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Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 09-29-2015, 11:10 AM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205


It is time to show you the third chapter of my trip to Malawi and Zambia. This time it is about a 'typical Africa experience'. The main story is about reptiles and amphibians. :)
The full report is on my website. You can find the link here:

Malawi 2015 Part III: ‘The Warm Heart Of Liwonde National Park’ | RONALD ZIMMERMAN WILDLIFE & NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - All images © 2008-2015 Ronald Zimmerman

Here is a small selection of photos. In my report there are many more photos. :D

1. Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)


2. Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)


3. Pel's Fishing Owl (Scotopelia peli)


4. African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)


5. Böhm's Bee-eater (Merops boehmi)


6. Zebra (Equus quagga)


7. African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)


8. African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)


9. Angola Green Snake (Philothamnus angolensis)


10. Southern Foam Nest Frog (Chiromantis xerampelina)


11. Wahlberg's Striped Skink (Trachylepis wahlbergii)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 09-06-2015, 02:34 PM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
Thank you very much! :)
Well I am currently on some kind of crossroad. I want to go full frame. I don't need the extra reach that APS-C provides and I really want the extra high ISO power and other full frame advantages. I will decide next spring. By then Pentax might also have an option. :)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 09-06-2015, 02:30 PM  
The Algarve
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 6
Views: 769
I have been there in April. There is a great place for pizza and for ice-cream! :)
I don't know what your main interests are. I am a wildlife photographer. You can read my report here:
Ria Formosa (Tavira, Portugal) | RONALD ZIMMERMAN WILDLIFE & NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - All images © 2008-2015 Ronald Zimmerman

If you have questions, please ask. :)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 09-06-2015, 01:56 PM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
I just finished part II! This part is about the Zomba Plateau. You can find it here:
Malawi 2015 Part II: Zomba Plateau | RONALD ZIMMERMAN WILDLIFE & NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - All images © 2008-2015 Ronald Zimmerman

It is very short. I can not wait to upload the photos of Liwonde NP. :D

Moloney's White-collared Monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis ssp. moloneyi)


Moloney's White-collared Monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis ssp. moloneyi)


Variable skink (Trachylepis varia)


Meller's Chameleon (Trioceros melleri)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 09-01-2015, 08:22 AM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
Thanks for the compliment! :)


Mentioning NG is a huge compliment :)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 08-31-2015, 11:52 AM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
Thank you very much! I think I improved my skills since last year. :) I have more high quality photos and I think my best is better than my best of last year. :) I had a lot of practice. :)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 08-31-2015, 11:29 AM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
Thank you for the compliment! :D
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 08-31-2015, 11:14 AM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
Thank you very much! :D

I also post on field herpetology forums. It is quite normal to compose it like this (except for the header). :)
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 08-31-2015, 10:56 AM  
My Malawi & Zambia adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205


Last July-August I went to Malawi and Zambia. It was my first real Africa experience. I have been to Morocco before, but that is something totally different. I always write reports to share my experiences, but most of all to show my photography. Last year I wrote a topic about my trip to Borneo and the gear and techniques I used. Now I just want to show you my photography and I hope I can inspire you in a way. The first part of my reports is about a very interesting location. It is about Mount Mulanje. This massif looks like a lonely mountain. A mountain like this is home to many special animals that live nowhere else on earth. This mountain is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
My next episodes will be about Zomba Plateau, Liwonde NP, Cape McClear, Ntchisi, and South Luangwa (Zambia). So there will also be reports about the more usual stuff from Africa. ;) I will add those reports later to this topic. :)

You can read the report about Mulanje here:
Malawi 2015 Part I: The Majestic Mount Mulanje | RONALD ZIMMERMAN WILDLIFE & NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - All images © 2008-2015 Ronald Zimmerman

I know you all have Pentax gear and you might be interested in the gear I use. :)

K-3

K-5 II

DA* 300 F4

HD DA 15mm F4 Limited

DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

HD Pentax-DA AF Rear Converter 1.4x AW
AF360 Flash

Wescott Micro Apollo (softbox)


Fenix HP15 Headlight

Clik Elite Escape (camera bag)

If you have questions, feel free to ask! :D
Here a preview of the photos in the trip report!

