2018-09-03: Monochrome Monday

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

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A zebra appearing shy while having its photo taken in Etosha.  namibia, April 2017.
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A glance over the shoulder by this gorgeous leopard, seen in the Okavango Delta. May 2017.
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A large male lion giving us a bit of a dirty look as we followed him down a roadway.  Londolozi, May 2017.

2018-09-02: Leopards in Luminar

I mentioned in my post last week that I would concentrate on using Luminar in Windows for the balance of the month.  I missed getting this posted before the end of the month, but still wanted to share the images and my thoughts on Luminar in Windows.

First off, thankfully the clone and stamp issue that I found the first time I opened my version of Luminar in Windows had been corrected once I updated the software.  Basically what was happening is the clone and stamp layer would appear to work normally, but then would disappear once you clicked done on the clone and stamp module.  A bit frustrating, so I am glad that is no longer an issue.

I had read in a few blogs that there were a couple fewer filters on the Windows version; I didn’t count them myself and never found I was missing a tool I wanted to use, so that’s definitely not a concern for me.  The one thing I really enjoyed was using the touchscreen for creating masks; my Windows machine is a Microsoft Surface complete with the Surface Stylus.  What a huge difference using that made in terms of accuracy.  I never transferred my logo file to my Windows machine, so I had to open up the edited files on my Mac to add a logo and then export.  I didn’t have any issues with using the files on different systems, which is a good thing as I don’t see leaving my Mac as my main editing machine any time soon, but it does mean that I can work on the road and transition to home in a fairly seamless way.

I’m going to say for my editing purposes, there really isn’t any difference between Mac and Windows for using Luminar.  Others may have a different experience, but I didn’t have any issues.

I decided on leopard images as I knew I had some that had some with contrast issues,  some wonky colours to deal with and an images where I would need to test the clone and stamp.  And Leopards in Luminar just has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

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A leopard cub explores the bottom of a ravine.  This image had some serious contrast issues due to the deep shadows and very bright mid morning sun.  I am happy with the way this turned out.
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A mama leopard carrying her cub to a new den site.  This image had some strange colour casts, and despite being able to correct it in Luminar, I tried a black and white filter and much preferred the result.
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This is definitely not the look you want a leopard to be giving you. This mama heard another leopard calling nearby, and was not at all pleased.  There weren’t too many issues with this image but it did need detail enhancement to be applied carefully so as not to accentuate the noise in this early morning, shady, high ISO shot.
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A leopard perched in a tree at sunset in the Okavango Delta.  This image had some need of the clone and stamp tool; I don’t know if it was a sensor spot or a bug, but there was something that was very distracting in the blue sky that I had to get rid of.

2018-08-12: World Elephant Day

As you all know, I am just a bit partial to elephants, so I wouldn’t mind if every day were elephant day.  But today is officially World Elephant Day, so it’s a great opportunity to share some images of my favourite animal.

I won’t get into a discussion on elephant population numbers, conservation challenges and the like.  There are many people and groups far more informed than I that are providing that type of information.  I’ll simply say that my opinion is that no one needs ivory except an elephant, and the poaching of these magnificent animals is an absolute tragedy that needs to be stopped.

I’m sure I have said this many times before, but if there was only one animal I could spend time with on an African safari, it would be the elephant.

I’ve kept with my theme for the month of August, and have continued to learn and explore the Luminar editing program and all of these images have been processed using the software.  Two things I have noticed over the past week:

1) I find the spot removal tool does not work very well for larger dust spots on blue sky; it leaves behind visible traces of the spot removal that are almost more noticeable than the initial spot.  I have found though that the clone stamp tool does an effective job on the larger sensor spot removal.  The majority of these images were shot on my old Nikon D610, which had enormous issues with sensor spots, so this is a feature I rely on quite heavily for working on older images.

2) The luminosity mask function is quite limited on the current software version, offering no opportunity for adjusting the luminance values to dial in the mask.  I use the luminosity masking function a lot when editing with On1 Photo Raw, especially as an effective way to isolate the sky to perform specific adjustments.  The standard masking options also feel a bit more basic than the ones that I use with Photo Raw.  For images that need that type of adjustment, I don’t think Luminar would be my first choice as a raw editor.

I’m finding that most of the editing is start to feel natural using this program, now that I have gotten a feel for what the various filters do.  But coming from Lightroom and On1 Photo Raw, I’m really used to the automatic lens profile corrections, and having to manually enable and adjust that is something I haven’t yet gotten used to doing as part of my workflow.  Generally speaking though, I am finding it an enjoyable program to use.

On to the images 🙂

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Desert adapted elephants in the Hoanib River bed in Namibia.  April 2017.
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A pair of bull elephants play fighting in the shallows of the Boteti River.  Leroo La Tau Camp, Botswana, May 2017.
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A bull elephant giving himself a mud bath in Nxai Pans National Park.  Botswana, May 2017.
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An elephant climbing out of the dry Timbavatio Riverbed in front of the Ngala Tented camp.  South Africa, May 2017.
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A curious elephant calf that kept approaching the vehicle, checking me out.  One of my all time favourite elephant moments.  Londolzi, May 2017.

