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.
These images caught my eye while I was trying to decide what to work on this week. I do love a dramatic sky, and while the rainstorms I can do without, the clouds at sunset are beautiful watch, as the colours change moment to moment.
Tsowa Safari Island was a beautiful place to stay in the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe. Getting there involved a game drive through the park, with some dramatic views of the river valley, and then arriving at a boat launch and transferring to a small craft for a short crossing to the island. The afternoon we arrived, we set out for a sundowner birdwatching cruise. While not a traditionally good time of day or direction for photos, I love seeing the sun peaking through the fluffy clouds.
During my recent tour in southern Africa, we headed out for a morning of birding, and started the day walking along the edge of Zambezi River. We were a few kilometres upstream of Victoria Falls, where the water was flowing at leisurely pace and we could safely walk along the rocky bank. While most of the group was focused on trying to find new birds, or spotting birds on distance sand bars and tree branches, I was enjoying the beauty of the sunrise and the rapidly changing colours in the sky. When we finished along the edge of the river, we returned to our vehicles for a picnic breakfast before a leisurely drive around some of the birding sites in Victoria Falls.