2018-03-20: WPC: I’d rather be…

There’s a simple answer to the question posed in this week’s photo challenge “Where would you rather be?”.

I’d rather be on safari!

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I’d rather be watching the sun set over the bush with a glass of wine in hand, and great company to have a chat with.
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I’d rather be watching the birds from the shade of a lodge veranda.
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I’d rather be looking out at the vast expanse of the universe, listening to the sounds of the bush at night.
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I’d rather be taking the opportunity to discover new cultures.
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I’d rather be out learning and experiencing different ways of life.
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I’d rather be looking at this view over lunch, than working away on my computer. 
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I’d rather be dealing with this type of traffic while out for a drive.
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And of course, I’d much rather be hanging around with elephants.

 

WPC: I’d rather be

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.

2017-11-30: WPC Experimental

I am a few days delayed in posting for this topic, but I wanted to play along anyways.  The photo prompt last week was experimental, and it gives me an opportunity to share some of the images I call my Artistic Impressions.

It’s timely, as I was just listening to a wildlife photography podcast that I really enjoy, discussing photographic art as opposed to straight “documentary style” wildlife photography.  I thought the comments of the host, Gerry Vanderwalt, were absolutely spot on.  His take on it was use your wildlife images in whatever way you choose to create the art you want to make, but just be very clear when presenting it to let people know that what they are seeing is not reality.

Now, I don’t think anyone would mistake any of these images for reality, and the comment was more aimed towards compositing work, but, I really do feel that people should create whatever moves them.  If reality didn’t match how the moment made you feel, then turn your images into something that does invoke the feeling of the moment.  Just don’t try to claim it is something that it’s not.

Anyways, on to the images 🙂

 

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A watercolour style take on a ground hornbill at sunset.  I loved the posture of the bird and the shadow on the termite mound, but found the image to be less sharp than I would have liked.  Turning it into one of my artistic impression images allow me to play up what I liked most about the image.
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If an elephant visited one of my dreams, I think it would look something like this.
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A cormorant perched on the edge of the Atlantic, with seals frolicking amongst the waves.  
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A small part of a large seal colony in Namibia.  The weather along the coast was dull and blustery, and many of my images left me flat.  This take on the scene reminds me of surveying the area through the fogged and misty windows of our vehicle.

 

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

and

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

 

WPC: Experimental

2017-08-17: WPC: Ooh, Shiny!

The WordPress photo challenge topic for the week are things that are distracting, and I need look no further than birds.  Just yesterday, while taking my dog for an afternoon walk, a flash of yellow caught my eye in the bush, and I ended up rather mesmerized at the side of the road trying to photograph the birds flitting passed, mostly so I could try and identify them later.  Those photos aren’t worth sharing, but I’m no different whilst on holiday either.  Birds are definitely one of the things that stop me in my tracks so I can gaze at them in wonder.

I hope you enjoy my selection of photos.

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A black korhaan, also known as the helicopter bird, spotted while out on a game drive in Etosha National Park.  Namibia, April 2017.
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A flock of red billed quilea taking to the air.  Okavango Delta, Botswana.  May 2017.
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A southern ground hornbill spotted on an afternoon game drive in the Okavango Delta.  We were very fortunate to see these endangered birds on several game drives in the delta.  Botswana, May 2017.
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A grey go-away bird running along the edge of the Boteti River in Botswana.  Granted it isn’t the best bird shot, but I loved the gesture of it too much not to include it.  He looks like he’s doing a jig!  Botswana, May 2017.
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A pale chanting goshawk perched next to the Boteti Rover in the early morning, likely looking for some breakfast amongst the frogs and other small creatures at the waters edge.
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I think I need to bring a magnetic bumper sticker the next time I go on safari that says “We brake for rollers”.  I’ve never seen a lilac-breasted roller I didn’t want to snap a photo of.  They are such beautiful birds, with such a gorgeous array of colours.  Botswana, May 2017.

 

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: Ooh, Shiny!

2017-08-15: Ngala Tented Camp

It was a soggy day flying from Phinda to Ngala, which was my second to last stop on my trip.  It’s tough thought o be too upset about rain in locations where it has been desperately needed for years, and besides, we only had two days with any rain over a four week period, which is pretty fantastic from a sightseeing perspective (especially in an open vehicle).  I have spent time at Ngala previously (you can check out some past highlights here if you want).

We only had two days at the camp, but they were filled with lots of laughs with our wonderful ranger Lee-Anne, some fantastic game viewing, and really great meals.  The first game drive was a soggy one, but we didn’t let that get our spirits down, and we ended up seeing both lion and leopard on the same game drive – not too shabby!

