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.

2024-01-28: Infrared Landscapes

Now that I have moved my editing back to Lightroom, I’ve rediscovered quite a few images that I had flagged in my quick collection as ones I wanted to edit, from my trip to South Africa in 2019. The first four images are from that trip, and the last three from my recent trip to Zimbabwe in 2022.

While a lot of time has passed since 2019, I didn’t spend much of it on photography during the Covid years, as I was otherwise occupied in graduate school (during my free time from work) and when I did have time for photos, I was exploring using Capture One during that time period.

Coming back to Lightroom feels both familiar and very different at the same time, and I definitely need to spend some time relearning the familiar tools, and learning about all that has been added in the intervening time. I felt a sense of accomplishment working through these images and only completing the edits within Lightroom, not moving on to familiar plugins available in Photoshop.

All of these images were shot as long exposures around midday or early afternoon, using an infrared filter and then converted to black and white. It is something I want to work on more as I really enjoy the look of the shockingly bright foliage and inky skies.

The Sand River. South Africa, May 2019.
Lion Sands Tinga Lodge. South Africa, May 2019.
I recall exactly where I took this image, on an elevated walkway path between my room and the next over, while staying at Tinga Lodge. While its just some random trees and bushes, it showcases what I really love about the long exposure infrared images, with the bright fluffy grasses and leaves, and the deep black of the tree trunks and inky sky. Tinga Lodge, South Africa. May, 2019.
The Sand River from the deck of Tinga Lodge. South Africa, May, 2019.
These bright clear skies around lunchtime were long gone by dinner. Hwange, Zimbabwe. November 2022.
Clouds building. Hwange. Zimbabwe, November 2022.
Those clouds were part of a huge storm the ripped through Hwange. We had to abandon our afternoon game drive and barely got back to the lodge before the skies opened up. Zimbabwe, November, 2022.

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.

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

2023-11-26: 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.

2023-09-24: Madikwe Sunset

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.

Sunset in Madikwe. South Africa, November 2022.

2023-09-10: Elephants in Silhouette

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.

2023-07-23: Brewing Storms

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.

A storm in the distance; seen whilst staying at Jaci’s in Madikwe. November, 2022.
Clouds closing in over a dam in Madikwe. November, 2022.
Interesting cloud formations seen whilst on a evening river cruise from Tsowa Safari Island in Zambezi National Park. Zimbabwe, November 2022.
error: Content is protected !!