2018-04-10: WPC – Smile

The photo prompt of the week is smile; either an image of a smile, or something that makes you smile.  Since baby animals are a universal crowd pleaser, here are a fewer images of youngsters that have made me smile.

I hope you enjoy!

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A trio of cheetah cubs braving a late afternoon windstorm.  Their mother was nearby, definitely ill at ease because of the weather.
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Looks at the big full bellies of these lion cubs.  They were going back and forth between the females, greeting each with affection.
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A pair of leopard cubs playing amongst the fallen branches in a ravine.  These two were all over the place; there Mom definitely had her work cut out for her.
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The tiniest lion cubs I have had the privilege of seeing.  Their Mom had brought down a giraffe calf, but these two were more interested in playing than feeding.  They were under 3 weeks old.
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An elephant calf having a go at the balance beam 🙂  He came pretty close to ending up in a heap on the ground, but recovered from it well.
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I don’t think I have ever seen anyone smiling as much as our ranger when we were at this sighting.  To say he was thrilled is a complete understatement.  A dream come true, once in a lifetime moment on safari.
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This is where mama leopard stashed her two youngsters.  The hollowed log didn’t make for the best photo opportunities, but it did make for a very safe spot for these leopard cubs to stay hidden and out of danger.

WPC: Smile

2018-04-09: Monochrome Monday

A trio of cats to start the week.

Wishing you all a fantastic one ahead 🙂

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This leopard was the star of many of my images one evening in the Okavango Delta.  We stayed with him while he lounged in the tree, while another vehicle from the lodge was making its way over so some late arriving guests could spend some time with him as well.  Since I had spent over an hour with him at sunset, this night image under spotlight was captured just an opportunity to play around later with editing.
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As soon as this young cheetah rested her head down, she was invisible in the grass.  With the location she was in, I am still in awe of the tracker that spotted her.
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The king of the savannah heads off to patrol his territory (or find some shade for a nap).  Given the amount of time lions sleep, it was probably the less glamorous sounding second option.

 

If you’d like to see more images like this, head over to my gallery to see some of my favourite.  And remember, you can find beautiful textiles with my images on my Vida site.

2018-02-19: Revisiting Old Work

Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to say sorry for the lack of activity over the past week. I made the plunge to move to a new self-hosted website so I could combine my blog and gallery (something I have wanted to do for over a year now). And while the internet does make everything appear to be instantaneous, moving 4+ years of blog posts, migrating a domain to a new hosting provider and setting everything up just takes time. Especially when you aren’t a web professional! My gallery is very much a work in progress, but the blog is up and running as usual, and fingers crossed my followers have been migrated over properly so someone, besides my Mom, has the chance to read this 🙂

I was hoping to get this posted yesterday, but the Happiness Engineers at WordPress just finished with the behind the scenes work to get my followers transferred to the new site.  So this post is better late than never.

Given all the behind the scenes work I have been doing, I am really glad I didn’t choose a topic that required me to get out shooting this week.

The photos below don’t have much rhyme or reason, other than they caught my eye when scrolling through my picture folders with the thought that I might be able to make something a bit better out of it now than I could when I shot it.

I hope you enjoy today’s selections, once I get the gallery up and running, I’ll post a note about that and start looking for some feedback on the redesign.

The steely gaze of a vulture perched on a dead tree. I didn’t do much to this; a little cropping, and a bit of work to bring out the texture in the feathers. April, 2013.
If you are in South Africa in November, when the leatherback turtles begin nesting, I would highly recommend the experience of going out to try to see them. It is such an epic experience; but not the best for photography, especially in the rain. The shots I captured were more proof that I was there then anything, and I really didn’t try editing them originally. Here I didn’t do much other than try to bring some of the texture back to the sand and correct the strange colour cast caused by red-lamp flashlights plus camera flash. For a sense of scale, this turtle is basically the size of a VW Bug; it weighed approx. 600 kilos.
Kalahari the cheetah climbing a hill under a dreary late afternoon sky. I loved the vantage point of the images I shot at this time, but the harsh light made them a challenge to work with. October, 2014.

For the then and now section this week, I chose this image of the Sand River at sunrise captured in 2013 on my first journey to Africa.  I actually quite like the original edit that I did, so I tried to interpret it in a bit of a different way, focusing on the warmth and the fog on the updated edit.

Sunrise on the Sand River – original edit.
Sunrise on the Sand Rover – updated edit.

2017-08-08: Phinda Game Reserve

After my time in Botswana, we finished out our trip at three different camps in South Africa.  All were places we had visited previously and liked so much we wanted to return to experience them again.

