2020-06-22: Monochrome Monday

Even though it was the rutting season, when males can begin to lose condition from spending all of their time and energy fighting over access to females, this one looked to be in fine form, with a shiny coat and a small herd to call his own… at least for a day or two.

Impala are beautiful animals and definitely interesting to watch while out in the bush. But the sound the males make when they are fighting, that is something else.

An impala ram patrolling at the outskirts of the small herd he had gathered together. South Africa, May 2019.

2020-04-05: Sunrise to sunset during safari

I’m working on a guest post for a friend doing an Armchair safari series, and thought I would share the images here as well.  I decided that the theme of my post would be sunrise to sunset on safari; showcasing images from dawn till dusk while out in the bush.  These are all shot during my last trip to South Africa and were from all of the camps that I stayed at.  I would have to plan a lot more in advance while out in the field to have a sunrise to sunset images from a single day (note to self, do that next trip!).

Rather than a highlight reel of amazing sightings, these are just a collection of moments out in the bush.

I hope you enjoy.

6am - Lions
6am – Lions.  Two of the Torchwood Pride greet each other.

7am - Hyena and Impala
7am – Hyena and Impala.  A group of impala look on wearily as a hyena approaches down the road.

8am - Elephants
8am – Elephants.  A pair of youngsters tussle while the older elephants graze nearby.  

9am - Giraffe
9am – Giraffe.  A giraffe bull paused in the road allowing me to capture this image while on the way back to camp for breakfast.

10am - Waterbuck
10am – Waterbuck.  A waterbuck heads towards the dam for a drink.

11am - Hippos
11am – Hippos. A group of hippos making their way back to the water to beat the midday heat.

12pm - Hornbill
12pm – Yellow-billed hornbill.  A “flying banana” perched just beyond the deck at camp.

1pm - Infrared Landscape
1pm – Landscape in infrared.  Midday was a great time to wander around camp with my infrared filter and play around with long exposure photos. This was shot from the deck at Lion Sands Tinga Lodge.

2pm - Purple Crested Turaco
2pm – Purple Crested Turaco.  I tried for ages to capture a good image of this beautiful bird from my balcony, but given they like to be deep in the branches, it really wasn’t meant to be.  It was a fun way to spend part of the afternoon though.

3pm - Cheetah
3pm – Cheetah.  We’d only been out on game drive for about 10 minutes when we came across this cheetah, and had the chance to watch her stalking some impala.  They spotted her right away so supper wasn’t in her immediate future.

4pm - Wild Dog
4pm – Wild Dog.  Spending time with wild dogs always makes my heart happy.  We had a good half an hour with them before they took off in all directions, setting out to hunt.

5pm - Honey Badgers
5pm – Honey Badgers. I had always wanted to see honey badgers and on my first game drive of the trip I finally had my chance.  It only lasted about 30 seconds but it certainly was thrilling, even if all I could get were butt shots!

6pm - Leopard
6pm – Leopard.  We were heading back to camp for drinks and dinner and came across this leopard heading in to this large puddle to drink.  It was a quick stop before the leopard was on its way.

 

 

2019-11-11: Monochrome Monday

The waterbuck image caught my eye today while I was editing, and I thought a selection of antelope would be a good feature for the day.

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This nyala was grazing peacefully behind my room, so quietly that I didn’t notice him until he was quite close to the edge of the deck.  I was sitting out enjoying the early afternoon with a book and a cup of tea.

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I can’t see a photo of a male kudu anymore without hearing the voice of my guide Harley saying “So majestic!”

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This waterbuck was the boss of the dam, and was busy keeping all the females and youngsters in check while I was watching him.

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An impala ram in his prime, taking a break from guarding his harem to take a quick drink at the dam.

 

 

 

 

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).

2018-08-13: Monochrome Monday

I’m a little later than normal with my Monochrome Monday post as I have been playing around with using the MacPhun (now Skylum) Tonality plugin with Luminar.  I must say, I am really enjoying using Tonality again!

Tonality was my go-to for black and white conversion when I was using Lightroom and Photoshop.  I found I could dial in the vision I was imagining much faster than using other black and white methods.  Now that I no longer have Photoshop, I am glad I have a way to integrate the plug-in back into my workflow when I want to.

I’ve started watching some Luminar videos on YouTube by Jim Nix, and one of them really resonated with me today.  It had nothing to do with the image or the edits he did, but just the concept of revisiting old work to re-edit photos, to experiment with new software, filters and combinations of tools to keep your creativity and interest peeked.  A lot of that is why I am enjoying this theme so much, as the lack of familiarity with the software has caused me to think a lot more critically about what I want to achieve, so I can figure out how to do it, but it has also allowed me to just open random filters to see what they do, sometimes to great result, sometimes awful.  If you are interested, you can find the Luminar video by Jim Nix here.

Now on to the images for today.

For this giraffe image, I did an extra step to start, and from Luminar opened Topaz Studio and then the Topaz Remask plugin.  I find Remask is excellent for complicated situations like these tree branches against the sky.  The sky was very grainy, and I wanted to apply some noise reduction, and I thought that would be the best way to go.  I shot this image with my Panasonic FZ1000, which is a very capable little camera, but I do find skies are generally quite noisy regardless of the ISO.  There was also a lot of airborne dust so it could have been that rather than a limitation of the camera.  After I created my mask in Remask, I ran the noise removal filter in Topaz Studio and sent the image back to Luminar, and then onto Tonality for black and white conversion.  If Luminar had an option to adjust luminosity masks so I could isolate the sky, I would have gone that route and saved some steps, but right now its not an option.

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Giraffe in the desert.  Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia.

Things were much simpler for the next two images.  I edited both using the Tonality plug in, though I am sure I could have arrived at similar results just using Luminar.  As with most photo editing programs, there are a lot of different paths to get to the same place.  It’s all about what works for you.

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A zebra calf photographed in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

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A black-faced impala spotted in Ongava Game Reserve in Namibia.  Our guide explained to us that any reserves that add impala to their property in Namibia must add the black-faced impala.  This was started as a measure to help conserve the species and allow them to thrive.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections for the day 🙂

2018-07-09: Monochrome Monday

A trio of antelope images to start the week.

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A steenbok pauses for a quick photo op before disappearing behind the scrubby trees growing in the sand.  Hoanib Camp, Namibia.  April 2017.

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A group of oryx get photobombed by a grazing springbok.  Ongava Game Reserve, Namibia. April 2017.

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A lone nyala bull checks out his surroundings.  Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. May 2017.

 

Wishing everyone a fantastic week! 🙂