I hope you enjoy a small selection of the photos that I took at this beautiful property.

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Not the most amazing image, but what a sight to see.  I was in the furthest tent from the main lodge, and as I left my room to head over for some lunch, I noticed a pair of elephants climbing the banks on the opposite side of the dry riverbed.  Here one of them pauses to dig a bit in the dirt on the side of the steep bank.
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Fabulous things happen when you follow the clues provided by nature, rather than having a hard and fast plan as to what needs to be seen.  Lee-Anne spotted a large number of vultures moving swiftly in one direction, so we followed the birds and found this young male leopard with an impala kill.
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Family greetings, lion style.  I chose monochrome for this image as I feel it really highlights how well these big cats can blend into the bushes.  I’m sure you didn’t notice the two cats blurred in the background, and you probably wouldn’t see them if driving past on the road either.  Animals have wonderful ways to camouflage themselves.
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After the rainstorm, we woke up to a chilly morning and this grey go-away bird had not warmed up enough yet to fly.  He was perched on a branch right next to the road, allowing me to get a few nice shots.
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If ever a face said “Non shall pass” this is it.  This old bull was lying in our pathway through the riverbed, but we certainly were not going to try and make him move.  Our vehicle may have been bigger, but we went around.
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A lioness looks on towards a herd of zebra and impala.  The herd saw her immediately, so there was no point in moving any closer.
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A small dam and the dissipating clouds from an early morning storm.
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An amazing sky during a small morning rain shower.  We had some rain, and amazing sunrise and double rainbows all at one time.

 

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

and

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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

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2017-06-01: WPC Wanderlust

I’ve only recently returned from a trip to southern Africa, and over the past month, I’ve seen so much it is almost tough to know where to begin.  There were blooming deserts and blowing sandstorms.

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There were watery playgrounds for the large and the small.

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There were close encounters with wildlife, and close encounters with humans while tracking wildlife.

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This and so much in between. So many stories, so many sightings, so many wonderful people and so many memories that will make my heart happy every time I think of them, for years to come.

My wanderlust keeps pulling me back to Africa, and I am hopeful that it won’t be long before I can return again.

There are loads more photos and lots of stories to come from my latest journey – stay posted!

 

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: Wanderlust

2017-05-30: WPC Danger

This past weekend, my Mom and I were discussing one of her friends that is terrified of birds.  So in honour of the topic of Danger, here is a post that is only spells danger for Norma Jean, and anyone else with ornithophobia.

Caution, beaks and feathers ahead!

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A golden weaver on thistles in Amboseli.
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A flock of gulls take to the skies above the Kazinga Channel, Uganda.
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My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.
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A little bee-eater seen in the Mara.
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Flamingos take to the air over the Amboseli swamp.
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A kori bustard struts his stuff.
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A yellow-billed stork searches for dinner in the shallows along the Kazinga Channel.

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

and

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WPC: Danger

 

2017-05-14: Masai Mara

 

The wildlife in the Masai Mara was just as amazing as it looks in all the nature programs that I watch.  Here is a selection of images from my time there.

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The chaos of a river crossing.
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Waiting somewhat patiently for the chance to move up the steep slope.
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As more an more animals moved up the banks, the ones that had slipped and fallen were stepped on.
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A sad group of wildebeest too weak or injured to get up the banks.  We left shortly after this, so I don;t know if any of them found the strength to continue, or if they ended up as food for the crocs.
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A gazelle attempts the crossing.
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These are what were waiting for the gazelle…
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Thankfully this one made it back out alive.  Of the five I saw try, only two made it out.
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Clean up crew on the plains.
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A topi with two little ones.  They are a very stately looking antelope.
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A cheetah on the prowl.
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A lone wildebeest grazing.
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A group of mongoose that took over a termite mound.
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A rare photo (for me) of a wildebeest where you can actually see it’s eyes.
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A lone set of stripes amongst the wildebeest.
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Animals as far as the eye (and camera) could see.
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A kori bustard looking for breakfast.
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A pair of elephants checking out the vehicle.
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A beautiful Mara sunrise.

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

and

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2017-05-12: Feel Good Friday

For this Feel Good Friday post, a few images from my time in the Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.  I hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend ahead.

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A rufous named lark singing to the rising sun.
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A pair of waterbuck in theQueen Elizabeth National Park.
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A Ugandan Kob calling out as the daylight began to fade.
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A long crested eagle on the road between Ishasha and the Kazinga Channel.
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Ugandan Kob graze under threatening skies.
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A Ugandan Kob walks on charred earth from a recent fire for land clearing and maintenance.

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.