Travelling from the Okavango Delta to the Durban area in South Africa is pretty much a full day event.  We didn’t have time for a morning game drive, so we had an early breakfast and took a leisurely 1 1/2 hour drive to the airstrip that was being used by Machaba while the local strip was flooded.  From camp we flew to Maun, onwards to Johannesburg and then finally into Durban, arriving around 9pm.  Rather than take another flight, we had a driving transfer from Durban to Phinda, around a 2 1/2 hour drive, that left our hotel around 10 the next morning.

Arriving at Vlei lodge, we were greeted like family with welcoming hugs from Kathryn, the camp manager (whom we had also met during our previous stay).  We also had a chance to reconnect with the wonderful chef Happiness, who even asked us for our favourite items from the previous stay, so she could make sure they were on the menu during our visit.

Unlike the lodges we visited later that were adjacent to Kruger, Phinda is a fully fenced reserve, and as such have taken the difficult decision to de-horn the rhino population in an effort to curb poaching.  With horns or without, rhino are such impressive creatures to come across.  It is just so sad that it has come to this in order to keep them safe.  Like the properties in both Namibia and Botswana, Phinda had received an abundance of rain during the rainy season, after several years of rather severe drought.  The abundance of food and water meant that general game were much more scattered, and often the game drives were quite for periods when we didn’t see any animals around.  We did have one epic morning drive though filled with fun elephant encounters as well as several groups of rhino.

Phinda is definitely a good place to go if you are interested in seeing cheetah.  We saw 6 different cheetah during our stay, including a mom with 3 cubs.

Here are a few of my images from my recent visit to Phinda.  If you are interested, you can find some from my previous visit here and here.

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A nightjar spotted by our guide Dumi on the way back to camp one evening.  This was the first time I had a chance to photograph one of these birds.  As with anything, a bit more practice required!
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We spotted this herd of zebra, along with a large number of wildebeest on an afternoon game drive.  It was a very blustery day, and the herd seemed quite on edge.
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This group of five de-horned white rhino just wasn’t interested in cooperating and facing the same way for a photograph.
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We spent time with a breeding herd at the water hole on a morning game drive.  
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Close encounters of the elephant variety!  This guy was on route to the water hole, and wasn’t about to let our driving on the road slow down his pace.
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We found these cheetah cubs and their mother later on the windy afternoon.  They too were on edge and on high alert.
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Our first afternoon game drive, we came across three lionesses wandering down the road.
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Being investigated by one of the elephants at the watering hole.
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A yellow-throated long claw found on a foggy morning game drive.
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Drink in hand and a full moon rising.  This was a lovely break on what was otherwise a rather quiet game drive, where we saw only a few small groups of general game like impala and zebra.

 

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

2017-08-04: WPC Textures

The photo challenge prompt of the week is textures.  There are a lot of directions that this can be taken; I decided on a combination of animals in their environment and animal portraits.

I hope you enjoy my take on texture.

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Agama Lizard, Kenya, September 2016.  I like the contrast of the colourful, scaly agama lizard against the drab brown tree trunk and the spiky thorn branches.
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A lioness walks through the desert in Namibia, April, 2017.  Desert environments can seem one dimensional from a distance, but they are full of an amazing variety of textures.  Sharp rocky outcrops, weathered wood, shifting sand, sparse vegetation and of course, the landscape occasionally dotted with animals and birds.
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Dense fog, dry grass, the pitted sides of a termite mound.  Oh, and a cheetah too 🙂  South Africa, May 2017
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Soft fur, spiky whiskers and a whole lot of slippery slime.  A leopard cub plays in a very swampy area of the bush.  South Africa, May 2017.
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The wrinkly skin of the elephant is mimicked in the tree branch shadows falling above the eye and on the ear.  Kenya, September 2016.

 

Please visit:

www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

 

WPC: Textures

2016-09-25: What I've seen this week

I returned home Monday night from a fabulous trip to Uganda and Kenya.  While I’ve been spending the week trying to get back into my normal routine, I have had some time to edit a few photo from the trip.  There will be lots more of photos (and stories) over the coming weeks and months.  Here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come.

Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

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I saw an abundance of birds during a boat cruise along the Kazinga channel in Uganda.
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A red-tailed monkey near my cabin in the Kibale Forest, Uganda.
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Young giraffes playing. Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Kenya.
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Young elephants playing in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
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A gerenuk reaching for the choicest leaves. Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya.
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Wildebeest crossing the Mara River. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
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Male cheetah, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
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Wildebeest and gazelle silhouetted in the sunrise. Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Kenya.
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A young lion in the Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya.
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Toti the chimpanzee giving us the finger! Kibale Forest, Uganda.
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Ugandan Kob in the Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.
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It looks like this L’hoest’s monkey wants to go on a game drive with us. Bwindi, Uganda.
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A pair of juvenile gorillas playing in the trees. Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.
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Gorillas grooming each other. Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.