I felt like some colour on a dull day, so small birds with bright feathers it is. The lilac breasted roller remains one of my favourite birds to spot on safari, and I was quite excited on my past trip to have the chance to see other types of rollers as well. I didn’t get great photos of the other rollers, but included them anyways to show the variety of colours.
It was unfortunate to only see the purple roller and racket tailed roller high up against very bright skies, but at least I did get the racket tailed roller at the right angle to show off the interesting tail feathers.
These weaver images were taken in different areas; the southern masked weaver is wide spread and they create very interesting nests that often hang over water. The males are in charge of construction, and the females in charge of determining if the nest is up to standards or not. When you come across a large colony, you will often see nests that have been abandoned partway through construction.
Today I selected a few images from my time cruising around Hubbard Glacier during my trip to Alaska in May. I’m guessing in a month or so, when the snow has settled in here at home, editing images of snowy landscapes may not have much appeal, so I wanted to tackle a bit while I was inspired.
As for this day of scenic cruising, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect blue sky day. While it was very foggy while out in the open water, it cleared dramatically as soon as we entered the bay, and stayed that way until we left again in the afternoon, and then we were back into the fog.
As for home, there has been a brief glimpse of the winter to come, but thankfully for the next few days at least, we are to be above zero each day.
I find kingfishers to be fascinating birds to watch. I always enjoyed it when I spotted them during my walks along the river when I used to live near Vancouver, and especially love to see the large variety of kingfishers whilst travelling in Africa.
On my last trip, I was fortunate to see 7 varieties of kingfishers, and to get photos of 6 varieties (a woodland kingfisher still stubbornly remains on my mental images to capture list).
While some of the images from this trip weren’t as good as previous (such as the pied & giant kingfishers) I wanted to get as many of them as I could in one post, as it shows the wonderful variety of size and colour. And despite the name, not all kingfishers fish. Some prey instead of small amphibians or insects.
I want to get back into the routine and habit of working on my photos and posting at least once a week, so I started with the first image that caught my eye when looking through my unedited files. I believe this is an umbrella acacia tree, and it stood out amongst the grasses and shorter brush while out on a game drive. It would have been amazing under a clear blue sky, or silhouetted against a sunset. Even under a cloudy sky, it is a magnificent tree, but it was a rather flat image in the colour version.
I haven’t played around with much black and white editing recently, save for a few infrared images I have worked on. I feel a bit rusty with all aspects of editing at the moment, but like anything else, it comes back as you start to use it again. I am much happier with this image in monochrome, though with more time, I probably could have gotten it to a bit closer to what I had in my minds eye when I started out.
I had high hopes of working through a decent number of images this week, while I was off work on a staycation, but I also have a tendency to create a mental to do list that 3 people couldn’t finish, let alone just me. My household projects, yard work and the like all had a lot of effort directed at them, but creative time took a backseat. With winter coming, there will be lots of time to be inside working through images, while getting the autumn yard work done (and a round of golf in) has a pretty limited time frame now that September is almost to a close.
For my image today, it is a lovely sunset taken on my first evening staying in Madikwe last November. It’s hard to believe almost a year has past since that trip.
I’d always hoped for the chance to capture an image of elephants silhouetted against a sunrise or sunset. I had the opportunity when I was in Zimbabwe last year, though the results weren’t quite what I had in mind. I think if we had been in position about 15 to 20 minutes earlier, the sky would have been a bit brighter, though still colourful enough to be interesting. Though, of course, had we been in this particular spot earlier, the elephants wouldn’t have been there, as they were on the move and just passing through the area.
There are so many sightings I think would be interesting, and images I would love to capture. I don’t put pressure on myself or guides when we are out and about to find certain situations, as part of the joy of being in the bush is the unexpected. Though if we are at a sighting, I will ask for a vehicle to be repositioned, if it is safe to do so and doesn’t adversely impact others, in order to be able to capture better images, but usually, the guide has already thought of that as they position a vehicle.
One of the days on my recent cruise was a scenic cruise to the Hubbard Glacier. While I was told that it is not as impressive as cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, I thought the scenery was breathtaking and beautiful.
Similar to most mornings when we were out at sea, I awoke to pea soup fog, and I thought that perhaps we wouldn’t see much of anything. I took in the morning talk by the onboard naturalist, and then headed to the coffee bar for a mid-morning pick me up. I got to chatting with some people while having a coffee, and it was explained to me that as we headed into the bay, and got closer to the glacier, the weather would shift very dramatically. At noon, we headed into the bay, and sure enough, we left the fog in our wake and had gorgeous sunny blue skies and beautiful scenery (and, when we left the bay, the fog closed in as rapidly as it had lifted earlier in the day). There were some whales spotted from the ship, both on our way to and from the glacier, which was wonderful to watch.
I took an enormous number of photos during this scenic cruise, and since I am behind in my cataloguing a bit, I just selected a few that appealed to edit and share.
We’ve been having a lot of thunderstorms recently, but it’s not particularly picturesque or open where I live, so I am not able to get interesting photos of the storms. I did try once driving around to see if I could get a decent vantage point, but didn’t find anything that made me want to take my camera out.
However, I did get some fantastic storms while I was away in November, complete with open vistas to take pictures of the towering clouds approaching filled with rain. Here are a few of those shots.
Without a doubt, the favourite excursion I did while on my Alaskan cruise in May was take the White Pass rail trip from Skagway, Alaska, to Fraser, BC. After disembarking in Fraser, we carried on by bus into the Yukon (my first time in one of the territories). I had hoped to be able to do a longer rail trip all the way to Bennett, but it was too early in the season.
There was still significant snow at the higher elevations, and a definite chill in the air on the 8:00am departure, but I spent as much time as possible on one of the outdoor platforms, watching the scenary and taking lots of photos. I was quite fortunate as only two other people in my rail car had any interest in being outside for any length of time, and there was enough room for three on the platform, so I had a great view to entire way. I’d duck in for few moments when my hands got too cold to warm them next to the heater, and then back out for more photos.
These infrared landscape images I took in Zimbabwe caught my eye as I completed the process of moving back to Lightroom and reorganizing the images that I have left to edit. They look rather strange scrolling past unedited, as they are almost a neon red/orange tone, but once converted to black and white, offer a different look than a typical monochrome landscape.
These were both shot near mid day, and the infrared filter requires a long exposure, providing some nice movement in the foliage, like this palm tree.
This second image was shot by the waterhole at the camp we stayed at in Hwange. The pair of marabou storks were almost motionless with their wings outstretched, making them look almost fake in the long exposure image. The sky looks extra dramatic in black and white, and later in the day, we had a spectacular thunderstorm with torrential rains.