2019-07-28: Babies in the bush – Elephants

I saved my favourite for last for my final instalment of July’s topic – Babies in the bush.  I was actually so spoiled for choice with images of baby elephants that it was difficult to select which images to share.  I’m not complaining, it is definitely a good problem to have!

On all of the properties we visited, the elephant sightings were prolific; so much so that a couple of our guides even commented about the volume of elephants sightings that we were having, and how lucky we were.  There were moments that no matter which direction you looked, you were surrounded by elephants.  And when we carried on down a road to see what else we could see, around every bend in the road, there were more.  Being in the presence of these magnificent animals brings me such a feeling of peace and joy, so you’ll never hear me complain about seeing too many elephants while out on safari.

You can’t help but smile while watching baby elephants.  They have so much personality, and are often very precocious and curious.  You’ll often see them mock charging vehicles trying to be big and tough, playing with sticks and branches in the bush, tussling with their little friends, having a temper tantrum when something isn’t going their way, or playing shy, hiding between Mom and other larger, more confident elephants.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week 🙂

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A bit of follow the leader down on of the roads through the bush.
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If this little face doesn’t make you smile, I don’t think we could be friends 🙂
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Pausing for a quick drink of milk in the middle of the road.
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Some images just beg to be edited in a different way.  For this one, instead of trying to enhance the sharpness, I went the other direction, and worked to highlight the dust, haze and softness of the image.  This is one of my favourite images that I have worked on in the last couple of weeks, and I think I’m going to have to find some wall space and have this one printed.  You can find this image on my gallery page.
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A herd of elephants digging in the dry riverbed for the water hidden underground.  Look at the tiny baby tucked up against its Mom; still small enough to clear under her belly.
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There were several occasions on this trip where I ended up in the midst of enormous elephants herds; it didn’t matter which direction you looked, there would be many elephants to watch and take pictures of.  Here is one of those moments with elephants as far as the eye could see, with lots of youngsters in the mix.
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A pair of youngsters playing while the rest of the herd grazed all around them.
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It’s a special treat to see elephants that are tiny enough to still be taking cover under their Mom’s tummy.

2019-07-22: Monochrome Monday

I spent a bit of time playing with my infrared filter while traveling, and while it is a style I definitely need to explore and practice more, I am quite pleased with how these images turned out.

I actually remembered to do the custom white balance before taking these images, which made editing them a more straightforward process once I got home.  I’m actually considering having one of my cameras converted to infrared sometime in the future, to make it a bit easier to explore this genre of photography.

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This beautiful tree is at the edge of the river, seen from the main deck at Lion Sands River Lodge.  
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This is the river view from the main deck at Lion Sands Tinga Lodge.  The long exposures that are necessary when using a traditional camera with IR filter showcase the movement of the water, and the breeze playing with the leaves and the grasses.
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Another river view from Lion Sands Tinga Lodge.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections of the day.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

2019-07-21: Babies in the bush – Lion Cubs

Last week I focused on leopard cubs, and this week, it’s the lions.  The lion sightings on this past trip started out very slowly, which was a stark contrast to previous trips to South Africa, but, you just never know what mother nature is going to show you.  The first cub that was spotted was an older cub (a teenager) with her mom and aunt on a buffalo kill at King’s Camp in the Timbavati region.  These weren’t the first lions that I saw, but the first lion that was still young enough to be referred to as a cub by our ranger, rather than a sub-adult.

On my last day at King’s Camp, we found a huge pride of lions, and I actually lost count of the cubs, there were so many of them around.  They were spread out over a fairly large area, so I don’t even have a photo with the whole pride visible to try and recount, but it was around 12-14 individuals, including the two pride males that were spotted nearby.

Both for lions and the leopards, the cubs that I saw on this past trip were quite a bit older than some of the tiny babies I saw on previous trips, but no less wonderful to spend time with.  And, the nice thing about the most of the lion sightings on this past trip is they were a bit active, rather than just snoozing away the day (or night).

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The first lion cub of the trip, seen her with either Mom or her aunt.  Our ranger was able to distinguish Mom and aunt while watching them feed; he was very good at figuring out the dynamics of the body language and posturing that was going on.
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Three of the young cubs spotted on my last day in the Timbavati; there were four lionesses occupying various patches of shade in the area, each with a few cubs in the vicinity.
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Two cubs sharing a meal.
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One alert cub amongst a mass of lion bodies.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week; wishing you a fantastic week ahead!

 

2019-07-15: Monochrome Monday

This past trip was filled with a lot of rhino sightings, and like elephants, I think they make terrific subjects for black and white photography.  Their thick, textured skin can be highlighted very well in monochrome, and by removing colour, it is actually easier to see how such a large animal can blend into the surroundings so well.

