Frank St-Pierre  

Boatman vs Hippo by Frank St-Pierre

June 2021 - Boatman vs Hippo

June 2021 - Frank St-Pierre


About the Image(s)

Boatman on the Luangwa River, Zambia, around dusk. I wanted to show the vulnerability of the boatman, standing in a
hand-hewn dugout as he spots the hippo, who has also definitely spotted him and was moving toward him. Although not
readily apparent in the original, the boatman is wearing a headlamp. I cropped, and pushed exposure for a hi-key effect
to isolate the players.

Using Fuji Xt-3 (APS-C) with 100-400, from the opposite river bank, hand held, at 500mm (35mm equiv).

12 comments posted

Janice Rosner   Janice Rosner
I think the high key effect works well in this image. I'm just wishing that the hippo was a little closer to the boat as you have the area between the hippo and the boat with not much going on. I think the branches sticking up out of the water add a nice sculptural element but I'm wondering if you could have changed your position so that the branch didn't appear to be poking thru the man's chest? I like the texture on the boat which makes it clear it's a hand-hewn boat. On my monitor the man and his clothes are quite dark. I'd love to better be able to see the expression on his face.   Posted: 06/09/2021 17:24:21
Frank St-Pierre   Frank St-Pierre
Thanks for the feedback Janice. I too, wish the hippo had been closer to the boatman, but I'm sure the boatman would not have been as enthusiastic. The hippo appeared just as we were finishing our sundowner, and our guide was urging us back aboard, so little time to frame it, but yes, that branch position is not great.   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:08:56

Nicole Asselborn   Nicole Asselborn
I prefer the colored version /original .I wonder if cloning the hippo would solve the issue Janice brought up /the distance between the boat and the man .interesting image ,the branches add depth .   Posted: 06/10/2021 08:56:33
Frank St-Pierre   Frank St-Pierre
Thanks Nicole. I had a few other shots of the boatman, (see below) but none as story-worthy as when the hippo arrived. The light was problematic for all of the shots, which I tried to solve in this shot with high-key. Agree, the branches add a lot to the shot.   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:11:57
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Walter Swett   Walter Swett
Interesting treatment of the image. I think it works with this shot, but I think it would have also worked in its original form. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the headlamp on the boatman.   Posted: 06/12/2021 10:23:12
Frank St-Pierre   Frank St-Pierre
Thanks Walter. I re-edited it to leave a bit more color and this version shows the headlamp a bit better. Also less sharpening (the high-key version now seems oversharpened).   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:13:00
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Frank St-Pierre   Frank St-Pierre
... and of course, moved that hippo a little closer...   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:13:53
Walter Swett   Walter Swett
I like the changes you made and moving the hippo closer was a very good choice.   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:29:32

Pauline Jaffe   Pauline Jaffe
I find this to be an interesting /lonely. I can see the boatman smoking a cigarette, so curious. The boatman and the branches are composed well in the image. However, the hippo is quite a distance from the boatman. The colors are clear but it would be nice if you could add back some slight color to the water.   Posted: 06/13/2021 08:53:52
Frank St-Pierre   Frank St-Pierre
Thanks Pauline. Since the majority want the hippo closer, I placed it closer and resized it for proper perspective (above). Ironically, I never hesitate healing objects out of a photo but rarely think of moving objects around, including this time. But the hippo in closer proximity allows for a tighter crop. The above is quick and dirty, just to see the effect.   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:16:50

Kerry McFarlane
Very interesting subject, how lucky you were to see this occurring. Im tending towards the original version of the image, being able to see more details in the mans face, headlamp. Ideally the stump would not be going through the mans chest and the hippo would be closer to the boat.... That said this is such a great scene the image is a keeper.   Posted: 06/13/2021 17:02:16
Frank St-Pierre   Frank St-Pierre
Thanks Kerry for the feedback. There are a few more details now in the version (posted in reply to Walter) including the hippo now closer to the boat.   Posted: 06/17/2021 18:18:51


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