2019-10-06: Feasting Leopard

I said this month was going to be freestyle for my Sunday posts, and as I was going through my catalogue earlier in the week, I was taken by images of this leopard and decided to edit a few to share.

One of the things I love about being in the bush is witnessing some of the drama that unfolds.  This sighting was definitely more than met the eye at first glance.

The previous evening, we had very briefly driven to this area, as there was a leopard on an impala kill.  It was getting dark though, so we decided to carry on and make this area our first stop the next day.  When we headed out on our morning drive from Chitwa Chitwa, other vehicles were already at the sighting, so we had to wait a bit, but when we got there, we found a different leopard on the impala kill.  So, sometime during the night, the male leopard that we initially saw left, and this female snuck in to have an easy meal.

Things were made even more exciting by the fact that she had a cub who was also nearby, but you’ll need to check back next week to see some images of the two of them together.

DSCF4403 copy-Edit
While it doesn’t look like there is much left on the impala, it was still a valuable, and free, meal for this leopard.
XT3X3190
If looks could kill.

XT3X3208 copy-Edit

XT3X3215 copy-Edit
She was really working to gain access to a new spot on the carcass.

XT3X3234

XT3X3237
The tracker on this vehicle had *nerves* of steel.  The leopard came down the tree, and paused in front of this vehicle and stared up at the tracker for 5 – 10 seconds before making her way off.  It doesn’t sound like a long time, but witnessing it, it sure felt like it.   The entire time he did not flinch or move a muscle.  

More of this beautiful leopard next week.  Until then, wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

2019-09-29: Photo Art – The Magnificent Seven

This post was originally going to be the big five, but I had images of cheetah and wild dog that I wanted to play around with, so the magnificent seven it is.

One of the reasons I wanted to focus on my photo art this month was to try and learn a bit more about Topaz Studio version 2.  I’ve played around with it a bit, and watched some tutorials, but for the workflow I am using, at this stage I will be sticking with version 1.  The issue that I was finding is I can’t get files to make a round trip using On1 Photo Raw.  I can get the file into Studio 2, and work on it, but the only option for saving is an “Accept” button, which with the workflow I am using, appears to do nothing.  I select it, but the file doesn’t get saved, exported or anything else.  New software versions are typically a bit buggy, so I’ll give it a few update cycles and then play around with it again and see what happens.

One of the great things about photo editing tutorials is getting the little reminders for things that are outside of the normal workflow.  In this case, the reminder was to play around with blending modes when using AI Remix, Impression and textures.  For example, the cheetah image below was edited using (amongst other tools) a filter in AI Remix called Neon Rise.  But changing the blend mode from normal to luminosity kept the amazing texture that the filter offered, but eliminated the wild and crazy colours for something far more subdued, and suited to the image.

I hope you enjoy the selections below.  Wishing you a fantastic week ahead.

DSCF1071 copy-Edit

DSCF1229 copy-Edit

DSCF2021 copy-Edit

DSCF2144 copy-Edit

XT3X3032 copy-Edit

XT3X3669 copy-Edit

XT3X4429 copy-Edit

You can find some of these images in the Photo Art section of my gallery.

2019-07-14: Babies in the bush – Leopard Cubs

During my last trip, we saw leopard cubs both in the Timbavati and in the Sabi Sands.  The cubs I spent time with on this trip were a bit older than the ones I saw during my 2017 trip, but certainly no less amazing to watch.  If you missed some of the previous posts, you can see some of the older images here and here (or just search the site for leopards).

During my time in the Timbavati, we found one leopard cub, and while in the Sabi Sands we saw one cub on a few different occasions.  These shy, beautiful cats will grow up to be stealthy hunters, but for now, they are totally reliant on their Mom for food and protection.  I absolutely believe that leopards only allow you to see them if they want you to, so having an opportunity to view these babies is an absolute thrill.

DSCF2208 copy-Edit
A leopard cub rests atop a termite mound, with Mom relaxing nearby.  Mom had taken a nyala down, and as the kill was nearby and it was beginning to grow dark, all sightings of this cub and her Mom were winding down.  They do not want to do anything to put the cub at risk, so they do not use spotlights on young cubs feeding at night.
DSCF2232
Such a beautiful face.
DSCF4625 copy-2-Edit
This cub was in the Sabi Sands, and was a little bit skittish.  She would come out once vehicle activity had dies down; so you needed to be quite patient to see her (Mom was very chill and unconcerned with the vehicles).  Here she comes out of the bushes at the top of a rise, heading towards Mom in the fading evening light.
XT3X3871 copy-1-Edit
Mom’s tail makes for an excellent toy 🙂
XT3X4100v1 copy-Edit
The last view I had of the leopard cub in the Sabi Sands.   On this occasion, she was lying close to Mom as our vehicle approached, and was comfortable enough that she didn’t move off into the bushes.

2019-06-23: Mamas and babies in the bush

I was fortunate to see lots of youngsters during my latest travels.  While the young elephants are definitely my favourite to watch, especially when they start waving their tiny trunks around trying to act tough, all the young animals in the bush are a delight to see.

Here are just a few of the sightings that I had.

DSCF2273 copy
A giraffe calf having a late afternoon milk break.
DSCF3002
We spent some time with this pair of rhinos while they grazed away the early morning.  Here the young one had just turned to look as another vehicle was heading in to take over our viewing position.  Moments later, the head was back down and he was happily munching on the grass again.
XT3X2902
A pair of lion cubs suckling.
XT3X3869 copy-Edit
A young leopard doing a very accurate impression of a sulky teenager.
XT3X4277
Got milk?

2019-06-17: Monochrome Monday

I had some good opportunities during my travels for some animal portraits.  Here are the first couple that I have worked through, just in time for monochrome Monday.

Have a great week everyone!

Pensive Cheetah
I only had one cheetah sighting during my past trip, and it was an interesting one.  We had the opportunity to watch this female try to get close enough to a group of impala to begin to hunt, but her cover was blown.
Leopard Portrait
One of the many leopards that I was lucky enough to view this past trip.
Lion Portrait copy
A side view of a lioness.

Did you know you can find these images, and other like them, in my gallery?  You can see an evolving collection of my favourite images there, and even order a print or two if you choose.