2015-11-26: Trio

A trio of wildlife photos for this week’s topic – Trio.

Enjoy!

Wishing all my American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.

20151126_The Daily Post Trio
A trio of elephants travelling through tall grass on a bright morning. Okavango Delta, April 2015 1/400sec, f9.0, ISO 500
20151126_The Daily Post Trio-3
A trio of cheetah brothers resting in a very small patch of shade. Phinda Private Game Reserve, May 2015 1/640sec, f9.0, ISO 320
20151126_The Daily Post Trio-2
A trio of zebra playing a very close game of follow the leader. Okavango Delta, April 2015 1/1250sec, f8.0, ISO 640

 

Trio

Fortunate

One of the members of the local photography group I’m in recently posted a prompt asking people to pick one word that describes themselves as a photographer or their photographic style, and why.  I spent some time thinking about it recently, and I think the best word for me is fortunate.  It’s a great descriptor not only of my photography, but of my life in general.

Over the relatively short time I have been practicing photography, the absolute best wildlife sightings, and photographs I have captured, have been when I have gone out without expectation of seeing anything specific (or anything at all).  Conversely, the times I have set out looking for a certain bird or a specific type of photo, I have almost always come back empty handed.  In all aspects of my life, I am trying to be more open and allowing of things to unfold… I think I practice this with the most consistency within my photographic work.

Day to day, I take my camera along when out walking the dog; somedays there will be a beautiful sunrise, or perhaps some interesting birds in the area I am walking.  If I can capture a photo of it – great!  If not, I’ve still seen something that has made my day brighter.  And on those days when I don’t see anything at all, I still have had the chance to get some fresh air with my best buddy.  Last summer, I never could have planned to watch the result of eagles robbing an osprey nest (see the post here if you missed it http://jennifersawicky.com/2014/08/10/bald-eagles-versus-an-osprey/) or sharing a walk with half a dozen northern flickers.  I don’t always get great photos of these sightings, but that really doesn’t matter to me.

On my first trip to South Africa, our guide asked us the first afternoon what we were hoping to see, and we all said “Everything!”.  I was so in awe of the place, so amazed to be in a place that I had dreamt of for years, that every plant, tree, bird and mammal was, and still is,  thrilling.  Not only does having this relaxed attitude while out on a game drive takes the pressure off the guides, it allows you to enjoy whatever mother nature has in store for you that day.  Again, some of the most amazing things that I have seen were completely unplanned.  I had hoped to one day see a leopard in a tree; I never expected to see that in the middle of the Okavango Delta, twice in two days!  I had hoped that one day I would be fortunate enough to see a pangolin, but I knew the chances were very slim.  When the call came in that a pangolin had been spotted on my last night on safari, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.  http://jennifersawicky.com/2015/07/02/pangolin/

I think of myself as fortunate not only because I am happy to take advantage of photographic opportunities when they happen, rather than planning and trying to force things, but also because I have the opportunity to get out and practice something I love, sometimes even traveling to places that fill me with joy to do so.

I know this is much wordier than most of my posts, so I’ll sign off on the chatter now, and share with you some photos of wildlife encounters that I consider fortunate, whether they resulted in great pictures or not.

