Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tanzania, Africa - Lions and Leopards in trees

I have been here in Tanzania for a month now and tomorrow is my last day here in Africa until I return in August. This was my third and fourth safari photo tours here in the country and it never ceases to amaze me how each safari is so different from the other. In my previous safaris I had never seen a big cat perched in a tree, but this was something I always wanted to see.

As I said, things are ever changing here in Africa, and over the past 3 weeks of safari (with a one week break in Zanzibar) I have seen many lions and leopards perched in trees.

I am excited to share some of these photos with you now.


One of our guides found this leopard hanging out in a tree. There were some branches in the way, so I could not get a clean shot.

Unlike many people who come on safari and want to go from one siting to another, we decided to wait a little to see if the leopard would come down from the tree.


Our guide, David, predicted that the cat would come down fairly quickly and he was right.  I was excited to get this clean shot on the cat's exit.


At one point we came across a large family of lions who were sleeping in the grass. Once again, we stayed with the lions as they moved from one location to another. This one lioness rewarded us with a climb in the tree that was right to the left of our vehicle. Using my Canon 1D X Mark II and the Canon 200-400mm lens, I framed this photo of her making sure to include a little bit of the acacia trees in the background.


I also grabbed my Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 24-105mm lens to get an ever wider shot. I love them both and can't decide which is better. Your thoughts?


We were having fun taking photos of the one lioness in the tree to our left when all the other family members started climbing a tree to our right. As you can see here, we witnessed 9 lions in this tree at a time!! Even our guide has never seen so many lions in a tree. The lighting was not ideal, but the plethora of lions made the photo.


I know...this isn't lions in a tree, but these three were walking down the road towards this tree, and I loved the composition, so it makes it here in the blog.


Here is yet another lioness in a tree. The sun was shining and throwing harsh light and shadows on the cat. I decided to use my Canon 600 EX-RT flash to try and demonstrate how a flash can throw light a long distance and help mitigate shadows.


A couple of days later, we found this lioness lounging in a tree. This time, it was overcast and the light was perfect. We saw these giraffe coming into the background and waited for this moment to start shooting.


I was shooting images of this lion when I saw her start to yawn. I always fire off a lot of shots when the cats yawn, since it looks so ominous. Most people think that these images show an animal that is mad or aggressive, but most of the time this is not the case. Either way, it makes for some dramatic images.

We saw so much wildlife over the last month that I look forward to sharing more images with you in the weeks to come.

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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Dolphin watching off the coast of Zanzibar

Yesterday was my last full day on the island of Zanzibar, and I decided to go on a dolphin watching tour early in the morning. We left the resort early in the morning and headed for the fishing area where we would launch our small boat.


Upon arriving at the fishing area, I was amazed by the amount of fishing boats that were finishing their day and beached during the low tide.


Up on the beach, all the fishermen were showing off their catch and selling their goods.


These guys work really hard!


I saw this guy hauling this motor with one hand and carrying a gas can with the other. I don't know about you, but I couldn't do this, and especially as care-free as this guy!


As we made our way out to look for dolphins, we did see fishermen who were still out gathering their catch.


I was using the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 100-400mm II lens, which allowed me to zoom in and get some tight shots of the fisherman working their nets.


After cruising for about 40 minutes, we came across a small pod of bottle-nosed dolphins. Since these are my favorite animals, I was excited to see them up close and personal (in the wild) for only the third time in my life.


They are such graceful and beautiful animals.


We were so close to the dolphins that I switched to my Canon 24-105mm lens. I also had my Tiffen HT Circular Polarizing filter on the lens to cut the glare on the water.


After getting some nice shots of the dolphins of the surface of the water, I also jumped into the water to join them on their swim three or four times. Seeing these marine mammals in their home environment was just amazing. Yet another experience I will never forget.

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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
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Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

My first time on the island of Zanzibar

After completing the 2 week safari with our first group of guests, Mike and I flew to the island of Zanzibar for 5 nights of rest and relaxation. I had no idea what to expect from this location, which is located about 25 miles off the coast of mainland Tanzania and in the Indian Ocean.

After the 90 minute domestic flight from Arusha to Zanzibar, we had an hour drive to our resort. We arrived and I was immediately impressed with the Breezes Beach Club & Spa.


This was going to be almost a week of luxury for us


It is very hot here, with temperatures in the 90s (F) and with a lot of humidity in the air. Being from Northern California, I am not used to this weather. But due to the fact that most of the US is in freezing temperatures right now, I am not complaining. The pool has been my best friend for most of the stay.

Yesterday, we took a tour of the old Stone Town, which is the center of the trade here on the island.


There is a meat market...


...a spice market...


...fruits and vegetables...


...and a fish market.

I did bring the new DJI Osmo Pocket camera to capture video, and have some fun video of the market. I will edit this and post when I get home.


