African Pied Kingfisher

Decent photos of kingfishers elude me to this day!  This is as good as it gets, so far. An African Pied Kingfisher along the Chobe River. 1/400sec, f5.3, ISO100
Decent photos of kingfishers elude me to this day! This is as good as it gets, so far.
An African Pied Kingfisher along the Chobe River.
1/400sec, f5.3, ISO100

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters

I couldn't have timed this better had I tried - I love the symmetry of their position and the shadows being cast by their beaks. 1/400sec, f5.6, ISO100
I couldn’t have timed this better had I tried – I love the symmetry of their position and the shadows being cast by their beaks.
1/400sec, f5.6, ISO100

Penguin

Penguin

The long grass was doing nothing to enhance the photo, and the Jackass penguin has only a limited amount of pale pink colouring around the eyes, so I decided to do a black and white conversion. After a hectic day, unwinding with some editing seemed like a good choice, and the penguin made me smile. Mission accomplished 🙂

1/320sec, f5.6, ISO200 – conversion in Silver Efex

Penguin at Boulder Beach, Cape Town, South Africa, March 2013.

Safari Sunset

Safari Sunset

I set this photo as my desktop wallpaper a couple days ago, and that seems as good a reason as any to share it. This was taken on our first game drive at Londolozi.

1/800sec, f4.5, ISO100, April 2, 2013

Leopard

Leopard

Another photo from the vault. The direction of the sunlight made the original black and white conversion I did in Lightroom look washed out. I re-edited this with Silver Efex pro, and the harsh highlights have been minimized without losing detail.

Elephants at Chobe

I decided to go back and re-edit some old photos, as I wasn’t inspired to get out and shoot this weekend. Here is a photo taken at Chobe Park in Botswana while on a boat tour.  I see lots of possibilities for editing it.

Base image, with only basic Lightroom  adjustments for chromatic aberration and lens profile correction.  1/250Sec, f10, ISO100 April 8, 2013 at Chobe Park, Botswana
Base image, with only basic Lightroom adjustments for chromatic aberration and lens profile correction.
1/250Sec, f10, ISO100
April 8, 2013 at Chobe Park, Botswana

To me, the elephant at the far left of the photo looked out of place.  I cropped it out, and edited the photo with Colour Efex adding a polarizing filter effect.

Edited with Colour Efex Pro

Edited with Colour Efex Pro
Edited with Colour Efex Pro
Edited with Colour Efex Pro

For the edit above, I used the same polarizing filter effect, but cropped in just to focus on the elephants crossing their trunks.

Edited with Silver Efex Pro
Edited with Silver Efex Pro

Finally, I did a black and white conversion with Silver Efex Pro, on a cropped version of the photo showing several elephants with their tusks in alignment.  I added in vignetting and a border to help obscure the elephant far right that was heading out of the water.

Thanks to my landscape photography instructor Jim for reminding us to always look for the picture within a picture. 🙂

Zebra

The weather on the weekend was not conducive to having my camera out, and none of my indoor projects have inspired me this week.  So, I decide instead to experiment with new software on a photo I have worked on before.

I've edited this photo a few times, but recently purchased Silver Efex and wanted to see the difference in using that compared to Lightroom for a B&W conversion.  I am very happy with the results.
I’ve edited this photo a few times, but recently purchased Silver Efex and wanted to see the difference in using that compared to Lightroom for a B&W conversion. I am very happy with the results.

Birds in flight

I’ve not been having much success in crafting regular posts these days.  I had planned on dedicating a post to birds in flight, but many of the photos I thought I would use do not look as crisp as I would like, and are now in the reject pile.  Besides, it seemed a bit discriminatory towards those birds I have had the pleasure photographing that do not have the gift of flight.

So instead I’ve put together a rather random selection of birds to feature this week, and fingers crossed I will have both the time and inspiration for something more next week.

So without further ado…

A vulture coming in to land, South Africa, April 2013
A vulture coming in to land, South Africa, April 2013
Cormorant in flight over the Chobe River in Botswana, April 2013
Cormorant in flight over the Chobe River in Botswana, April 2013
A penguin at Boulder Beach, near Cape Town, April 2013
A penguin at Boulder Beach, near Cape Town, April 2013
A group of bee-eaters along the Chobe River in Botswana, April 2013
A group of bee-eaters along the Chobe River in Botswana, April 2013
I have no idea what type of bird this is!  The photo was taken in January 2011 while on a Caribbean cruise.  Several of these birds flew next to the ship for hours at a time.
I have no idea what type of bird this is! The photo was taken in January 2011 while on a Caribbean cruise. Several of these birds flew next to the ship for hours at a time.
An ostrich near the Cape of Good Hope, April 2013
An ostrich near the Cape of Good Hope, April 2013
Egyptian Geese at the Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, April 2013
Egyptian Geese at the Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, April 2013

 

A little bit of everything

I’ve just finished a blog post for Londolozi’s guest blog page, and now it is time to get back to keeping up my own page.  Except I’ve got a touch of writer’s block.