We were heading out for afternoon drive, and not far from camp, a group of elephants turned onto the road, and started heading towards us.  Not in any way threatening, the road was the easiest route, and they wanted to head in our direction.  We kept reversing to give them enough space.  The really special thing about watching this group of elephants, was the tiny baby that was part of the herd.  Our ranger explained normally ellie moms are very protective, and would hide a baby that tiny, but instead she let him play in full view.  He put on quote a show for everyone, waving his trunk around, flapping his ears, and doing multiple face plants into the sand, sometimes eating dirt.  Even if I hadn't gotten a single photo, it would still be one of the best moments I've had on safari. 1/640sec, f9.0, ISO5000 Phinda, April 2015
We were heading out for afternoon drive, and not far from camp, a group of elephants turned onto the road, and started heading towards us. Not in any way threatening, the road was the easiest route, and they wanted to head in our direction. We kept reversing to give them enough space. The really special thing about watching this group of elephants was the tiny baby that was part of the herd. Our ranger explained normally ellie moms are very protective, and would hide a baby that tiny, but instead she let him play in full view. He put on quite a show for everyone, waving his trunk around, flapping his ears, and doing multiple face plants into the sand, sometimes eating dirt. Even if I hadn’t gotten a single photo, it would still be one of the best moments I’ve had on safari.
1/640sec, f9.0, ISO5000
Phinda, April 2015
These zebras took turns having dust baths in the brilliant early morning light of the Okavango Delta. 1/1250sec, f8.0, ISO640
These zebras took turns having dust baths in the brilliant early morning light of the Okavango Delta.
1/1250sec, f8.0, ISO640
While on a helicopter tour of the Okavango Delta, we watched a hippo running through the water, and at one point, launch out of the water.  Here's one on the way up.
While on a helicopter tour of the Okavango Delta, we watched a hippo running through the water, and at one point, launch out of the water. Here’s one on the way up.
And on the way back down again. April, 2015 1/1000sec, f9.0, ISO 900
And on the way back down again.
April, 2015
1/1000sec, f9.0, ISO 900
We were heading back for breakfast at Kalahari Plains, when we spotted a black backed jackal and stopped to take a few photos and hear a little about the jackal's behaviour.  Out of nowhere, an African Wildcat streaked by.  It happened so quickly I snapped what I could.  With the direction of the light, we didn't even get a very good look, but it certainly proved that you never know what you might see while out in the bush. 1/500sec, f9.0, ISO 180 April, 2015
We were heading back for breakfast at Kalahari Plains, when we spotted a black backed jackal and stopped to take a few photos and hear a little about the jackal’s behaviour. Out of nowhere, an African Wildcat streaked by. It happened so quickly I snapped what I could. With the direction of the light, we didn’t even get a very good look, but it certainly proved that you never know what you might see while out in the bush.  Later int he trip, we had a similar experience with a serval, but I didn’t even have time to snap a photo of that one.
1/500sec, f9.0, ISO 180
April, 2015
After being separated for some time, a pair of leopard cubs run and play with one another.  Mama was close by. Ngala, May 2015 1/800sec, f10, ISO 900
After being separated for some time, a pair of leopard cubs run and play with one another. Mama was close by.
Ngala, May 2015
1/800sec, f10, ISO 900
My very first game drive featured mating lions, my second trip to South Africa featured mating giraffes, and this past trip, back to the lions.  It was quite a soap opera, as two males were vying for the females attention for a couple days; she chose the older, more distinguished fella! 1/400sec, f8.0, ISO 500 Sani Sands, May 2015
My very first game drive featured mating lions, my second trip to South Africa featured mating giraffes, and this past trip, back to the lions. It was quite a soap opera, as two males were vying for the females attention for a couple days; she chose the older, more distinguished fella!
1/400sec, f8.0, ISO 500
Sani Sands, May 2015
A CRAPPY photo, but an AMAZING moment.  I had left my camera on timer, hoping for a star trail (no joy with that).  I heard some noise outside and went to the patio door, and found 4 or 5 elephants drinking from the plunge pool on the deck!  Our ranger had warned us that elephants like shiny things and will take things to "play" with if left out (like cameras), and I was sure my camera was gone.  But the ladies were interested only in having a drink.  I stood mesmerized watching for as long as they stayed.  This is the closest I have to a photo of that moment - when they crossed in front of the camera that was clicking away at the stars.
A CRAPPY photo, but an AMAZING moment. I had left my camera on interval timer, hoping for photos to create a star trail (no joy with that). I heard some noise outside and went to the patio door, and found 4 or 5 elephants drinking from the plunge pool on the deck! Our ranger had warned us that elephants like shiny things and will take things to “play” with if left out (like cameras), and I was sure my camera was gone. But the ladies were interested only in having a drink. I stood mesmerized watching for as long as they stayed. This is the closest I have to a photo of that moment – when they crossed in front of the camera that was clicking away at the stars (the grey shapes at the very bottom of the image).
Our last morning at Phinda, it was just my Dad and me heading out, so we took a leisurely drive to a different area of the reserve.  We stopped to look at a raptor far in the distance.  Our ranger was incredibly excited, as the raptor was a southern banded snake eagle, a bird that is listed as near threatened (I believe our ranger mentioned there was less than 2 dozen breeding pairs in South Africa, but I could be a little off on that number).  With the distance and poor light, this was the best I could do for a photo.  It's wonderful to be a part of a sighting that the ranger gets really excited about though - you know it's something out of the ordinary :) 1/200sec, f5.6, ISO 200
Our last morning at Phinda, it was just my Dad and me heading out, so we took a leisurely drive to a different area of the reserve. We stopped to look at a raptor far in the distance. Our ranger was incredibly excited, as the raptor was a southern banded snake eagle, a bird that is listed as near threatened (I believe our ranger mentioned there was less than 2 dozen breeding pairs in South Africa, but I could be a little off on that number). With the distance and poor light, this was the best I could do for a photo. It’s wonderful to be a part of a sighting that the ranger gets really excited about though – you know it’s something out of the ordinary 🙂
1/200sec, f5.6, ISO 200
Someone call the firemen; there's a kitty stuck in a tree! This lion cub climbed up in a fit of playfulness, and soon realized the error in his ways.  Thankfully he didn't crash land. 1/60sec, f5.6, ISO 6400 Phinda, April 2015
Someone call the firemen; there’s a kitty stuck in a tree!
This lion cub climbed up in a fit of playfulness, and soon realized the error in his ways. Thankfully he didn’t crash land.
1/60sec, f5.6, ISO 6400
Phinda, April 2015
A group of cheetah cubs wrestle behind mom's back. 1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO1250 Phinda, April 2015
A group of cheetah cubs wrestle behind mom’s back.
1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO1250
Phinda, April 2015
Over two days, I spent about two hours with two different leopards in trees in the Okavango Delta.  They are wonderful to watch, and the agility moving about a tree is amazing.  I was so lucky to click the shutter at the right moment to capture this one heading out of the tree. 1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO1000
Over two days, I spent about two hours with two different leopards in trees in the Okavango Delta. They are wonderful to watch, and the agility moving about a tree is amazing. I was so lucky to click the shutter at the right moment to capture this one heading out of the tree.
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO1000
I've had some good success getting photographs of hares in South Africa.  This one just tugs at my heart though.  To witness such a tender moment, with the young one suckling, was so unexpected.  I saw this while we were heading back to camp; we only kept the light on for a really quick photo, so as not to draw attention to the area. 1/200sec, f5.6, ISO 6400
I’ve had some good success getting photographs of hares in South Africa. This one just tugs at my heart though. To witness such a tender moment, with the young one suckling, was so unexpected. I saw this while we were heading back to camp; we only kept the light on for a really quick photo, so as not to draw attention to the area.   Sabi Sands, May 2015
1/200sec, f5.6, ISO 6400

