Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Our African Safari - Day Three (Lion cubs, Zebras, Elephants and more inside the Ngorongoro Crater)

Our third day on safari was an amazing one, experiencing some really great photo opportunities. It was our second and final day in the Ngorongoro crater, so we got up nice and early to catch the good morning light. This meant that we got our wake up call (one of the Maasai tribes members quietly saying hello from outside our luxury tents). We also got to experience our second chance at talking showers (the Maasai putting a ladder behind our tent and pouring perfectly hot water into a bladder to fill our shower water, and then telling us that we were ready for our shower).  I love this!!!

Once we were up and had a nice omelet breakfast, we headed down into the crater.

As we were driving down into the crater, I saw this lone gazelle up on the crest of the hillside, with nice morning light shining on him. I asked Sam, our driver, to stop at this vantage point so that we could get a shot of this animal with the distant mountains far in the background. I took this photo with the Canon 1DX Mark II and Canon 200-400mm lens at 560mm (using the built in teleconverter). I used the best aperture I could (f/5.6) to create separation between the gazelle and the background.

Not long after the gazelle photo, we spotted a pack of lions with cubs. We were all VERY excited to see these youngsters!!

Aren't they just the cutest things ever?

This is one of my favorite photos of the mothers and cubs, mostly because the cub is in the same stance as the lioness.

Once I got the shots of the adult lions and cubs, I then zoomed in tighter to get these isolated shots of the little guys.

They walked right behind our vehicle as we all snapped away.

They walked from our right to our left, which meant that they went from the good front lighting, to being back lit. But that was not going to stop us from shooting. The rim light really worked well on the cubs.

As they walked away from us, we watched as the mother lioness kept a watchful eye on each of the cubs.

We continued our drive around the crater and saw this mother and baby zebra loving each other.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Another "too cute" moment. I guess this loving photo is appropriate for today (Valentines Day).

We saw a small herd of elephants off in the distance and decided to stop our vehicle and wait to see if they would walk towards us. I fired off this photo to show you the size of the elephant as compared to the zebra. It is amazing how the elephant dwarfs the zebras even though the elephant is farther in the background.

Our waiting paid off, as the elephants made their way closer to us. Seeing these massive beasts up close is indescribable.

At one point, the four elephants all came together and I was telling everyone "shoot this grouping!" as they lined up so perfectly.

We drove forward another 100 feet to try and get directly in front of the elephant. It was awesome!!!!

They came right for us.

Click the image above to watch the video
Here is a quick video clip to show you just how close you get to the animals in Africa.

Later we stopped at a bathroom spot and saw this elephant hanging out in the mud. Gregg, one of our workshop attendees, had fun photographing from outside the vehicle (as we all did).

I love the look of the Grey-crowned Crane, but especially liked getting this photo of the two birds criss crossing each other in nearly perfect symmetry.

This one crane looked up at me as I was shooting tight photos. I love the look!

This is a tighter crop of the same photo, giving you a better view of the crane's face.

The day ended with us showing up to our next tent lodge just in time for a short hike up a hillside to watch the sunset. The sunset was not very interesting, but I liked this view back towards our lodge. Then we were off for a lovely 4 course dinner and some time to relax and recharge for the next day.

And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post.
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.

1 comment:

GreggS said...

Between going through my images and Mike's posts along with your blog, it is great to relive a fantastic time! Thanks for sharing our adventure.