Herald Snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)


Meller's Chameleon (Trioceros melleri)


Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis)






Common Reed Frog (Hyperolius viridiflavus)


Angola Green Snake (Philothamnus angolensis)


Mitchell's flat lizard (Platysaurus mitchelli)


Spotted Reed Frog (Hyperolius substriatus)


Yellow-spotted Tree Frog (Leptopelis flavomaculatus)


Mulanje Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon platyceps)


Mulanje Chameleon (Nadzikambia mlanjensis)







I hope you like it! :D
If you want to see more, you can also follow me on my Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/ronaldzimmermanphotography
Forum: Photographic Technique 01-03-2015, 04:29 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Haha thanks! Well the K-5 II is still a great camera. :)
Well if it makes your images from Madagaskar look pretty boring I hope it inspired you for your next great trip. :) At least I never stop learning in photography. I started 6 years ago and I will continue to learn. :)

Sometimes I missed an AF like the K-3, but the K-5 II is also good. The K-5 is a different story. The K-5 is very unreliable with bad (dim) lightning.

I want to write more articles like this, but I do not know a subject right now. :)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 01-03-2015, 12:16 PM  
Nature Trip report: Herping in Romania and Bulgaria
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 3
Views: 947
Haha thanks! :D Yes, last week I read that the European way has been very successful. I think a combination of the American and European way would be even better. I mean big national parks and nature around the people to coexist. Natura 2000 should not disappear because of the financial crisis.



Thank you and you are welcome :D
Forum: Post Your Photos! 01-03-2015, 08:02 AM  
Nature Trip report: Herping in Romania and Bulgaria
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 3
Views: 947
I travel a lot for my hobby. I love to do wildlife photography. I also make trip reports with the photos I make plus the story behind the photos.
I photograph reptiles and amphibians and sometimes when I have the opportunity for a beautiful mammal or bird I will photograph them too. :)
My last trip was to Romania and Bulgaria in autumn. It was a great trip with many snakes.

You can read the full trip report here:
Autumn trip to Romania and Bulgaria 2014 - RONALD ZIMMERMAN WILDLIFE & NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - All images © 2008-2015 Ronald Zimmerman

Gear

K-5

K-5 II

DA* 300 F4

HD DA 15mm F4 Limited

DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

AF360 Flash

Wescott Micro Apollo (softbox)

Diffuser for my internal flash

Fenix HP15 Headlight

Clik Elite Escape (camera bag)

Here some highlights :) You can ask me everything about the gear and how I make the photos. :)

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)


Eastern Tree Frog (Hyla orientalis)


Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)


Nose-horned Viper (Vipera ammodytes)




Eastern Montpellier Snake (Malopolon insignitus)


Feel free to follow me on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ronaldzimmermanphotography
Forum: Photographic Technique 01-03-2015, 07:45 AM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Thanks! :D
Forum: Photographic Technique 12-28-2014, 05:13 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Thank you very much! :D
Forum: Photographic Technique 11-30-2014, 04:45 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Thanks!

Yeah Madagaskar was great and still has great species. It hurts to see that there is almost no primary rainforest left. :(
The chameleon is great! :D


Thank you very much! :D


Thank you and you are welcome! :)

It is a great combo :) I use the DA*300 with the K10d, K5 and K5II now, and on all bodies a great lens! :)
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-22-2014, 03:31 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
For the photography I do Pentax is great. I would love to have a full frame camera for better high ISO and a bit better tracking AF. But for now I am satisfied with what I can already make. But I think I can do better with a better camera. Especially the AF. I had great photo moments and possible better photos than the ones I show other people, but the AF screwed up on those frames.
Maybe Pentax can deliver in the future. :)

Yeah the low light AF of the K-5 is terrible. So much frustrations compared to the K-5II.



Great choice. I also made someone buying Pentax instead of selling his Sony stuff and buying Nikon. :)


Thank you and you are welcome! :)
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-12-2014, 03:01 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Haha.. I will, when I stop being too lazy to bring a tri-pod with me ;)



Thank you! Great compliment! But it is something I want to improve on. Well I know I can already do better, but I have to take a tri-pod with me and pay full attention to the landscape. Now I am too focussed on the animals. :)


Thanks and you are welcome! :D
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-09-2014, 03:45 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Thanks! I will :D


Thank you :D


Thanks! :D

The bag is great. The raincover is good enough, but be sure you really cover it. With a full bag (also the small pockets etc.) it could be difficult. But if you do not stuff all the pockets the raincover fits perfect. Without raincover the bag can also handle a lot of water. :)
I still love the bag, especially because of the top loader. I can easily grab my K5II + DA* 300 with the hood on it (it fits!!).
Oh and the bag did not feel very warm on my back. :)