Travel Theme: Grey

Here are my photo’s for the travel theme- grey.

A pair of grey go away birds perched at the top of a tree, in lovely early morning light. 1/400sec, f7.1, ISO 100
A pair of grey go away birds perched at the top of a tree, in lovely early morning light.
1/400sec, f7.1, ISO 100
A walk along the dikes on a typical January morning in Pitt Meadows. 1/50sec, f4.0, ISO 720
A walk along the dikes on a typical January morning in Pitt Meadows.
1/50sec, f4.0, ISO 720
My very favourite type of grey!  A group of elephants approach along the road at Phinda Game Reserve (we kept reversing to give them the room they needed). 1/640sec, f8.0, ISO 2800
My very favourite type of grey! A group of elephants approach along the road at Phinda Game Reserve (we kept reversing to give them the room they needed).
1/640sec, f8.0, ISO 2800

Where’s my backpack?

Londolozi Highlights

Londolozi is well known for having amazing leopard sightings, and I certainly had one during my stay, but you’ll have to stay tuned to a future post to hear all about it and see the photos, as that encounter definitely deserves to be a post on its own (as does the Pangolin sighting!!!) 🙂
We had an absolutely fabulous time during our two night stay, and a lot of laughs with our ranger Dave and tracker Judas. I’d be back there tomorrow if I could (I think in fact I asked Phil the camp manager more than once if I could hide myself away somewhere just so I could stay longer).
The following are just a few of the moments that made me smile during my time there; I took over 1500 photos during my stay, so you can be certain you’ll see many more in the coming days and weeks.

This very blog was started after my first trip to Londolozi in 2013.  In case you missed those first posts, you can find some of them here (or use the search function at the bottom of my home page to find them all!)

