2017-10-16: Monochrome Monday

While we were driving from camp to the river crossing location, we came across an area where wildebeest were moving in a column, for as far and the eye could see in either direction.  I tried creating a stitched panorama, but even that only provides a hint of the overwhelming number of animals on the plains.

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2017-06-12: Monochrome Monday

Although seeing the river crossing was an all day adventure, the actual crossing itself happened in a flash, without any time to prepare.  (If you missed previous posts on this, you can find some of them here or here).

Once I had the best shots I could capture of the wildebeest crossing the river, I decided to try something different, slowing down the shutter speed to highlight the movement of the animals.  Nice crisp shots are all well and good, but this photo is more like the experience of being there; things happening so quickly that it is all a bit of a blur.

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Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

 

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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.

 
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2017-05-08: Monochrome Monday

I decided on a bit of a mixed bag this week from my time in Kenya.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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A lion contemplating whether to get up, or go back to sleep.  Sleep won, at least while we were there.
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A group of wildebeest make it to the banks of the river, avoiding the crocodiles and being trampled.
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One elephant of a large herd that passed through the Ol Kinyei Conservancy near the Masai Mara.  It was such a joy to spend time with so many ellies.
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A small group of wildebeest crossing a part of the Amboseli marsh.
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A lioness on patrol in the Mara.

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2017-04-01: WPC Dense

The WordPress prompt for this week is Dense.  Rather than post a selfie (ha ha ha), here are some photos from East Africa that fit in with the theme.

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A crocodile ensures that a group of wildebeest crossing the Mara River stick very close together in the rush to get out of the water.
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A portion of the wildebeest herd tightly packed, waiting to cross the river.
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A pod of hippos sunning themselves in a quieter spot along the Mara River.
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Wildebeest as far as the eye could see.
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A large group of flamingos take flight over the Amboseli Swamp.
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A chimpanzee swings through the lush vegetation of the Kibale Forest.
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A squacco heron almost disappears amongst the dense vegetation at the side of the Kazinga Channel.

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WPC: Dense

2017-02-13: Monochrome Monday

I’ve shared some photos and stories before from my time at a Mara river crossing, and thought I would share a few more images for my monochrome Monday post.  I hope you enjoy, and wishing everyone a great week.

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A lone gazelle tries his luck crossing the river.  My guide explained that the gazelle typically cross in small groups or alone, as there is a huge risk of them being crushed by the larger wildebeest and zebra.  Unfortunately, crossing alone makes them prime targets for the crocodiles.
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Part of the first wave surging up the bank.
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There were only a handful of zebra amongst the herd.
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The crossing came in waves; a group surged across, struggled to get up the banks, and just as the last few wildebeest worked up the bank, the next wave would surge forward to cross.
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Chaos and the herd mentality.

 

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2017-01-17: WPC Ambience

It may seem a little strange to post photos from a Masai Mara wildebeest river crossing for a post on ambience, but honestly, the ambience was a very integral part of the experience for me. When you are watching a nature program, they presenters do an excellent job of making a river crossing seem like an amazing spectacle – which is absolutely is!!!  They also do an amazing job at making it seem like a secluded experience, which it absolutely is not!

We left our camp at 6am for a 2+ hour drive to the potential crossing point, in the hopes of getting a good parking spot to watch the action.  On route we passed wildebeest in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, some marching the direction we were headed, and others, heading in the direction we had come from.

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Wildebeest as far as the eye can see.

I had never anticipated being the only person there, but I also didn’t expect to find quite so many other people there.  But, the atmosphere was a lot of fun.  I spent time chatting with my guides and with the people in the vehicle next to us while waiting to see if possibly the wildebeest might make a move.  They were certainly taking there time, and a good number of people gave up as the afternoon wore on.

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The view from our vehicle at the crossing point.  Land cruisers, jeeps, minibuses and land rovers, packed in like sardines and even double parked, all in an attempt to see the action.

When the gazelles approached the water and the crocodiles practically licked their lips, we collectively tried to will the little antelope back from their gruesome fate.

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People in the vehicles were saying things like “Don’t go in the water, it isn’t safe!”  If only they would have listened.
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I saw five gazelle attempt to cross the river, and only two made it out.   

And when at 3:15 the wildebeest started crashing through the water, those that were left were all uttering the same things “amazing”, “mind-blowing”, “unbelievable”.

The atmosphere surrounding that stretch of river on that day in late September, really made the experience that much more special.

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A surge of wildebeest crossing the Mara River in the Masai Mara, Kenya.  There were plenty more vehicles on the opposite bank!

 

WPC: Ambience

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and

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