During my travels it has been heartwarming to see several different rhinos cows with their calves. I did have one sighting that turned out to be quite a missed opportunity though. The Mom was busy having a drink at a watering hole, and the baby began to whine, wanting access to milk. Mom wasn’t interested at that time, and the whining from the baby got louder and more insistent. This went on for a good couple of minutes, and I didn’t even think to switch into video, and kept capturing still images instead. The only time I have heard rhinos before is on nature programs, so it was definitely a wonderful moment in the bush for me.
Here are some images from the past week of my travels, staying at two properties; Lions Sands River and Tinga Lodges. I have had a wonderful time being back in the bush again! It’s tea time shortly and then off to see what the afternoon has in store, so I will keep this brief.
To some, using software to make a photo look as if it were sketched or painted may seem like an abomination. Photographers often go to great lengths (sometimes at great expense) to create sharp and crisp images that show the viewer exactly what the scene looked like. But what about those times when that beautifully crisp, perfectly exposed image doesn’t convey the feeling of the moment? Or, heaven forbid, what if you goof up on the exposure, or mess up the focus a bit, but the moment was great and you still want to do something with the image? These are just some of the reasons for exploring painterly effects with photography. I’ve edited photos in the past for all those reasons and while I don’t post them too often, I do have a gallery of my favourite Artistic Impressions or Photo Art images.
This week, I was inspired by a vintage style travel poster I have had hanging up for around the last 12 years or so. I see it every time I walk towards my sitting room; this week I was struck by the interest in creating a photo series inspired by it, whereas most of the time I just look at it and think “I really want to go to the Serengeti someday”.
I decided to do a series of Big 5 animals; I can imagine these in a vintage travel brochure advertising visiting the “Dark Continent” to see the wild and ferocious Big 5. I edited all of them using the Topaz Simplify filter through the Topaz Studio program.
While I could have zoomed in on this rhino and created a standard portrait, I thought keeping things wide and showing the rhino in the landscape was far more effective for this scene. Had we been driving fast, we probably would have missed it completely, as most of the time the head was down and the horn wasn’t visible, making it easy to mistake the rhino for a rock (and vice versa).
During this month of revisiting old work, I’ve had the opportunity to take many trips down memory lane, remembering amazing moments in nature and the challenging times trying to work out what to do with my camera to make the image that appeared on my LCD match the thought I had in my head.
What this monthly topic has hammered home is that the gear doesn’t matter, its what you are able to do with it. The software used to edit images doesn’t matter, its understanding how to make the tools work for you in the best ways possible. These things get said time and time again, but they really become apparent when you start reviewing a collection of work gathered over time that has been captured and edited with a variety of different resources.
No one looking at my images is going to say “You shot that on this camera body and then you edited it with that software program. There are times when I have been out shooting with more than one camera and once the images have been uploaded to my computer, I don’t know which image was shot with which body, without checking the info panel!
At the end of the day, the only thing that should matter is if the image moves you in some way.
And with that, here are a few images I have reworked this week. I hope you enjoy, and please check back next Sunday to find out what the topic of the month will be for March.
The first WordPress photo challenge topic of the year is growth. There are lots of directions that this can be taken, but I’ve decided to use it as an opportunity to show off some of the younger generation of animals that I saw on my last safari. The wild is a dangerous place for youngsters, with so many species having mortality rates above 50%. I hope all of these animals have been able to grow strong and healthy.
Today and every day, let’s keep these magnificent creatures safe. There are so many dedicated people working to combat poaching; I do hold hope that the tide will shift and people will curb the demand for rhino horn.
After my time in Botswana, we finished out our trip at three different camps in South Africa. All were places we had visited previously and liked so much we wanted to return to experience them again.
Travelling from the Okavango Delta to the Durban area in South Africa is pretty much a full day event. We didn’t have time for a morning game drive, so we had an early breakfast and took a leisurely 1 1/2 hour drive to the airstrip that was being used by Machaba while the local strip was flooded. From camp we flew to Maun, onwards to Johannesburg and then finally into Durban, arriving around 9pm. Rather than take another flight, we had a driving transfer from Durban to Phinda, around a 2 1/2 hour drive, that left our hotel around 10 the next morning.
Arriving at Vlei lodge, we were greeted like family with welcoming hugs from Kathryn, the camp manager (whom we had also met during our previous stay). We also had a chance to reconnect with the wonderful chef Happiness, who even asked us for our favourite items from the previous stay, so she could make sure they were on the menu during our visit.
Unlike the lodges we visited later that were adjacent to Kruger, Phinda is a fully fenced reserve, and as such have taken the difficult decision to de-horn the rhino population in an effort to curb poaching. With horns or without, rhino are such impressive creatures to come across. It is just so sad that it has come to this in order to keep them safe. Like the properties in both Namibia and Botswana, Phinda had received an abundance of rain during the rainy season, after several years of rather severe drought. The abundance of food and water meant that general game were much more scattered, and often the game drives were quite for periods when we didn’t see any animals around. We did have one epic morning drive though filled with fun elephant encounters as well as several groups of rhino.
Phinda is definitely a good place to go if you are interested in seeing cheetah. We saw 6 different cheetah during our stay, including a mom with 3 cubs.
Here are a few of my images from my recent visit to Phinda. If you are interested, you can find some from my previous visit here and here.