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This Leopard image was captured on the farm Buffelshoek in the Sabi Sands……
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I am sure, that you will from a Photographic point of view find this a really boring post. I know some of my Photography friends will wonder if I went mad posting these images? I can also imagine their justified comments on the sharpness and quality of the images etc.
This post, however is true to my reason for doing Nature Photography and for bothering with this blog at all. As a conservationist, I want to capture the amazing images of Nature and share it, so this capture of the insect egology at play, is to me very much part of that rationale.
I am not a ‘Micro’ photographer, so these images are a function of me lying flat on my stomach about 2 to 4 meters away from the subject using the shortest lens I had available at the time, a 70 -200 mm hooked up to a Nikon D300. My repertoire of Photgraphic skills were even more limited then than now, but I think I captured the story.
This is a sequence of images that depicts the process of a Dung-Beetle pair that burries the ball of mostly Elephant dung under the ground. They roll this dung ball until they find a peace of soft soil, unfortunatly right on the road this time, and the male then disappears under the ball and then starts to dig a deep hole under the dung ball.
Synchronized by the instinct of Nature, this is a team effort, as while the male dig the hole, the female feverously tap the top of the dung ball to compact it before it disappears under the ground. She will then move inside the dung ball and lay her eggs. The resultant larvae will eat its way out of the ball later for the cycle of new Dung-Beetles to start. They will aparently burry up to three balls of dung on top of each other at times. What is further significant in terms of the ecology of this, is the fact that in the full cycle of this event, there will be significant chemicals released into the soil that will also contribute to the process of new grass growing on the veld.
These images were captured during December 2008 as part of a visit to the Dulini (& Beyond) Lodge in Sabi Sands, next to the Kruger National Park.
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Etosha Elephant Silhouette
Some more Etosha 2013 (non bird) images. Nature Photography of the animals in Etosha invariably takes place around waterholes, but sometimes there are images to capture on the plains too. The Etosha Pans as a backdrop at sunset reminds your soul that you are in the African bush again. There is nothing spectacular about the gallary of images in this post, however for me looking at them reminds me of exciting photography moments and of soul feeding time in the Etosha Nature Reserve in Namibia.
It also reminds me of being in the presence of Nature and the bush, of sitting around the fire after an exciting day of capturing images of the African bush, while enjoying the company of like minded photographers and friends while tasting a thirst quenching cocktail before dinner. I guess I am talking about those moments when you stare into the fire while you let your soul take in the amazing night sounds of nature, and you feel fortunate, satisfied and at peace.
It is clearly time for me to get to the Bush!
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Please click on Image to enlarge….
As we arrived one morning at the Chudob waterhole in Etosha (2013), we found a Kudu Bull that was trapped in the water by a large clan of Hyaenas.
It was an intense scene filled with high drama in the air as close on 18 Hyaenas dispersed in the area, were keeping a large Kudu Bull captive in the water. The Kudu bull was clearly exhausted and traumatised by the predators lurking at the waters edge. For some reason the Hyaenas would not enter the water although the Kudu seemed quite close to the edge of the waterhole at times. With it standing knee deep in the water for a long time, musscles cold and clearly frozen with fear, the Kudu was in obvious discomfort. It was constantly looking around for a possible escape route. Eventually the Kudu Bull made an attempt to get away and for a bief moment it seemed that it was going to make it. We all thought that the Kudu was home and dry, but it was now time for the next act in this harsh and yet captivating drama that nature was presenting us. One Hyaena gave chase, with some of the others following.
While most of the Hyaenas gave up the chase quickly, the chief chaser came very close to grabbing the Kudu on the inside of his legs and at this point the Kudu decided it was safer to just go back into the water. Two of the Hyaenas followed for a few meters, then turned back to shore. How could the Kudu do this, we wondered? We were all amazed at how the Kudu almost got away. With the Kudu now back in the water and behind the reeds in the middle of the waterhole we lost sight of most of him and could just make out his horns behind the reeds. It was probably another hour that passed with the Hyaenas again staying close to the edge of the water with their eyes focused on the Kudu. Some of the Hyaenas started moving away from the waterhole towards the bushes in the distance. The stage was filled with other actors in the form of Black faced Impala, Giraffe, Guineafowl and Zebra….
Nature then provided the final act of this amazing play, when a large amout of clearly very thirsty Zebras came to drink at the waterhole with the ever present Hyaenas still hanging around. Every now and then the Zebras would be spooked by the activities of the Hyaenas and would scatter from the edge of the water, just to return to drink. The other characters, except the Giraffe would also scatter to add to the unfolding drama. Their role was to nervously watch developments closely. The clearly traumatised Kudu must have also been watching these new developments with the drinking and scattering Zebras.
It was then, coinciding with one of these spooked and scattering Zebra incidents, that the Kudu instictively decided to take advantage of the confusion caused by the Zebras, and slowly appeared from behind the reeds and casually walked out of the waterhole to exit amongst the Zebras, whom at this stage was already returning to drink again. What an ingenious move and clever escape. There was lots of Guinea Fowl and Zebra noise and then it was all over with the Kudu briefly standing still on dry ground for the water to drip from his body and then casually walking away. Then almost as if nothing has happened, harmony returned to the Chudob waterhole and the stage was set for another of Natures theatre productions.
It was a truly wonderful experience to witness the scenes playing out in front of our lenses for the best part of two to three hours of intense drama. Needless to say the adrenalin was pumpimg all around with camera equipment selection, setting adjustments and capturing with short and long lenses, while there was ample verbal excitment from a fully entertained human audience.
After the shoot that lasted hours, we left the waterhole that morning phisically and mentally drained but totally satisfied and with our souls very much enriched. Personally I felt privileged and fortunate to have witnessed an amazing and spectacular play filled with amazing characters, brilliantly presented and produced by Natures Theatre…..
Please click on the images below and follow this spectacular play in still images……
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Here are some more images of my favourite Leopard. As mentioned in previous posts she entertained us for hours in the Botswana Okavango Delta bush during our stay at the & Beyond, Sandibe Lodge. These were captured in August 2011 and to this day I can see her right in front of us when I close my eyes. Hunting inquisitively and posing in between focused efforts to find prey. As she constantly searched the area with all her senses, using every tree as a vantage point she became one with her environment.
On this particular game drive, we were out looking for what the & Beyond Game guide said was a positive Cheetah sighting the day before. It was getting late in the morning, and I saw her in the far distance as she came off a Termite mound. She was hungry and was positively in hunting mode. She first tried to catch a Cape Fox (Image included), then went for none less than a Honey Badger with a pup, and after that stalked some impala. With no hunting success she evantually relaxed on a tree branch and then dissappeared into the thick bush where we lost sight of her. If you have ever ran a marathon you will recognise that ‘glow’ that your body experiences for a good few hours or days after the race. Well after this shoot I felt like I had run a marathon with my soul. It is moments like this that feeds my passion for Nature Photography.
In the next weeks I will post more images from this trip to the Okavango Delta Bush.
As allways please let me know what you think by leaving a comment
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Please click on Images to enlarge!
If you have visited my blog before you will notice that I have made some changes.