Thanks :D
I got as close as possible. The closest focussing distance is 18cm (from sensor to subject), so I think I was within 10cm. I used special gloves to be sure, but this specie is very relaxed. Other pit vipers species can have more temperament. But I am always careful with venomous snakes. :)
Yeah I love that frog photo too. :) This winter I will start making a book about this trip. That is a real winter job. ;) National Geographic, I do not think so, but that would be awesome. :)
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-07-2014, 03:18 PM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Thank you :D


Thanks! :D Haha no.. thugs :D



Yeah. I know it from someone else. His shutterbutton was 'melt' in Costa Rica. You spray with your right index finger and there is always DEET on that finger after that. So washing your hands afterwards before you use your camera is mandatory. :)

I am busy writing my report about Pulau Tioman (Malaysia). I already posted two photos on my Facebook Page. I will probably post it in two weeks/before the weekend if I have time. Next week I will go to Romania and Bulgaria (again with my Pentax gear ;)). :)
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-04-2014, 01:59 AM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Thank you all for the nice words! :D

Yes that is one big advantage of being a teacher :) The disadvantage is that it is always more expensive..


Haha that would make a great advertisement! Pentax: "Shake Resistance will overcome all your fears" ;)


Yeah it was! Haha I had only two leeches. Luckily they are not dangerous and you can pull them out easily, but what a mess. It looked as if I was stepped in my belly. ;)


Thanks, that is a big compliment! I hope they will publish one picture of me someday. It does not matter if it is the international version or the local Dutch version. :)
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-03-2014, 07:09 AM  
My Bornean adventure with Pentax gear
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 40
Views: 5,414
Wildlife photography is my passion, and biology teacher is my profession. This summer I took my Pentax gear to the beautiful nature of Borneo. Visiting Borneo has always been a dream to me. This summer my dream came true. 
I visited Sabah and Sarawak which are part of Malaysia. The National Parks I visited are Mount Kinabalu NP, Crocker Range NP, Mulu NP, Bako NP and Kubah NP. I have seen stunning views and a lot of wildlife. It was my first trip to the jungle with my Pentax gear. 

I met a lot of hard conditions to photograph. Conditions like low light on the forest floor, hard contrasts under the canopy, a lot of moist and field trips during the night. I want to share my experiences with the people who also want to visit beautiful places like this. In this report I want to focus on the gear. 





All my photos are from my trip reports:



Mt. Kinabalu NP & Crocker Range NP
http://ronaldzimmerman.nl/malaysia-mt-kinabalu-crocker-range/


Mt. Mulu NP
Malaysia 2014 Part II: Gunung Mulu National Park (Sarawak, Borneo) - RONALD ZIMMERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Bako NP
http://ronaldzimmerman.nl/malaysia-2014-part-iii-bako-national-park-sarawak-borneo/



Kubah NP

Malaysia 2014 Part IV: Kubah National Park (Sarawak, Borneo) - RONALD ZIMMERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY



Gear

I photograph amphibians and reptiles most of the time. When possible I also like to photograph mammals. I only photograph birds when I have an opportunity. I never look for them. This is why I do not have a very long telelens.

K-5

K-5 II

DA* 300 F4

HD DA 15mm F4 Limited

DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

AF360 Flash

Wescott Micro Apollo (softbox)

Diffuser for my internal flash

Fenix HP15 Headlight

Clik Elite Escape (camera bag)


Bodies

For this trip I took the Pentax K-5 and Pentax K-5 II with me. The low light capabilities of both cameras are great. Photos are very useable at ISO 1600. I prefer not to go higher than that. 
The big difference is the autofocus. The K-5 II was a lot better in getting focus in low light. In primary rainforest there is not much light on the forest floor during the day and during the night I just had an headlight to help with focussing. The K-5 II did a great job there. I barely used my K-5 in conditions like this. My K-5 was for wide angle shots with a HD DA 15mm Limited mounted, and it was my backup body. 
In my photography I prefer available light during the day. As I said there is not much light on the forest floor, but if there is light it is extremely bright. So you can have extreme contrasts. The K-5 (II) Is very capable is making photos in conditions like that.




A Common Ground Skink (Mabuya multifasciata) under ’theater lights’



I did not want to use flash for this Bornean Keeled Green Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus subannulatus). It would look unnatural, because reptiles have shiny scales. The scales will reflect your flash. So if possible, I will not use my flash. With ISO 1000 and F3.5 with my DFA 100 macro I could still use 1/100. The snake was on a moving branch, so longer exposures were no option.

Having the great dynamic range does not mean that I have to use it all the time. Sometimes I did not use it on purpose.





I made this portrait of the Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) in Bako NP with backlight and did not fill the shadows. Instead I made more shadows and made the bright background even brighter. The lightning of the camera was more on the background so the monkey was more underexposed to achieve the contrast
.


