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.



2020-03-23: Monochrome Monday

I call this one “Toes and Tails”.  A few close up images of lions and leopards from my last time out in the bush.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week ahead.


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2020-03-22: Leopards at night

At the start of the month I shared a post with some images of leopards at night and this post is a follow-on to that, showing what images taken with a red spotlight filter look like.

I’ve done  a lot of editing in the past of red spotlight filter images to black and white, as I find they turn out to be stunning (there are a few examples of lions at night in my gallery that were done this way) but I wanted to leave these as is, and do the best I could with editing the images, because seeing them this way gives another real life look at what being on safari, and on a night game drive in particular, can be like.

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A young female leopard that we came across on our first drive while staying at Lion Sands River Lodge.  This had been quite an epic game drive as about 15 minutes before this, I saw my first ever honey badgers!
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This was a bit of a strange sighting, as we were tracking a leopard (not this one) but the ranger and tracker kept finding confusing tracks that backtracked over each other.  We finally found this small female in a tree, with a much larger male on the ground nearby.  There was also another male in the area, and once the team figured all that out, the tracks made a whole lot more sense.
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The red filter puts less strain on the eyes for the animal being viewed, while still allowing for some viewing and photo opportunities.  Even with the spotlight, the images I took were between ISO 5000 and ISO 12800.  I had a couple even at 25,600, but didn’t select them as there were similar images with less noise, so why go through the extra work?
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This image is at ISO 12,800 and there is definitely a deterioration in quality compared to some of the others (plus the noise reduction has made the images appear blurry), but the moment here was interesting as this female was about to head down the tree, but then spotted the male still moving below and decided to hold fast awhile longer.  She was definitely a very nervous cat.
This is one of the males that was involved in all the drama; I didn’t have an opportunity to see the second male as we had had a really interesting sighting and another vehicle showed up with guests that hadn’t seen a leopard yet, so we let them take over our position and carry on trying to track the second male through the bushes.  Even a leopard in the dark under red light, is better than no leopard at all.  And they did manage to find him and have a quick sighting before heading back to camp for dinner.

I hope you have enjoyed, and wishing you a safe and healthy week ahead.  Take care.

2020-03-02: Monochrome Monday

This image is a bit of a continuation of yesterday’s Leopards at night theme.

The one difference here is this was shot under a red spotlight, whereas the images shared yesterday were either with a spotlight without a colour filter, or under natural available light.  I’ll be working on some more of the images shot under red light shortly, and share them as a separate post.

I hope you enjoy – happy Monday!


2020-03-01: Leopards at night

Leopards are generally more active at night than during the daytime, which can make for challenging, yet thrilling, sightings when you are out on a game drive.  I am always interested first in enjoying the sighting, with the photos coming second, but that’s not to say that I don’t like to try and capture images under these more challenging conditions.

Conditions vary whether it is dawn / dusk or at night; dawn and dusk images may be able to be captured with the ambient light available, but will generally need a really high ISO and as such be noisy.  Those captured after dark will generally be lit by spot light, sometimes with a red filter, so there can be strange colour casts, blown out highlights and all sorts of other challenges.   But, if you are capturing images in that situation, you are witnessing an apex predator in its natural environment, and what could be better than that?

I hope you enjoy my selection of images for the day; wishing everyone a great week, and a great month ahead.

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2019-12-30: Monochrome Monday

Yesterday I shared a few very colourful photos of my favourite African bird, the lilac-breasted roller, and today, some monochrome images of my favourite cat, the leopard.

I’ve gone on an on before about how amazing I think it is to spend time with a leopard, so I won’t repeat myself today, and instead, leave you to the few images below, and wish you a fantastic week.



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2019-11-25: Monochrome Monday

We saw this leopard and her cub on an afternoon game drive from Chitwa Chitwa.  As is sometimes the case while out and about, a sighting is occupied, and vehicles need to take turns to give people an opportunity for viewing.  Our turn was late in the afternoon, nearing dark, and it was a very challenging area to get into, surrounded by fallen trees and a gulley.

When we arrive, it was just the mother leopard, relaxing on the ground, paws over the edge of the bank.  Our guide knew her cub would be nearby, even though none of the other vehicles had seen it.  Sure enough, we waited quietly, watching this beautiful, lounging leopard, and out popped the cub from a deep within the bushes.  It spent only a few minutes with Mom, when the sound of an approaching vehicle spooked it, and it headed back to its hiding place.

So if you are out on safari and are stuck in a bit of a queue for a sighting, don’t despair, it could turn out much better than you expected 🙂

Have a great week!

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