2018-07-30: Monochrome Monday

Hopefully no one is getting bored of leopards, after having a few posts in a row featuring my favourite cat.

If you missed the post from yesterday, you can check it out here, with lots more images of this beautiful cat.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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2018-07-29: The Tamboti Leopard

Even spending a short time in the bush with a given animal, it is easy to get caught up in the drama of its life, and care how things turn out for it.  Regardless how deeply I realize it is all part of nature and the circle of life, I still find myself feeling sad in hearing of the passing of an animal that I had a special sighting of.

I recently read on the Londolozi blog that the Tamboti female leopard has not been spotted in over a month, and is presumed dead.  I had two sightings of her on my last trip; the first, we arrived to the riverbed moments after she stashed her cub into a new den site, missing what we thought would have been the sighting of a lifetime.  We did catch a brief glimpse of her moving a cub into a deeper part of the bushes she stashed them in, and as we headed back to camp, I was happy to even have seen the briefest glimpse of a cub so tiny.

The next morning, our last on safari, after having an amazing moment with elephants we headed off on a whim back to the clump of bushes where she stashed the cubs.  Our wonderful ranger Dave had an instinct that she might move the cubs again, and as we arrived, we found her with one of the cubs and were able to follow her on a long journey through the bush to her new den site, and then spend some time watching her interact with her two tiny cubs.  I’ve posted about this sighting before, and you can see some other images here.

Reading that she is now presumed gone, and only her female cub remains, prompted me to edit a few more of my images to share, and to relive those wonderful moments in the bush, watching nature unfold.

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This was the best image that I could get during my afternoon sighting of Tamboti and one of the cubs.  Londolozi, May 2017.
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Following Tamboti moving one of the cubs to a new den site.
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Every so often, she would set the cub down for a quick break, and then carry on, over whatever obstacles were in her path.
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My dreams of leopard shots were limited to hoping to see one in a tree one day; this was far beyond anything I had imaged I would see while out in the bush.
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After stashing the cub deep into the hollowed out log, she looks around, scanning for any threats.  We heard the call of another nearby leopard while we were watching the family.
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You can just make out the cubs in the darkness of the fallen tree.
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When she determined it was safe, she allowed the cubs out and here shares a tender moment.

 

2018-07-02: Monochrome Monday

I didn’t plan on taking yesterday off of posting, but I had a last minute invite to play golf, and decided to do that instead of sit in front of the computer.  While I do my best to keep to the schedule I have set for myself for posting, sometimes a bit of leeway is in order, especially to take advantage of the all too short summer we have up here.

As for today, I wanted to share some more images from this fantastic leopard sighting.  The interaction we got to see between the cubs, and the cubs and their mom had all of us on the vehicle laughing.  The cubs raced around, climbing on everything in sight, tackling, chasing and biting at each other and then took the occasional break to have a cuddle with mom before repeating the process over again.

I hope you enjoy my picks for today.  Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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The cubs pause at the top of a fallen tree to survey the landscape below.  They didn’t pause long before they were off again, exploring the ravine.
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What goes up, must come down.  
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There was some rather serious tail biting going on just after a shot this image.  Mom does not look too impressed!

2018-05-28: Monochrome Monday

I thought it would be nice to start the week with some big cat cuteness.  I spent a morning watching this gorgeous leopard family in a swampy ravine; Mom mostly resting and watching as the youngsters climbed trees, played in the swamp, ran around in random circles and terrorized each other.  We were all laughing and smiling at the antics of the cubs, and I am glad I came away with some photos to share of the moment.

I hope you enjoy!

 

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A recognizably dirty look as one cub gets all of Mom’s attention, and the other seems none too pleased about it.
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Watching the world from a perch on a high fallen tree.
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Diving for her sibling’s tail.
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One tries for a peaceful drink, while the other takes a bite of tail.
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Mom joined in on the fun as well, chasing the cubs up the hill.  I’m not sure if the cub was attempting escape or a kick to her head…

2018-05-21: Monochrome Monday

Today I felt inspired to share a few images from my last morning game drive before heading home from safari last May.  It was a rather epic morning, featuring elephants, leopards and this pair of lions (basically an entire safari’s worth of sightings in one morning).  After listening to lion calls whilst having our morning coffee and rusk stop, we found this pair a short distance away.  They would walk together for a short distance along the road, stop and survey the area or lay down for a few minutes, and then carry on.

I hope you enjoy my selections; wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

 

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Pausing and listening before moving on.  There were lots of lion calls in the distance; lots of drama in the bush that day.
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An impressive guy, one of the Matshipiri male lions.
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A bit of lion flirting.
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We drove down the road from the lions a short distance so we could get photos of the pair walking towards us along the road.  Obviously they didn’t get the memo as to what was anticipated 🙂
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Our ranger parked alongside a termite mound to give the pair space as they came closer along the road.  They stopped to one side and looked as if they were going to mate (pictured here).  She suddenly changed her mind, crossed the road and climbed to the top of the termite mound we were parked alongside, and they proceeded to mate there instead.  When that happened, the pair was inches from the hood of our vehicle.