A different perspective of an elephant - from on top of his back.  Lovely Danny carried Mom and I for an amazing hour long safari.  April 2013, Livingstone, Zambia. 1/100, f5.3, ISO400, 40mm
A different perspective of an elephant – from on top of his back. Lovely Danny carried Mom and I for an amazing hour long safari. April 2013, Livingstone, Zambia.
1/100, f5.3, ISO400, 40mm
During our transport to Nelsruit Airport, we spotted these lions just as we exited Londolozi's property.  I love that the male is watching the female stalk the impala.  Waiting for someone to get him some lunch! 1/400sec, f11, ISO200, 68mm
During our transport to Nelsruit Airport, we spotted these lions just as we exited Londolozi’s property. I love that the male is watching the female stalk the impala. Waiting for someone to get him some lunch!
1/400sec, f11, ISO200, 68mm

I’ve been trying to think of what angle to take, what animal to highlight, and right now, nothing is coming to me at all.  But these past few weeks, I have been working on a photo book project with my Mom, so I thought I would post a few of the pictures we have selected to include so far.

For some reason, this particular elephant shot makes me think of Dumbo.  Such a soft and gentle face.  At Chobe Park in Botswana. 1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO400, 300mm
For some reason, this particular elephant shot makes me think of Dumbo. Such a soft and gentle face. At Chobe Park in Botswana.
1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO400, 300mm
The antlers on kudo are truly impressive.  Such a beautiful animal.  The timing was perfect as both oxpeckers are looking in the same direction as well. 1/320sec, f5.6, ISO100, 300mm
The antlers on kudo are truly impressive. Such a beautiful animal. The timing was perfect as both oxpeckers are looking in the same direction as well.
1/320sec, f5.6, ISO100, 300mm
We saw 10-12 wild ostrich on the way to and from the Cape of Good Hope.  We even witnessed two members of park staff free a male that was entangled in some wire and had fallen on the rocks.  It was very lucky those men didn't get injured in helping the Ostrich.  Everyone that had pulled over to see what the commotion was started clapping and honking when the Ostrich took off after the rest of his group and the men were safely back in their vehicle. 1/640sec, f8.0, ISO200, 55mm
We saw 10-12 wild ostrich on the way to and from the Cape of Good Hope. We even witnessed two members of park staff free a male that was entangled in some wire and had fallen on the rocks. It was very lucky those men didn’t get injured in helping the Ostrich. Everyone that had pulled over to see what the commotion was started clapping and honking when the Ostrich took off after the rest of his group and the men were safely back in their vehicle.
1/640sec, f8.0, ISO200, 55mm
Sunrise on my last game drive at Londolozi (for now) 1/1250sec, f9.0, ISO200, 55mm
Sunrise on my last game drive at Londolozi (for now)
1/1250sec, f9.0, ISO200, 55mm

 

 

And now, for something a bit horny…

Hey you – made you look!  You probably weren’t expecting a post dedicated to Rhinos, were you?

Rhino Grazing, April 2013
Rhino Grazing, April 2013

Part of my desire to see a Rhino was based on fear.  Fear that if I waited too long, they would be poached into extinction.  I certainly hope that doesn’t happen.  At last count, 273 had been lost in Kruger National Park this year alone.  It makes me feel sad and dismayed that people cling to these outdated, and patently false beliefs about the power of Rhino Horn (or Bear Gallbladder, Tiger parts…)   Sadly, as long as there is a market for these items, people will continue to brutalize animals.

The first time I saw a Rhino, it was somewhat anti-climatic.  We were just about to stop for sundowners, and there they were…. It was one of those sighting that I had to be told where to look, and I still didn’t see them at first.  They were far from us, in the tall grasses and amongst some bushes, in the falling light.  Blackish grey blobs in the distance.  Even at 300mm zoom, I couldn’t get a decent view of them. It didn’t help that the group of three was so focused on grazing, not a single one raised their heads the entire time we were stopped.  It was exciting to know they were there, but I really didn’t get a sense of them at all.

It wasn’t until our last evening game drive that we had a proper opportunity to watch the rhinos and get some good photo opportunities.  I was surprised by how close we were able to be to them in the vehicle, but they were completely unconcerned with us.  We were completely captivated viewing them, and they were completely captivated by their grazing.  I had heard previously that rhinos have terrible vision, and looking at them up close, it is easy to understand that fact, as they appear to have very small eyes in proportion to their body size, and they always look to me a bit squinty, like they need a strong pair of glasses.

Rhino at Londolozi, April 2013
Rhino at Londolozi, April 2013
Rhino and Oxpecker, April 2013
Rhino and Oxpecker, April 2013
Rhinos, April 2013
Rhinos, April 2013
Heading off for a new patch of grass.  Rhinos at Londolozi, April 2013
Heading off for a new patch of grass. Rhinos at Londolozi, April 2013