I did the same with this Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus). The hair on the back is more prominent with this effect.


Sometimes silhouettes are just nicer. 



DA* 300

I love all my three lenses, because they all serve a different purpose. This DA* 300 is a great telelens. It is not too heavy, can focus already from 1,5m and the image quality is great. 
It has only one focal length, so it may not be so versatile. 300mm is also not that much. For my photography it is perfect. I have enough reach for reptiles (lizards) and for mammals. I am not a birder. I can imagine that birders want more reach.





Lizards can be scared very easily and by catching many species can lose their tail. Another disadvantage is that lizards look very stressed on the photograph when being caught. To achieve natural looking photos I use my DA* 300. Most lizards tolerate you within 1,5m or 2m, so this lens is perfect. I used it making this photo of the Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella).


This Brooke's Water Skink (Tropidophorus brookei) was also photographed with the DA* 300.

HD DA 15 F4 Limited

I bought this lens because I wanted a wide angle lens, and this lens specifically for wide angle close ups. This lens can focus from very close distance (0.18 m). I use it to photograph frogs, lizards and snakes in their habitat. This lens is also very lightweight. My back was already 8kg, so another wide angle lens would make my bag even heavier. The disadvantage is that is my only non WR lens. I have to be more careful with this lens in the rainforest.


This Bornean Keeled Green Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus subannulatus) is venomous. I focussed very close using gloves to protect myself just in case. This snake was very relaxed and not striking at all.


Black-spotted Rock Frog (Staurois guttatus) looking out over the habitat.

DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

For frogs and snakes this is my main lens. It focuses close and is extremely sharp. This lens is also very lightweight. What I did not like is that there is no focus limiter, fast DC motor and internal focus. That is also what makes this lens lightweight. But I would like to have all those features (Ricoh, are you listening?). The WR part is always great in a rainforest.



Using my 100mm macro during daytime gives great bokkeh and details.


You can get very close!



It is also the lens I used during field trips at night time. For amphibians and reptiles you have to go out during night time. During the day they hide, because it is too hot.

Flash setup

For my field trips during the night I used my onboard flash (with onboard flash diffuser) as the master and I used my AF360 flash as a wireless slave. I kept this wireless flash handhold next to the camera from an angle. If you do not hold this flash from an angle you will get overexposed parts because frogs have a shiny skin. This was also why my onboard flash was set to -2. 
On my AF360 I used a Wescott Micro Apollo soft box to make the light softer. It really improved the quality. I needed some practice with this setup, but I am satisfied with the results. 
On my next trip I want to use a macro bracket and dual flash setup for better results.

I also bought a transparent map cover for bikes. My flash fits inside. In case it was raining during a night trip and wanted to keep on photographing.



Wallace's Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus)


Bornean Horned Frog / Bornean Horned Toad (Megophrys nasuta)


Dark-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates macrotis)

Other tips

- I used a silica box inside my bag to keep the moist out of my gear.
During macro shots on moving trees I used AF-C and bursts to keep the subject sharp.

-I used TaV with an ISO range of 80-800. 80-1000 or 80-1600, because lightning was difficult with a lot of changing lightning in the jungle. Sometimes you have to react fast and this really helps.

-Be careful with anti-mosquito fluids (DEET), because it eats plastics. Always wash your hands with water afterwards before you use your camera gear.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and maybe learned new things. If you have questions or if you want to know more about a subject you can always ask.



I am also very active on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronaldzimmermanphotography








Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-18-2014, 03:17 PM  
Photokina 2014: Pentax K3 Prestige / K-S1 - Is that it for K-mount news?
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 210
Views: 23,352
I did.. I did not know that photography would become such a serious hobby. I need sponsors :P
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-10-2014, 03:44 PM  
Lightroom 5.6 released
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 31
Views: 5,031
Still no HD DA 15mm Ltd profile! :(
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-10-2014, 03:42 PM  
Photokina 2014: Pentax K3 Prestige / K-S1 - Is that it for K-mount news?
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 210
Views: 23,352
Full Frame at a €2000 price tag with weather sealing, 7FPS, 25< RAW buffer, new AF-module with wide spread AF points for full frame, double SD slot, 24MP and a little bit bigger than the K-3 :)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-10-2014, 03:38 PM  
Poll: Official Photokina Predictions Thread
Posted By Serpiente
Replies: 309
Views: 30,500
I hope a full frame with the same specs and (hopefullly a little less) pricing as the Nikon D750 rumors with a big buffer :)
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