My First Leopard Sighting

Leopard Sightings – Even Better the Second Time

Here is a link to my guest blog post from my first trip to Londolozi, in case you missed that:

A Home at Tree Camp

And now for the images – I hope you enjoy!

A small group of wildebeest gather around a tree, on a perfect autumn afternoon. 1/1000sec, f10, ISO360
A small group of wildebeest gather around a tree, on a perfect autumn afternoon.
1/1000sec, f10, ISO360
A saddle billed stork on one of the sandy banks in the river. 1/1000 sec, f9, ISO 560
A saddle billed stork on one of the sandy bars in the river.
1/1000 sec, f9, ISO 560
This photo brings me close to tears; I think it shows what I love best about being out in the bush, just bearing witness to the day to day lives of animals.  I absolutely love elephants, and capturing this tender moment when the youngster had a chance to suckle was one of the benefits of parking ourselves in the river and hanging out with this small family. 1/1000sec, f8, ISO 360
This photo brings me close to tears; I think it shows what I love best about being out in the bush, just bearing witness to the day to day lives of animals. I absolutely love elephants, and capturing this tender moment when the youngster had a chance to suckle was one of the benefits of parking ourselves in the river and hanging out with this small family.
1/1000sec, f8, ISO 360
We parked in the river to watch this small family group drinking and crossing the river.  What came next??? 1/1000sec, f8.0, ISO 400
We parked in the river to watch this small family group drinking and crossing the river. What came next???
1/1000sec, f8.0, ISO 400
Well and truly stuck! Our position in the river gave us brilliant viewing and photographic opportunities, but unfortunately left the land rover with tires at least half buried in the sand.  Dave was so worried that we would be upset at waiting for rescue and being late for breakfast, but we all had an absolute blast; just another part of the safari adventure!   1/1250sec, f16, ISO900
We got well and truly stuck!
Our position in the river gave us brilliant viewing and photographic opportunities, but unfortunately left the land rover with tires at least half buried in the sand. Dave was so worried that we would be upset at waiting for rescue and being late for breakfast, but we all had an absolute blast; just another part of the safari adventure!
1/1250sec, f16, ISO900
The tractor arrived to remove our stuck vehicle from the river; I'm not sure if Dave has lived that one down yet.   1/1250sec, f10, ISO500
The tractor arrived to remove our stuck vehicle from the river; I’m not sure if Dave has lived that one down yet.
1/1250sec, f10, ISO500
The result of having to call for rescue, Dave ended up with the dreaded pink ammo pouch.  I think it may be good luck though, as we had some amazing sightings after he took possession of it!
The result of having to call for rescue, Dave ended up with the dreaded pink ammo pouch. I think it may be good luck though, as we had some amazing sightings after he took possession of it!
Even after getting dragged out of the river, Dave still stopped in the sand along the river so I could photograph this beautiful white fronted bee-eater. 1/1250 sec, f10, ISO 1000
Even after getting dragged out of the river, Dave still stopped in the sand along the river so I could photograph this beautiful white fronted bee-eater.
1/1250 sec, f10, ISO 1000
The morning sky was like a painting, and I was happy just to sit and watch that;, stumbling across this herd of elephants made it all the better. 1/640sec, f5, ISO 3600
The morning sky was like a painting, and I was happy just to sit and watch that; stumbling across this herd of elephants made it all the better.
1/640sec, f5, ISO 3600
My first attempt at photographing lightning; I set up my camera on the tree camp deck under a patio umbrella, and let the camera do it's thing on a timer function while I enjoyed wine and dinner.  We were out on drive and returned just before the rain started, but watched the most intense part of the lightning from the vehicle on the way back to camp.  I'm pleased with the results for my first attempt; it was basically focusing and aiming at nothing and hoping for the best! 25sec, f11, ISO 800
My first attempt at photographing lightning; I set up my camera on the tree camp deck under a patio umbrella, and let the camera do it’s thing on a timer function while I enjoyed wine and dinner. We were out on drive and returned just before the rain started, but watched the most intense part of the lightning from the vehicle on the way back to camp. I’m pleased with the results for my first attempt; it was basically focusing and aiming at nothing and hoping for the best!
25sec, f11, ISO 800
A slightly different editing technique, but from the same storm as the other lightning photo (one of only a few periods of rain I had on holiday). 25 sec, f11, ISO800
A slightly different editing technique, but from the same storm as the other lightning photo (one of only a few periods of rain I had on holiday).
25 sec, f11, ISO800
I asked both my Dave's to find me owls, and they both succeeded :)  The light was not in my favour for photographing this southern white faced owl, but I really like this black and white conversion. 1/1250sec, f6.3, ISO 900
I asked both my Dave’s to find me owls, and they both succeeded 🙂 The light was not in my favour for photographing this southern white faced owl, but I really like this black and white conversion.
1/1250sec, f6.3, ISO 900
A couple of iconic African shapes - elephants and  cheetah. 1/250sec, f7.1, ISO 3600
A couple of iconic African shapes – elephants and cheetah.
1/250sec, f7.1, ISO 3600