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A rhino cow and calf spotted while staying at Lion Sands river Lodge.
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An oxpecker perched between the eyes of a rhino.  These birds do a valuable service in removing ticks and other bugs from the skin of their hosts.
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A pair of bachelors moving through the bushes.  These two were spotted in the Timbavati, and they moved between open and thicker areas.  Out in the open they are easy to see, but as soon as they are amongst the trees, it is nearly impossible to spot them.  Like elephants, I am always amazed how an animal an large can disappear into the bush so easily.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the day; I hope your Monday is fantastic!

2019-07-14: Babies in the bush – Leopard Cubs

During my last trip, we saw leopard cubs both in the Timbavati and in the Sabi Sands.  The cubs I spent time with on this trip were a bit older than the ones I saw during my 2017 trip, but certainly no less amazing to watch.  If you missed some of the previous posts, you can see some of the older images here and here (or just search the site for leopards).

During my time in the Timbavati, we found one leopard cub, and while in the Sabi Sands we saw one cub on a few different occasions.  These shy, beautiful cats will grow up to be stealthy hunters, but for now, they are totally reliant on their Mom for food and protection.  I absolutely believe that leopards only allow you to see them if they want you to, so having an opportunity to view these babies is an absolute thrill.

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A leopard cub rests atop a termite mound, with Mom relaxing nearby.  Mom had taken a nyala down, and as the kill was nearby and it was beginning to grow dark, all sightings of this cub and her Mom were winding down.  They do not want to do anything to put the cub at risk, so they do not use spotlights on young cubs feeding at night.
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Such a beautiful face.
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This cub was in the Sabi Sands, and was a little bit skittish.  She would come out once vehicle activity had dies down; so you needed to be quite patient to see her (Mom was very chill and unconcerned with the vehicles).  Here she comes out of the bushes at the top of a rise, heading towards Mom in the fading evening light.
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Mom’s tail makes for an excellent toy 🙂
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The last view I had of the leopard cub in the Sabi Sands.   On this occasion, she was lying close to Mom as our vehicle approached, and was comfortable enough that she didn’t move off into the bushes.

2019-07-08: Impala

When you pull up to a small group of impala, in my experience they will either bolt immediately, or give you a passing glance and then go back to grazing.  But when you encounter a large herd like this near the side of the road, things tend to get a bit hectic, quite quickly.

We stopped to take some pictures of the herd and all was calm; until it wasn’t.  The noise of the vehicle didn’t startle them; perhaps it was realizing that we were actually looking at them, not something else, that brought up their urge to flee.  Or brought up the order for one of them to flee… but when one bolts, all the others follow suit.

A lot of people don’t really give impala a passing glance whilst out on safari; their abundance in so many areas; compared to the relative scarcity of predator sightings, can make them seem a bit boring to some.  I think they are beautiful creatures though, and love when I have the opportunity to watch them and take a few images.

I hope you enjoy my selections this week.  I hope your week ahead is wonderful! 🙂

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A large herd of impalas, near the side of the road we were traveling on the way back to camp on our morning game drive.
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One of herd got anxious, and then they all pick up on the vibe and start getting anxious.  
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The dominant ram trying to retain control of the situation, and lead the females away in the direction that he wants to go.
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The slightest sound or movement is enough to set them off, and the group begins to panic, bolting in every direction.
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Some running for it, while others leap in to the air to prove how strong and powerful they are (and therefore not a good target for a predator).

2019-07-07: Babies in the bush

I’m sure most would have expected me to start with elephants for my first post in a series on babies in the bush; and I was tempted to.  We spent time with so many large herds, and saw so many young elephants, I am spoiled for choice with images.  But, I decided that I would start with something different, and chose to focus on animals with hooves instead.  My timing was wrong to see tiny impala, but I did see a fair number of young giraffe, waterbuck and zebra during my travels.

I hope you enjoy my selections, and wishing you an excellent week ahead.

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This giraffe was acting a bit like a crossing guard for several youngsters crossing the road in front of us.  Not the best images, but great to show the size difference between the babies and the adults.  I only wish there had been an impala in the shot too, to really show how large the young giraffe actually are.
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Fulfilling the cross guard role as another youngster moved from one side to the other.  There were about a half dozen giraffe in this group in total.
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A herd of zebra pause to allow the littlest one a chance to suckle.
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A young waterbuck blending quite nicely with the autumn tones of the bush.  Mom was nearby grazing.
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A zebra and her foal pause to check out our vehicle, before carry on slowly strolling through the bush.
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One waterbuck mama acting as babysitter for a group of youngsters.  They were all lounging close to the dam at Chitwa Chitwa, while other members of the group were grazing or drinking.
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Little and large.