I wouldn’t have known that it was International Cheetah Day if I hadn’t come across a post about it on a blog I follow (de Wets Wild, which I would highly recommend if you are interested in South African wildlife).
I’ve been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time with cheetahs now, both during my time with Wildlife Act last year, and this past holiday. I’ve seen a somewhat half-hearted (and unsuccessful) hunt, but I have never seen them going at full speed, except on the wildlife documentaries I’ve seen on TV. Perhaps my time will come to see that in person 🙂
I hope you enjoy my selection of cheetah photos today. TGIF, and have a great day everyone!
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.
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!)
I spent an amazing few days at Phinda recently, and was lucky enough to not only have a fabulous ranger and tracker team to work with, but also got along brilliantly with the other guests on the vehicle. I have so many photos to go though when I get home; some of the highlights included some of the tiniest babies I have had the pleasure of seeing in the bush (elephant and rhino), spending time with two families of lions, a mother with 3 cheetah cubs, 3 older cheetah brothers, and some really cool eagle sightings. I’d still rather be outside than on the computer, so here are just a few of the special moments from Phinda.
Here are the last few cheetah photos that I had flagged for editing from my October / November 2014 project with Wildlife ACT. It took a few days for our first sighting of Kalahari the cheetah, but I was very lucky to get to spend a fair bit of time in his presence, and learn a bit about his personality.
I’m not sure what will be up next, but I still have quite a few photos from that trip that I would like to share. Have a great day everyone!