2018-08-18: Smoky Skies

Like last year, Northern BC has been hit hard with wildfires.  It’s actually pretty scary looking at the wildfire maps, as it looks like most of the province is currently on fire.  Thankfully, there is currently no danger in our immediate vicinity, other than extremely poor air quality from the substantial amount of smoke that has settled in the region, and the airborne ash that lately has been coating my car every night.

Yesterday morning started out normal enough for the past few weeks, a bit smoky but nothing too terrible.  But then as the morning wore on, it got darker rather than brighter, and at 9:10am it looked like we were in the midst of some type of solar eclipse event.  I went outside to try and capture a few images; it was extremely smoky, cold like it would be in the middle of the night, and all the photo sensitive lights had come on.  It was spooky quiet as all the birds had dropped to complete silence.

By 10am the darkness had passed but it remained incredibly smoky throughout the day.

I was in the middle of work so I didn’t have the opportunity to drive anywhere more interesting to take pictures; this is a view down my driveway to the road… not that you can really even see the driveway in the image.  It was just the sky I was focused on.

This shot was taken on my Fuji camera with the 18-55 lens, shot at f2.8, ISO 2000 and 1/60 sec.  I created the merged panorama in On1 Photo Raw, and for efficiency edited it in On1 (back to the Luminar processing tomorrow).  The merged panorama was a bit of a challenge because the images were so dark.  I had to up the exposure slider on all the individual images, and then reverse that on the panorama.  My camera is basically always set to auto white balance, and I changed it in editing to daylight, and that got the sky to be true to life.

Just to give some perspective, sunrise this week is around 5:55am.

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A merged panorama of 5 images shot at 9:18am yesterday morning.  A single shot definitely captured the spookiness of the colour of the sky, but having the panorama really shows the variation in different areas of the sky.

 

All of us here are praying for the safety of all the incredibly brave people working to put these fires out, and hoping that some favourable weather will be heading their way soon.

 

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.

 

2018-07-23: Monochrome Monday

A giraffe reaching for a choice morsel, high up in an acacia tree.

Because of an abundant wet season, there was a lot of food (and relatively speaking) a lot of water on offer in the desert while I was there last April.

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2018-07-17: Deer in the yard

I missed putting together my Sunday post, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this adorable deer and fawn that briefly popped by the yard last week.  They showed up for only a couple minutes at the end of a miserable rainstorm, so I am glad I looked out the window at the right time and had my camera handy.  I didn’t recognize the mama, so I only shot a couple of images out the window, as I didn’t want to spook them.  Most of the local deer are used to me being out walking so it probably wouldn’t have been an issue to pop my head out the door, but I actually wouldn’t have had time as they only popped over for a brief visit to the salt lick and then vanished back into the bushes.

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A mama deer and fawn making a brief appearance in my back yard.
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A bundle of cuteness – I love living in the country 🙂

2018-07-16: Monochrome Monday

A cheetah family portrait to start the week.  There’s always one looking in the wrong direction… 🙂

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A family of cheetah huddle together on a blustery afternoon on the Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa.  May, 2017.