Friday, February 19, 2016

Tanzania, Africa - Day 6 - Migration, Lion Cub, Gazelle, Wildebeest and more

Day 6 of our safari started off great, with an early morning call home for many of us. We got up early and for the first time, we had reasonably good WiFi at the lodge. Many of us made FaceTime calls with our families to see each other for the first time in a while. It was rather comical and we all traded hellos to each other's family members.

After our video calls and another excellent breakfast, we were off to photograph more wildlife.

As we drove out towards the water, we saw this large group of Wildebeest trying to make their way across the lake.

It was pretty funny as we watched the lead animal get about half way across and then realize it was too deep.

It turned around and all the others followed it back to the same shore where they started. It should be mentioned, that they could have gone another 1/4 mile and walked around the water. But I guess that would require a little more logic and intelligence. :)

I like this photo because of the combination of the Wildebeest with their reflections, and the the two Giraffe in the background.

At this point, I figured that we all had enough "safe shots" of the Wildebeest and figured that this would be a good time to challenge the group with motion pan shots. 

Using my Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400mm lens, I rolled my ISO to 100 and kept the aperture at f/5.6. With the diffused morning light, this gave me a slow shutter speed of 1/13 sec. I then moved my lens at the exact same speed as the Wildebeest and shot a short burst of images.

Facing the other direction, away from the water, we saw this large group of Zebra. It was rare to see so many of them in one group, and not have them interspersed amongst the Wildebeest.

The soft morning light was perfect on this lone Giraffe, which was hanging out by the water. 

We were up on a small hill which helped me to get a shot of the Giraffe with it's head not in the sky.

We drove past the same spot where we had seen the Bat Eared Fox the day before, and once again, they were there.

Ahhh...too cute. Another Dik Dik hanging out.

This funny looking creature is called a Hartebeest.

We were driving along the waters edge when I saw this group of Zebra. I asked Sam, our driver, to stop in a position where we could get a reflection shot. I was taking photos of the two Zebra drinking when the other two came down and joined in. The four of them created a perfect grouping, with a really nice reflection below them. Another favorite from the trip.

This Gazelle was also standing in the water, just far enough to give me a nice reflection shot. OK, I would have been happier if it was another foot or two out so that I would have a better reflection of it's head, but you can't have it all.

After driving around for a while, we came across another pride of lion, including this large male.

The female lion and cubs were all taking a nap.

At this point, we returned to Ndutu Lodge for some lunch and a quick nap of our own. To be honest, I almost never nap, and usually take the time to download, organize and edit photos. There were a whole bunch of wildlife in front of our rooms, and I could not help but keep taking photos. Hey, it's a passion!

After a couple hours at the lodge, we took off in the Land Cruisers once again. All of us loved the Masked Weaver, with it's amazing colors. We were searching for a nice shot of this bird, when we came across this little guy hanging out on a local Acacia tree.

And then almost immediately, we saw this male Grant's Gazelle.

He was guarding his large group of female mates from another male that was encroaching.

This Long Crested Eagle looked really majestic.

Towards the end of the day, we saw this pride of lion with the youngest cubs that we had seen yet.

This time, a yawn from one of the little ones.

It was fun to watch the little ones interact with each other.

I don't think this shy cub wanted his photo taken.

The pride consisted of 4 cubs and 2 adult female lions. Not too far from where they were laying down, there was a freshly killed Wildebeest.

A couple of nearby vultures were eyeing the Wildebeest and made a move to grab some lunch for themselves. Upon seeing this, two of the lion cub made their way over to their catch and guarded it.

They did their best to start eating, but the cubs were not strong enough to tear open the tough skin of their prey. They would have to wait for one of the adults to assist with that.

But that did not stop the cubs from trying to get an early dinner.

Stay tuned for the blog of Day 7 and more.

And, for those of you who missed this amazing opportunity, we are going to do this amazing safari again next year...check out the site HERE to sign up for the 2017 trip! We have a limit of 12 people.


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