Chitwa Chitwa Highlights

I was originally planning to combine the two areas of the Sabi Sands I stayed at into one highlights post, but I’ve been having such difficulty finding the time to work on my photos the last few weeks that it just wasn’t feasible.  Fingers crossed I’ll be able to get to the final highlights post this weekend, so I can move on to the other editing projects that I want to do – and get out and do some more shooting too!

This guy only had eyes for one thing (the female that  is out of shot).  More about that in another post.
This guy only had eyes for one thing (the female that is out of shot). More about that in another post.
We turned the corner, and there he was!
We turned the corner, and there he was!
A huge group of vultures gathering near a kudu carcass.  They were waiting for a female lion to clear off before heading in fight for scraps.
A huge group of vultures gathering near a kudu carcass. They were waiting for a female lion to clear off before heading in fight for scraps.
A wild dog peers at us from between two small tree trunks.
A wild dog peers at us from between two small tree trunks.
A lion take a pause from his kudu breakfast.
A lion take a pause from his kudu breakfast.
A dagga boy.  One of the old buffalo bulls cooling off in the watering hole.
A dagga boy. One of the old buffalo bulls cooling off in the watering hole.
A yellow billed hornbill, or as my Dad likes to say
A yellow billed hornbill, or as my Dad likes to say “the flying banana”.
A wildebeest enjoying the cool air of early morning.
A wildebeest enjoying the cool air of early morning.
Not who you would expect to see in a wallow.
Not who you would expect to see in a wallow.
One of my favourite birds, the beautiful lilac blasted roller.
One of my favourite birds, the beautiful lilac breasted roller.

This time-lapse was one of my first attempts, and shows a mid afternoon at the dam in front of Chitwa lodge.  Lots of waterbuck around that afternoon!

I hope you enjoy, and have a lovely day!

Okavango Delta Highlights

The area of the delta where I stayed was one of permanent water, but day by day, changes in the landscape were apparent as the flood waters flowing in from the Angola highlands began to fill previously dry channels.  I think I had the best of both worlds as I was able to see the delta from both land and water – and as a special treat, by air on a helicopter tour.

I took over 1800 photos in 3 nights in the delta.  I hope you enjoy a few of the highlights.

A lone giraffe wanders through an area of new flood.
A lone giraffe wanders through an area of new flood.
A leopard peers down from a tree.
A leopard peers down from a tree.
A spectacular sunset over the delta, taken while on a sundowner boat trip.
A spectacular sunset over the delta, taken while on a sundowner boat trip.
A gorgeous female leopard using a fallen tree as a vantage point.  I had no expectation of seeing leopard at all in the delta, but I had told my guide the previous afternoon that my dream photo would be capturing a leopard on a tree branch.  In two days, I saw three leopards.  Talk about lucky!
A gorgeous female leopard using a fallen tree as a vantage point. I had no expectation of seeing leopard at all in the delta, but I had told my guide the previous afternoon that my dream photo would be capturing a leopard on a tree branch. In two days, I saw three leopards. Talk about lucky!
A pair of spotted hyena cubs rest outside of their den.
A pair of spotted hyena cubs rest outside of their den.
Stand-by passengers at the airstrip?
Stand-by passengers at the airstrip?
A fish eagle from above.
A fish eagle from above.
The delta by air.
The delta by air.
A herd of elephants from above.
A herd of elephants from above.
Water crossing!  One of the camp vehicles carrying luggage from the airstrip to the camp.
Water crossing! One of the camp vehicles carrying luggage from the airstrip to the camp.afr