2018-08-12: World Elephant Day

As you all know, I am just a bit partial to elephants, so I wouldn’t mind if every day were elephant day.  But today is officially World Elephant Day, so it’s a great opportunity to share some images of my favourite animal.

I won’t get into a discussion on elephant population numbers, conservation challenges and the like.  There are many people and groups far more informed than I that are providing that type of information.  I’ll simply say that my opinion is that no one needs ivory except an elephant, and the poaching of these magnificent animals is an absolute tragedy that needs to be stopped.

I’m sure I have said this many times before, but if there was only one animal I could spend time with on an African safari, it would be the elephant.

I’ve kept with my theme for the month of August, and have continued to learn and explore the Luminar editing program and all of these images have been processed using the software.  Two things I have noticed over the past week:

1) I find the spot removal tool does not work very well for larger dust spots on blue sky; it leaves behind visible traces of the spot removal that are almost more noticeable than the initial spot.  I have found though that the clone stamp tool does an effective job on the larger sensor spot removal.  The majority of these images were shot on my old Nikon D610, which had enormous issues with sensor spots, so this is a feature I rely on quite heavily for working on older images.

2) The luminosity mask function is quite limited on the current software version, offering no opportunity for adjusting the luminance values to dial in the mask.  I use the luminosity masking function a lot when editing with On1 Photo Raw, especially as an effective way to isolate the sky to perform specific adjustments.  The standard masking options also feel a bit more basic than the ones that I use with Photo Raw.  For images that need that type of adjustment, I don’t think Luminar would be my first choice as a raw editor.

I’m finding that most of the editing is start to feel natural using this program, now that I have gotten a feel for what the various filters do.  But coming from Lightroom and On1 Photo Raw, I’m really used to the automatic lens profile corrections, and having to manually enable and adjust that is something I haven’t yet gotten used to doing as part of my workflow.  Generally speaking though, I am finding it an enjoyable program to use.

On to the images 🙂

Desert adapted elephants in the Hoanib River bed in Namibia.  April 2017.
A pair of bull elephants play fighting in the shallows of the Boteti River.  Leroo La Tau Camp, Botswana, May 2017.
A bull elephant giving himself a mud bath in Nxai Pans National Park.  Botswana, May 2017.
An elephant climbing out of the dry Timbavatio Riverbed in front of the Ngala Tented camp.  South Africa, May 2017.
A curious elephant calf that kept approaching the vehicle, checking me out.  One of my all time favourite elephant moments.  Londolzi, May 2017.

2018-01-09: WPC – Growth

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.

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A rhino cow and calf seen during a late afternoon game drive on the Ongava Reserve near Etosha National Park in Namibia.  We were very fortunate to have several rhino sightings during our trip.  Namibia, April 2017.
This lion pride was very busy, with 6 small cubs, all of whom were suffering with mange.  I am hopeful they all made it through the winter months.  South Africa, May 2017.
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I have few photos of this sighting, as the light was falling rapidly and the cubs were deep in a thicket.  But their antics were too adorable not to try and capture.  So while their Mom fed on a giraffe kill, these two scampered around, wrestled, and attempted to climb the tree behind them. They even had a few moments of playing with the food.  South Africa, May 2017. (1/250sec, f5.6, ISO 25,600)
We came across these elephants just after setting out from camp early one morning.  They had discovered an underground water pipe and had pulled it up to get to the water.  Elephants of all sizes were enjoying a drink as the sun came up.  Being amongst the elephants is definitely one of my favourite things; I could have happily spent the whole day with them.  South Africa, May 2017.
Right after leaving the elephants seen above, we saw this.  I don’t think it gets any better in terms of an amazing sighting; we were able to track this beautiful leopard all the way to her new den site, and then spend time watching the tiny cubs explore their new home (a hollow log).  South Africa, May 2017.


If you would like to see more images and hear more about my time at the camps these images were captured at, feel free to check out: 2017-07-16: Highlights of Little Ongava2017-08-15: Ngala Tented Camp and 2017-08-27: Londolozi Game Reserve


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www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.


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WPC – Growth

2017-11-05: Before and After

I decided that this image would be good for a before and after post after finishing the editing, so today I just have the before and after images to share, not all the steps I took to get there.

This image was shot during sunrise whilst on a game drive at Ngala Camp in South Africa.  It was quite surreal to have these massive storm clouds, the light from the sun rising, the moon visible and a rainbow all at one time.  With so much going on, it was a challenging scene to deal with, and the image ended up rather flat and uninspired.

I decided to edit the single image using Aurora HDR Pro, as I find that the software is great in bringing out the detail and colour in an image, although it can be a little heavy handed at times.  Herein lies the editing issue of course; trying to coax the best out of the image you have, without it ending up looking crunchy and radioactive.   I layered two different presets within Aurora, blending them at different opacities, and then dialed back the result within Photoshop to find a level of punch that I felt worked for the image, and for my memory of what to scene looked and felt like.

I’d be interested to know any opinions on the edit – did I go too far, not far enough, or just right, based on what I had to work with?  Everyone looks at things differently and I am always interested in the reactions of other people.

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Straight out of the camera.
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After some post processing love and attention.


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2017-08-15: Ngala Tented Camp

It was a soggy day flying from Phinda to Ngala, which was my second to last stop on my trip.  It’s tough thought o be too upset about rain in locations where it has been desperately needed for years, and besides, we only had two days with any rain over a four week period, which is pretty fantastic from a sightseeing perspective (especially in an open vehicle).  I have spent time at Ngala previously (you can check out some past highlights here if you want).

We only had two days at the camp, but they were filled with lots of laughs with our wonderful ranger Lee-Anne, some fantastic game viewing, and really great meals.  The first game drive was a soggy one, but we didn’t let that get our spirits down, and we ended up seeing both lion and leopard on the same game drive – not too shabby!

I hope you enjoy a small selection of the photos that I took at this beautiful property.

Not the most amazing image, but what a sight to see.  I was in the furthest tent from the main lodge, and as I left my room to head over for some lunch, I noticed a pair of elephants climbing the banks on the opposite side of the dry riverbed.  Here one of them pauses to dig a bit in the dirt on the side of the steep bank.
Fabulous things happen when you follow the clues provided by nature, rather than having a hard and fast plan as to what needs to be seen.  Lee-Anne spotted a large number of vultures moving swiftly in one direction, so we followed the birds and found this young male leopard with an impala kill.
Family greetings, lion style.  I chose monochrome for this image as I feel it really highlights how well these big cats can blend into the bushes.  I’m sure you didn’t notice the two cats blurred in the background, and you probably wouldn’t see them if driving past on the road either.  Animals have wonderful ways to camouflage themselves.
After the rainstorm, we woke up to a chilly morning and this grey go-away bird had not warmed up enough yet to fly.  He was perched on a branch right next to the road, allowing me to get a few nice shots.
If ever a face said “Non shall pass” this is it.  This old bull was lying in our pathway through the riverbed, but we certainly were not going to try and make him move.  Our vehicle may have been bigger, but we went around.
A lioness looks on towards a herd of zebra and impala.  The herd saw her immediately, so there was no point in moving any closer.
A small dam and the dissipating clouds from an early morning storm.
An amazing sky during a small morning rain shower.  We had some rain, and amazing sunrise and double rainbows all at one time.


Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.


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