relation to the sun position. In the below image the sun is more behind us and she gave us a stunning viewing position.

At one stage she suddenly accelerated away from us in pursuit of a steenbok, a small antelope. The chase was brief, the little steenbok escaped and after that she searched for some shade to recover from the sprint.

Pushing the shutter button during the jawn, I managed to get the widest gape.

Often when one sees buffalo there are only a few animals in view. If there are more they are usually hidden deeper in the bush. We entered the open plain in the middle of the Londolozi concession and we were in the middle of an enormous herd of buffalo grazing, resting and socialising. Amazing.

Lions are always a big attraction. Despite their reputation, one mostly sees them lying down and doing pretty much nothing. They usually rest in the heat of the day and generally only become active as the light goes. Our sighting was no exception.

They yawned and stretched and changed lying positions. Nevertheless, I was able to capture proof of their reputation. Note the teeth in the following image.

A complete BIG 5 experience when the elephant is added to the list. We saw them a number of times in the reserve, placid and relaxed. A good sign as it indicates they have been leading a peaceful life in the reserve and not chased by poachers.

This disturbingly still elephant was simply taking an afternoon nap.

Our visit was a very satisfying experience – I was going home with a slightly overwhelming number of images to keep me busy for a while.

Lesley was keen to meet Elmon Mhlongo, one of the longest staying and knowledgeable rangers at work at Londolozi. He is the famous tracker from the Londolozi Leopard documentaries filmed by wildlife filmmaker John Varty. Here flanked by Lesley and yours truly.

Last but not least, we were very impressed with how Londolozi treats its staff and gave us a tour of the accommodation village and how operations work behind the scene. Staff is living on and in the camp site boundaries. Offices, a school for the kids and an advanced study centre are part of the community providing all the facilities for staff and families. Sustainable development and community involvement are well implemented at Londolozi.

We were both very impressed by the village tour. It gave true meaning to the meaning of the word Londolozi: “Protector of all living things”.

See more images of our trip here: Londolozi Photo Gallery.

January 30th, 2015

Young Leopard


I am working through files from old trips. In recent times I learned a ton of new and improved processing methods. The files I am working now are from trips in 2008 and my ‘dark-room’ skills were definitely not as tuned as they are today. When going through the folders and processing this leopard image, I thought it was time to post it here. The image shown here is from a scene in Kruger park, near Paul Kruger gate. As we were leaving the park to go home, there was this traffic jam, cars packed around a tree with 2 leopards. One leopard, the mother, had just dragged an impala up the trunk of a tree. This young female leopard was impatiently moving in trees around the tree where the mother was eating. She gave a nice glare at all the fuss going on at the roadside.