2024-02-25: Birds

I had a lot of bird images saved in my quick collection to edit, so I took the easy route, and worked on those today. Sometimes, the path of least resistant is the best way to go.

These images are both from my most recent travels and a trip to South Africa in 2019.

I’m sure safari guides never tire of guests calling this bird “banana head”. A yellow billed hornbill.
I believe this is a red-crested bustard, but without the crest lifted, it is a bit challenging to tell.
A fiery-necked nightjar spotted on the way back to camp.
A lilac breasted roller calling.
A majestic fish eagle.
A coqui francolin. I wish I could have caught him posing with something other than a large dung pile, but that’s where he wanted to be.
A grey go-away bird. This bird has simultaneously the most obnoxious and most hilarious call. If there is one hanging around my room, sometimes I’ll talk back to it. Whether that makes me obnoxious or hilarious is up for debate 🙂

2024-02-19: Zebras

Zebras felt like a good follow on to last weeks post showcasing some giraffe images. They are another lovely animal to spot in the bush, especially when they are chilled out and allow a photograph with some nice eye contact.

As I was editing these images, I noticed as I was zooming in and out many scars on the adults. Perhaps from a brush with a predator, conflict with another member of the herd, or scrapes and scratches from moving within thick bush quickly. Potentially, a combination of all three. Seeing images of a few different individuals highlights that all the stripe patterns are unique.

Both mama and the youngster having some dinner. Madikwe, November 2022.
A perfect zebra tail swish.
Watchful attention. Eyes and ears focus in the distance.
I love the eye contact from both these zebras, but this certainly wouldn’t be an image I would want to try and print, as I’d have to swap in a new sky due to the extreme number of small flying insects creating little black spots throughout the blue sky and clouds. At this size and resolution, it isn’t an issue worth the time to fix. And besides, that’s being out in the bush. Sometimes, it is extra buggy.

2024-02-11: Giraffes

The weekend got away from me, so just a quick few photos in the hopes that it helps me keep with the habit of completing a weekly post.

I selected some giraffe images to share today. They are such an interesting combination of goofy and elegant, and are usually quite chilled out when spotted on safari which allows for lots of photo opportunities.

The lack of hair tufts on the ossicones indicates a male giraffe. They lose the hair tufts as they spar with other males in the traditional necking competitions. The image above provides good contrast, and is either a female, or a young male that has not yet started necking.
These two were part of a much large mixed group of giraffe and zebra spotted at the side of the road while on game drive in Madikwe, South Africa.

2024-02-04: Sunrises and Sunsets

We’ve had some beautiful weather the last few days, and my road is finally clear of icy and easy to walk, so I’ve been getting the dogs out for nice morning walks. The morning twilight and sunrise have been beautiful, but since I didn’t have my camera with me to capture them, I went through some of the many images I have left to edit, and found a selection that shows some of the beautiful colours I have been enjoying.

Sunrise along the banks of the Zambezi River, just outside the town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. November, 2022.
A misty early morning drive in Hwange, Zimbabwe. November, 2022.
The dawn of a beautiful day in Hwange, Zimbabwe. November, 2022.
A rather spooky looking sunset captured in the Sabi Sands. May, 2019.
Sunset along the Zambezi River, just before taking the boat back to Tsowa Safari Island. Zimbabwe, November 2022.
Zambezi Sunset from Livingstone, Zambia. November, 2022.
A peaceful bush sunset from the Sabi Sands. May, 2019.

2024-01-21: Alaskan Cruise Wildlife

Taking a break from African wildlife to work on a few images of the wildlife that I saw during my Alaskan cruise. That trip was far more about landscapes than wildlife, but after the brutally cold weather and recent dump of snow we’ve had, I just didn’t feel like editing snowy landscapes.

A humpback whale tail. Hoonah, Alaska. May 2023.

I’d previously posted some whale images, which you can find here if interested. The whales were definitely top of the list of what I hoped to see on my cruise, so I couldn’t leave them out of this post. These sea lions were spotted on the same whale watching cruise.

A group of sea lions chilling, and one hoping there is room on the buoy for just one more. Hoonah, Alaska. May 2023.

While on a combination train and bus journey of the White Pass into the Yukon, our group spotted a family of 3 black bears along the roadside (a mama and 2 older cubs) and then a second sighting of a solitary bear. Getting photos out of the window of a bus isn’t the easiest, but at least I captured a decent shot of one of the bears.

A roadside black bear, seen outside of Carcross, Yukon. May 2023.

Bald eagles are incredibly plentiful in Alaska. Before I left the ship for my tour in Juneau, I spotted a half dozen, along with probably 50+ gulls, swopping around the waters just off the side of the ship, going after whatever small fish were in the harbour. After a sight seeing trip to Mendenhall Glacier, our group headed to a smaller marina to get onto a whale watching boat, and this bald eagle was hanging in the parking lot, not even remotely concerned about the people or cars coming and going.

