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.
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’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.
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.
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.
I’m in the process of making some changes to my cataloguing of photos. After a few years of trying to work with Capture One exclusively, I’m moving back to Lightroom for cataloguing and basic edits. Given how hectic life was during the time I was trying to use Capture One, I probably didn’t put enough effort into learning the program, but Lightroom feels easier to use, and right now, that’s enough of a pull to make the switch. In all honesty, it’s nice to have so many different choices of software to use, and my choice may change again in the future.
It’s a little tedious transferring over my star ratings, since there isn’t an automated way to do things, but at least it means I am going through all the photos again to decide if I do want to work on them in the future.
As for today’s image, it should be no surprise that I gravitated towards elephants. This sighting was right after lunch when we arrived at our camp in Hwange, and everyone enjoyed the antics of this group rolling in the mud and dust bathing.
The pygmy is the smallest of the kingfishers seen in Southern Africa, and they really are a treat to spot, with jewel tone feathers and an intensely orange beak. This one was seen in typical woodland habitat. The barbed wire seems out of place in the bush, but the track we were driving along had an open construction excavation along the length of the road (I believe putting in a new water pipe), and the wire provided some demarkation between the work zone, and where it was safe to drive.
We were fortunate as this kingfisher kept flying off and back to almost the same spot on the wire, giving everyone in our group ample opportunities for spotting and photographs.
I believe this is a tawny eagle, but raptor identification has never been my strong suit, so I hope if I have that wrong, someone will provide a correct ID. I saw a lot of raptors on my trip, but didn’t get into the habit of writing down names, as often they were spotted when I couldn’t get an image of the bird. It was different being on a specific birding trip, rather than a general safari. Birding was concerned with sightings, whether they were close up or far away (and some of them were really, really far!), whereas a general safari is more focused on close sightings and photography. It was interesting learning more about birding during my trip, but I must admit, I prefer my bird watching to be closer to me, where I can really enjoy them, rather than a small spec through binoculars.
My photo sharing has been quite haphazard and random lately, and today is no different. As I got to my computer to work on images, the heavens opened up with the first thunderstorm of the year. After calming the pups down from the surprise of the loud noises, I thought decided to focus on bird around the water for today.
All of these birds are ones that I had seen before, but I still needed to go to my bird app to double check on both the heron and the kingfisher. Hopefully I have those identified correctly.