2019-10-14: Monochrome Monday

For some reason, lions were calling to me today, so that’s the feature of monochrome Monday for the week.  These images were from a few different lion sightings on my most recent trip to South Africa.  I hope you enjoy, and wishing you a fantastic week!

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The Torchwood pride spent one day around Chitwa Chitwa, and we were fortunate enough to see the whole pride on the move, both in the morning, when this image was taken, and long after dark the same evening, where instead of trying to take pictures, I just sat back and enjoyed watching the lions walking under the light of a full moon.
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A lone lioness moving through the bush.
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An impressive male lion.

2019-10-13: Leopards

I finished off last Sunday’s post with the promise of sharing a few more leopard images this week, and here they are.

I was fortunate enough to spend time with this mother leopard and her cub on a couple of different occasions, in slightly different areas, providing a nice variety of images.  All the ones shared today though were taken on the same morning.

I hope you enjoy the selection below.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving today; I hope you have the opportunity to share the day with people that you care about, and can take some time to reflect on all the things to be thankful for.

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Five seconds that felt more like five minutes.  This tracker remained calm and completely still when the leopard stopped by and checked him out. 
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Once Mom was away from the kill in the tree, and out in the open, the cub came out of hiding.
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Greetings between mama and her cub.
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I like to share images like this to show the reality of a lot of leopard sightings, which is often viewing them through trees, tall grass or other obstructions.  Still beautiful to see (of course!) and it makes the moments when they are completely out in the open that much more special.
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Something startled Mom and caused her to sit straight up and look around; the cub is quite indifferent and sniffing an interesting spot of grass (which reminds me of walks with my dog!)

2019-10-07: Monochrome Monday

I think a lot of times, the antelope species seen while on safari get a bit ignored, as many guests want to focus on finding the Big 5 or Magnificent 7.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love those as well, but I do also enjoy stopping to watch the antelope going about their day.

Nyala are beautiful animals.  The males have curving horns and a shaggy coat on the underside of their necks.  The females are smaller and more lightly coloured (almost the same colouring as an impala).  Both feature white facial markings, and subtle stripes on their backs.

So why monochrome?  It just seemed to fit the images (and it gave me something to post today!)

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week!

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An older image that has been in my edited file for quite some time.  This mother and her calf were lounging the mid afternoon away in the undergrowth outside of my tent at Ngala Lodge.  I just loved the expression on the nyala’s face, like she is saying hi.

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This guy wandered right up to my deck at Lion Sands River Lodge while I was sitting outside having a cup of tea and reading my book.  He obviously felt safe and knew I was no threat to him, and he peacefully grazed while I snapped a few photos.

2019-10-06: Feasting Leopard

I said this month was going to be freestyle for my Sunday posts, and as I was going through my catalogue earlier in the week, I was taken by images of this leopard and decided to edit a few to share.

One of the things I love about being in the bush is witnessing some of the drama that unfolds.  This sighting was definitely more than met the eye at first glance.

The previous evening, we had very briefly driven to this area, as there was a leopard on an impala kill.  It was getting dark though, so we decided to carry on and make this area our first stop the next day.  When we headed out on our morning drive from Chitwa Chitwa, other vehicles were already at the sighting, so we had to wait a bit, but when we got there, we found a different leopard on the impala kill.  So, sometime during the night, the male leopard that we initially saw left, and this female snuck in to have an easy meal.

Things were made even more exciting by the fact that she had a cub who was also nearby, but you’ll need to check back next week to see some images of the two of them together.

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While it doesn’t look like there is much left on the impala, it was still a valuable, and free, meal for this leopard.
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If looks could kill.

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She was really working to gain access to a new spot on the carcass.

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The tracker on this vehicle had *nerves* of steel.  The leopard came down the tree, and paused in front of this vehicle and stared up at the tracker for 5 – 10 seconds before making her way off.  It doesn’t sound like a long time, but witnessing it, it sure felt like it.   The entire time he did not flinch or move a muscle.  

More of this beautiful leopard next week.  Until then, wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

2019-09-30: Monochrome Monday

It seems like it has been a while since I have played around with tinted monochrome images.  This elephants looked good in black and white, but felt better with the warmer, coffee tones you see below.  These were taken on different days, but all fairly late in the morning, when the sun was casting harsh shadows.  Conventional wisdom says that’s the time to put away the camera, but I’ll keep shooting as long as there is something interesting to look at.  The bulk of an elephant and the highly textured skin seem to be able to handle harsh light quite well.

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2019-09-29: Photo Art – The Magnificent Seven

This post was originally going to be the big five, but I had images of cheetah and wild dog that I wanted to play around with, so the magnificent seven it is.

One of the reasons I wanted to focus on my photo art this month was to try and learn a bit more about Topaz Studio version 2.  I’ve played around with it a bit, and watched some tutorials, but for the workflow I am using, at this stage I will be sticking with version 1.  The issue that I was finding is I can’t get files to make a round trip using On1 Photo Raw.  I can get the file into Studio 2, and work on it, but the only option for saving is an “Accept” button, which with the workflow I am using, appears to do nothing.  I select it, but the file doesn’t get saved, exported or anything else.  New software versions are typically a bit buggy, so I’ll give it a few update cycles and then play around with it again and see what happens.

One of the great things about photo editing tutorials is getting the little reminders for things that are outside of the normal workflow.  In this case, the reminder was to play around with blending modes when using AI Remix, Impression and textures.  For example, the cheetah image below was edited using (amongst other tools) a filter in AI Remix called Neon Rise.  But changing the blend mode from normal to luminosity kept the amazing texture that the filter offered, but eliminated the wild and crazy colours for something far more subdued, and suited to the image.

I hope you enjoy the selections below.  Wishing you a fantastic week ahead.

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You can find some of these images in the Photo Art section of my gallery.

2019-09-23: Monochrome Monday

Here are a few images of red-billed quelea murmurations that I hadn’t finished editing when I was doing my month of posts on birds.

I was a little unsure of converting these all to black and white, because they had beautiful sunset colours; but stripping it back does change the focus and impression.  What do you think?

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Quelea stretching from tree to tree.
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Two flocks off in the distance.
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Watching a flock of a thousand or more quelea fly by while on a sundowner drinks stop.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

2019-09-22: Photo Art – Rhinos

Today is World Rhino Day, so I decided to combine that with my photo art project for the month, and edit some of the rhino images I took on my last trip.

I won’t go on and on about the plight of the rhino, and of the greed, arrogance and ignorance of humans that has fuelled their decline and cluttered news feeds with horrifying photos of poaching.  Other people can do that far better than I.

I simply want to live in a world where rhinos can live in peace.  And I will hold that thought in my mind and in my heart, and hope that it becomes a reality.

As with all the other posts in this series, these images were created from photos I took, modified primarily using Topaz Studio to create these effects.

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