A bald eagle, spotted on a parking lot light fixture at a marina in Juneau, Alaska, May 2023.

2024-01-14: Jackals

After wild dogs last week, I decided to work on the few jackal photos I had this week. Jackals are fairly common on safari, but on this past trip, the jackal sighting I had were of moms and youngsters, which was very cute to see. These images were taken just before dusk, and we had only a minute or two at the sighting before they were gone.

We first spotted mama jackal in the bushes just off the road, and stopped for a quick photo.
After a few moments, one of the pups came out of the bushes.
Mom stepped into the bushes (we believe to another pup) and we only had a moment before this little one scurried after her. Madikwe, South Africa. November 2022.

2024-01-07: Wild Dogs

Like elephants (featured in my previous post), wild dogs are a firm favourite to spend time with on safari. I’ve been so fortunate to see wild dogs on the majority of my trips (East Africa in 2016 being the only time I didn’t see them) – which I know is not the experience of most people. My very first guide cautioned me about getting my hopes up to see wild dogs, mentioning that she had talked to clients who had never seen them despite multiple trips, but I have looked at the desire to see things in the wild as a someday request, not something that will make or break a specific trip (and I did end up seeing wild dogs on that first trip, during a day trip in Chobe Park in Botswana).

I spent a few days in Madikwe during my last trip and saw two different wild dogs packs on a couple of different sightings. A morning sighting where the group was active and on the move, and an evening sighting where the pack was quite chill. All of the photos below are from the evening sighting. If you are interested in seeing the other images of wild dogs posted from this trip, you can find them here and here. And you can use the search bar for wild dog posts and find a variety of posts from over the years. I’ve not looked through those archives, but I am guessing they all mention how lucky I am to see wild dogs so frequently.

2023-12-17: Elephants

I was drawn to elephants today, and wanted to put together a bit of a variety of images, so I have a few in colour and a couple in monochrome to share today. While I have a decent catalogue of elephant images, these are all from my most recent trip to Africa in 2022.

We came across this big guy moments after leaving camp for our morning game drive. I was quite fortunate as my seat mates didn’t go on morning drives, so my guide and I could have a relaxed time in the mornings and we could stop at sightings for as long (or short) as I wanted. I had to tell my guide that he needed to call it with the elephants we found, or we’d end up hanging out with them the whole time. It was a good thing we didn’t, as not long after this, we found wild dogs. I guess I know what I am editing for next week 🙂 Madikwe, South Africa. November, 2022.
I didn’t ask the elephant for directions, but it is pretty clear that they are directing us straight on the road 🙂 Madikwe, South Africa. November 2022.
This was quite an interesting sighting, as I was in a hide to watch birds when this elephant came over to drink and graze. It was amazing to watch from such a close distance. He absolutely knew I was there watching him, but wasn’t concerned with me at all.
Madikwe, South Africa, November 2023.
I love monochrome editing, both for the visual appearance of it, and the way it can save a strangely toned photo. Out of the camera, this image had a very strong magenta hue. The image was captured on an early morning game drive, and while sometimes a magenta cast is quite appealing, on this image, it wasn’t, and trying to correct for it yielded some rather strange results. So, monochrome it is. I think monochrome suits this image as it gives a better impression of how easy elephants can disappear into the bushes than the colour version did. Hwange, Zimbabwe. November 2022.
This small group was part of a much larger herd that came to the waterhole outside of our camp, drinking and bathing and then enjoying a mud bath in the mud pits next to the dam. I love the position of the elephants, showing the typical behaviour of keeping the smallest in between mom and another older elephant (perhaps an older sibling). Hwange, Zimbabwe. November, 2022

2023-12-03: Humpback Whales

My trip to Alaska was very early in the season, and the majority of the humpback whales that summer in the region were still in transit. Even though the chance of seeing whales was lower, heading out on whale watching trips was still high on my list of things to do. While I didn’t have the opportunity to see dramatic breaches or bubble feeding, I did get to see multiple individuals, including right from the top of the cruise ship while entering and exiting Yakutat Bay, during our day of scenic cruising to see Hubbard Glacier.

As you can see from the images, I was very fortunate to have amazing weather whilst in Alaska. I took scenic whale watching excursions in Icy Strait Point and Anchorage, and saw multiple whales on both excursions. In speaking with some people on my trip that had done over a dozen Alaska trips, they said May carried a good chance for nice weather, and July & August better opportunities for whales, but more rain. I’m pretty happy with the choice that I made.

2023-11-26: An assortment of birds

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.

A lilac breasted roller.
A purple roller.

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.

A racket tailed roller.
A southern masked weaver.

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.

A southern masked weaver colony in the midst of nest construction.
A male long tailed widowbird in breeding plumage.
A male violet backed starling.
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