Outside the market, we saw these guys who were selling beds. As it turns out, the more luxurious the bed they own, the more attractive they are to their potential spouse. It shows the level of their wealth.


Walking through the old stone town, I saw this young man selling nuts. Even though I have seen many people transporting things on their heads for the last couple of weeks, this ability still amazes me.


Since this island was originally in Arabic control, there is a high population of Muslim people here.


We went to the top of a hotel to get some photos of the old town from above.




This shows what is left from the old fort.

I should mention that, at this point, I put on my Tiffen HT Circular Polarizing filter on the Canon 24-105mm lens. You can see how the polarization helps pop the colors and cut through the glare in the water. All these images were shot with my Canon 5D Mark IV since it is much easier to carry this camera around town as compared to the Canon 1D X Mark II.


I saw these guys repairing boats and thought it would make for a nice shot. I especially love them watching the fisherman in the background.



This morning, I woke up and decided to go for a 4 mile walk on the beach, before it got too hot. All I took was my iPhone X, but saw this scene and wanted to capture a shot. In order to polarize this shot, I held my polarized sunglasses in front of the iPhone camera and voila!

Oh wait...one more thing happened here in Zanzibar! After three weeks, I really needed my beard and hair to be trimmed. We asked our guide if he could help out this and... ta da!


Tomorrow I am going on a dolphin tour and hoping to capture some images of my favorite animal in the wild. The following day, Mike and I fly back to Arusha to start our next 2 week safari in Terengire, Ngorogoro, Ndutu and Serengeti. 

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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Monday, January 28, 2019

You won't believe the camera and settings for this photo!

Yesterday was our last day of the first photo tour here in Tanzania. As we always do before people fly out, we stop at a lodge near the airport so that everyone can take a shower, change and be totally fresh before the long flight home. Mike (the owner of M&M Photo Tours) and I were staying over and did not need day rooms, so we stayed in the restaurant area.

There was this little girl who kept running over to us and being adorable, like many 19 month olds. I saw her leaning over our table with perfect light on her face, and I thought "this would be a perfect place for a portrait". The problem was, all my camera gear was back in the safari vehicle.

I pulled out my iPhone X and switched to portrait mode (which I have not used much) and took this photo. Even I was blown away with the results.


I did not do any retouching of this photo in Photoshop. This is straight out of my iPhone. I guess this just goes to show you that, with the right light and pose, any camera can do the trick. But kudos to Apple for creating this feature.

I showed the image to her parents, who were also sitting in the same area, and they loved it. I got their email and sent it to them. Funny, here I am in Africa with $25k of gear and end up doing a really nice portrait with my phone. :)

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

The adorable baby animals in Africa

We are on our fifth day of our safari photo tour here in Tanzania, Africa and we have seen a ton of amazing wildlife. So far we have been lucky enough to see lots of young animals. So much so that I thought I would write a blog to show you some of the cute little creatures we have seen in just the first four days. And yes, we are now at my favorite lodge which has good a very good Internet signal, so I can get this out to all of you.


Seeing elephants in the wild is just incredible. Seeing the young elephants just melts hearts.


We were driving along in our caravan of Land Cruisers when we saw these tiny little Bat-Eared Fox who were playing in the grass.


At one of our rest stops, we noticed that there were a bunch of baby monkeys playing in the trees. All of our guests grabbed their cameras and went to work.

All of these images were captured with the Canon 1D X Mark II using both the Canon 200-400mm lens and Canon 100-400mm lens.


I was photographing the first baby monkey (that you saw above) when I looked directly up and saw this cute little thing looking down at me. I think he was really checking out the camera equipment.


Before heading up to the Ngorogoro Crater, our drivers had to check in with the park officials. I knew that this stopping point was a haven for baboons (who like to raid the vehicles for food). We saw this baby baboon, got down low to capture photos of this cute little guy at his eye level. And yes, he is obviously a male. :)


I couldn't decide which baby baboon photo I liked the best, so I am including both for you all.


We woke up yesterday morning and headed down into the crater. One of the first sitings was a large group of zebras (who are currently walking around outside my luxury tent right now). We saw this youngster nursing and we all smiled as we captured the moment.


We were driving around when one of our guests spotted these two little jackals. Oh my goodness, they are too darned cute.


This was probably the most incredible moment from yesterday's safari in the crater. This tiny wildebeest had been born maybe 15 minutes before we came across this family. It was just learning to stand and walk. You can see that the umbilical cord is still attached. Amazingly enough, just five minutes after this, this newborn was running with the rest of the pack!


Another baby baboon, also nursing .


This photo was taken about 2 hours ago, in the Ndutu area of Tanzania (which also happens to be my favorite location in the country).  We found this young cheetah and its mother lounging in the grass. I know that this was a highlight for many of the guests, because it was the main topic at today's lunch.

