2021-01-18: Leopard in a tree

I always hesitate a bit about sharing images of predators feeding, as some people (including me) are squeamish, but I don’t find this to be gory or difficult to view, so I hope no one else finds it challenging to look at. Many people say that they want to see a kill while on safari; I never have, though I have arrived at lions feeding very shortly after taking down a pair of impala, and it’s a very hectic experience to witness. In terms of an animal feeding, this was very tame as the carcass was already well picked over and it was high in a tree so there weren’t a lot of smells with it. But it still spooked one of the people in our vehicle, and after a short time there she indicated to our guide that she was ready to move on and that it was getting a bit much for her.

The day previous, she had been quite keen to see a cheetah starting (and then quickly failing) at a hunt. I wonder what would have happened had the cheetah been successful? My thoughts on this are, when heading out in nature, do your best limit your expectations of what you will experience, and what you hope to experience, and even, what you think you will enjoy experiencing.

2021-01-04: Monochrome Monday

We spent time viewing these siblings after a rather lengthy search, and couldn’t have found them in a nicer spot, next to a dam in the late afternoon. There was a giraffe watching them wearily from the other side as it awkwardly bent over to get a drink.

The body language here is interesting to me, with the lying down lion obviously not too pleased at the affectionate head bump from the young male. He had obviously been in a few scuffles already, judging by the healed gashes on his flank. One thing I have learned from all the guides I have met, and all the nature programs that I have watched, is life as a lion definitely is not an easy affair. Young males get ousted from a pride; from the small size of his mane, this one still had a bit of time left with his family, though I am sure by now, more than 1 1/2 years on, if he is still alive, he would not be with the pride any longer.

2021-01-03: More time with Capture One

I found a few more images that were similar to do some side by side editing between Lightroom and Capture One Express for raw processing. I continue to be impressed with the colour and detail that Capture One brings out of my Fuji files.

The first is a leopard image from Lion Sands River Lodge, edited with Lightroom.
And here is the same leopard using Capture One.

I edited these photos on different days and didn’t cross check to try to make them look the same, but just to bring out the best in them. I think the colour rendering is nicer on the Capture One version as it has less of a magenta cast, and generally it feels to me a bit richer with more depth.

This was shot at Chitwa Chitwa, when the Torchwood pride moved through the property early one morning. This was done with Lightroom.
This is a single lioness from the same pride, edited using Capture One. Again, I prefer the Capture One edit for the richness of colour.
Finally, a sunrise image shot while at Lion Sands Tinga Lodge. This first image is the Lightroom edit.
The same sunrise edited using Capture One. And three for three, I prefer the colour and depth in this image to the Lightroom edited image.

Because I need to keep the file sizes manageable for the webpage, some of the differences that I see when looking at the images within the editing programs doesn’t reflect in the versions I post online, but, I think these give a good example of what I am experiencing with this new (to me ) software.

Have a great week everyone!

2020-12-20: Along the river

The Sabie River flows in front of Tinga Lodge, and on an afternoon game drive, only a couple minutes from camp, we came across a huge herd of buffalo. Some were crossing the river, others lounging in it, and others pausing to take a drink. Mixed amongst them were also a number of elephants. We spent a few moments watching all the action, and then carried on across a wooden bridge over the river.

It wasn’t a remarkable moment on safari by any stretch, but a lovely moment none the less and when I came across the photos today when trying to decide what to work on, they made me smile and remember the warm sun, the dust, the slight breeze and the scent of elephant, buffalo and the plants growing along the river bank.

2020-12-13: Leopards at Chitwa Chitwa

Sometimes there are a lot of vehicles all trying to see the same thing, and rangers operate on a first come, first served basis at a sighting, (usually a maximum of three vehicles) and then everyone else puts their name on a list. It’s always been my experience that all the rangers involved do their very best to maximize the viewing for their guests, while still being fair to try and allow everyone to opportunity to have a view. In this situation, we were pretty far down the list on this sighting that happened during afternoon drive, and we were all hopeful that perhaps we would get a glimpse of a leopard before nightfall.

The groups before us only saw the mother leopard. They knew the cub was somewhere in the thicket, but it wasn’t interested in making itself seen at that time. Harley, our guide, navigated our vehicle to the best spot he could find, and after the other vehicle that was there cleared off, the cub popped its head out of the bushes and made its way down to spend some time with Mom. We had a short while enjoying the sighting, and then a second vehicle came along to also get a quick view of the leopards before nightfall. I think it was the second vehicle that spooked the cub back into the thicket, so our vehicle ended up being the only one to see both mother and cub during that sighting. We headed off to give the other vehicle the best viewing spot, and enjoyed a sundowner a short while later.

Can you spot the cub?

2020-11-23: Monochrome Monday

I was so fortunate to see loads of rhino during my last trip to South Africa, including numerous youngsters alongside their Moms. One of the best sightings, which I didn’t get any photo or video of, was a young calf at dusk whining and crying at its mother trying to get milk, but she was laying down having a rest and wasn’t giving in. Everyone on the vehicle was having a good laugh listening to the antics as it quickly grew dark.

This pair was incredibly relaxed with our vehicle nearby, peacefully grazing and gong about their business.

2020-11-15: Francolins

Anyone that has been on a game drive in Africa will be familiar with francolins, spur fowl and grouse, as they are often encountered on the roads and have a funny habit of jogging in front of the vehicle for what seems like a rather long distance (given their size) before ducking into an opening in the grass or bushes. It always makes me chuckle every time I see this. Given where they are encountered though, and their natural behaviour, it is surprisingly tough to get a decent photo pf these birds, unless you are on a vehicle all to yourself… most people aren’t too keen to stop for every bird sighting while out in the bush.

A pair of crested francolins foraging at the side of the road.
A family of francolins on the run.
A coqui francolin being very accommodating and pausing for a photo op.
Double banded sand grouse were enjoying a dust bath in the middle of the road, until we rudely disturbed them!