I need to run now, as our afternoon safari is about to begin.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Monday, January 14, 2019

On my way to Tanzania - The challenge of packing for Africa

Packing for an African safari is always a challenge for photographers and photo enthusiasts. We do not want to end up in Africa with too little or too much gear. We need to have more than one camera, both as a backup in case one fails, but also to keep one camera with a wide lens and one with a long zoom lens. Changing lenses when on a dusty safari is not optimal for keeping a clean sensor.

I am bringing two camera bodies (Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV) and a fair amount of lenses and accessories. I packed all camera gear into my larger ThinkTank Airport Security 3 rolling bag a couple of days ago (after returning from Las Vegas) and then yesterday decided to repack into my smaller ThinkTank Streetwalker Rolling backpack.


As you can see, I packed both cameras, a Canon 24-105mm lens, a Canon 100-400mm lens and a bunch of accessories into my rolling backpack. I decided to hand carry the Canon 200-400mm lens with me outside the pack, saving room for all the other goodies. Unlike our guests who can pack just what they need, I bring extra memory cards, card readers, filters, backup devices, and a sensor cleaner in case our guests need assistance.

I am in Tanzania for the next month leading two photo tours, and for the first time we will have many guests using the Canon 200-400mm zoom lens. Thank you to Canon's CPS who provides free loaner cameras and lenses to my guests!!!

This morning I got up at 5am and made it to San Francisco International Airport by 6:15am. I am currently on the first leg of my long flight to Africa. I am happy to have one of my favorite couples on board who went with me to Costa Rica and are joining us in Tanzania for the next couple of weeks. Glenn was able to pack his two camera bodies, the 200-400mm lens and the 100-400mm lens all in his Thinktank backpack. Pretty impressive.

I may not be able to blog much for the next two weeks since the Internet access in Tanzania is not that fast and writing time is limited. I do plan to post daily images to my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, so check there to see what we are seeing each day.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Sunday, January 13, 2019

A CES recap - and a slightly scary look into our future?

I just got back from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and I have had a couple of days to process everything that I saw there. I also took my 21 year old daughter with me, so it was interesting to get her perspective as well.

Let me start by saying that I have always liked the CES show since I am a gadget guy at heart. I could do without the large crowds, endless lines, and being charged double prices for everything at Starbucks in the hotel, but I guess that is part of the experience.


This year, like most other years, the big electronics companies were showing off their bigger and higher resolution televisions. Just when people are getting familiar with 4K TVs, all the big companies were showing their upcoming 8K screens. And along with those new higher resolution sets, they were also showing off the OLED technology. The video above shows what I felt was the most impressive booth at the show, with LG proudly displaying this mass of OLED screens. Click on the video above to get the full experience.


Canon was not showing off any new DSLR or mirrorless cameras, but did have this Canon EOS R and Canon RF 28-70mm lens laser-cut in half. That was pretty cool to see.

What made this year slightly different for me was that I left that show without seeing one thing that I just had to have. In past years, I always came across at least one cool new piece of technology that had me drooling.

What I found most interesting about this year's show was the abundance of products being designed because the technology exists, not so much that we all need it. Let me explain that a little bit. We saw all types of appliances for the home which had integrated high-def screens and voice commands. We saw pet feeders which allow you to communicate and reward your pet from afar. There were wearable devices for just about everything, some interesting and some just ridiculous. But, as my friend Steve Wozniak says, "products should be designed because we need them, not just because they can be built."


Walking around the South Hall of the show, we came across this prototype of a flying car, and everyone was stopping to look at the vehicle and watch the company's video. It wasn't until we walked away that my daughter turned to me and said "Isn't that basically the helicopter that we already have today?" And she was exactly right.

I took my daughter into the North Hall so that she could see all the automobile exhibits. Amazingly, what used to be a large and loud hall full of car audio and car navigation systems was now a quiet hall full of technology for autonomous driving.

We saw lots and lots of autonomous vehicles that were more like pods than cars, and each of them promising the driverless experience with large screens surrounding the inside of the vehicle. As I looked into these, I thought "I guess people will spend even more time in front of screens in the future and never again look outside a car window." That scares me a bit.

All in all, the show was interesting, but left me wondering what percentage of these product concepts would hit the market and stick. I guess only time will tell.

Oh, and speaking of technology, I took all the photos and videos that you see here with the tiny little DJI Osmo Pocket. This is a pretty cool little toy that I will be taking with me to Africa tomorrow. As we walked back to our hotel on the last day of the show, I saw this reflection shot, raised the Osmo over the wall and grabbed this shot. Not too shabby for a tiny little thing.


If you were one of the 200,000 people at the CES show, I would love to know your thoughts about what you saw.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________