Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Botswana Photo Tour - Our last day, and what a day of photography it was!

We woke up at our customary 5:30am time, ate breakfast and bundled up for the cold morning game drive. It was our last full day in Botswana and we hoped for one last productive day of photography in this amazing country.

Our first sighting was a large pack of elephant.


We watched (and photographed of course) as this one elephant sprayed itself with dirt.


This is not an uncommon sight, as the elephants can actually get sunburned. They cover themselves with dirt to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun.


As you may know by now, I am sucker for the baby animals and loved photographing these large females with the youngsters.




Then it was time to motion pan these elephants...



How can you not love these little ones?


One of the things that I teach the guests when on safari, is to shoot wide shots to include the environment. I loved the trees and cloudy sky behind the herd and felt that it would make a nice composition.


We saw these animals running through the water, one after another. I followed this one as it jammed through the marsh.


Once I knew that I had a nice "safe shot" of these guys running across the frame, I decided to slow the shutter speed down again and try for one last motion pan shot, and I am glad that I did. I changed the camera settings to ISO 100 and f/22 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/25 sec. As I was panning along with this guy, he jumped over a puddle and I was thrilled to capture him mid jump.

Our last stop was to another water hole occupied with hippo. Steve (our guide) said that it was safe to get outside the vehicle.


A couple of us got down on the ground and shot images low to the water, which created much more dynamic images than shooting high over these beasts.


I was laying down on the dirt and had the Canon 1D X Mark II with the Canon 100-400mm lens resting on a rock in front of me.  It was so awesome to photograph these active hippo at their level!


Those are some teeth!


This hippo looks a little nicer than the last one.


I saw this one hippo flipping his head around and trained my camera on him, hoping for more action. Just as I moved my camera and locked focus on this hippo, it flipped it's head high and splashed the water in a nice arc.


Steve and I were shooting side-by-side on the dirt, about 60 feet from the hippos when this one decided to charge forwards at us. I shot off 4 or 5 images before I bolted to my feet and prepared to jump back in the vehicle. This was the last shot I took before I chickened out. I stepped onto the vehicle, looked down and saw Steve still laying down shooting. He told us that the hippo would not charge us since we were not invading their space in the water. But, hey, I didn't know that, and this shot was good enough for me. :)

I hope you all enjoyed the blogs from this 5 week trip to Africa.

We have a bunch more trips coming up (most are sold out, but we have more coming that are not announced yet). Come with us to see all this for yourself!


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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, August 13, 2018

Botswana Photo Tour - Our second to last day on safari

After being in Africa for almost 5 weeks, we were in the final days of our trip. But the best was yet to come...


Our morning started with us stalking this cheetah as it moved through the brush near our camp. I just love the look of these cats and could photograph them all day. But this cat had other things in mind and gave us the slip pretty quickly.


Even though we had seen many zebra on our trip(s), this group was near the edge of the road, with a nice background and in really nice light, so we stopped for some photos.


Once we got back to our campsite, I decided to convert one of the zebra shots into a high key black & white photo. I used SilverEfex Pro for the conversion and really like this. I will likely print this and hang it in my office.


We saw these two wart hogs and I laughed at their manes. I don't remember ever seeing hogs with this much hair. I don't know why, but this reminded me a little of Donald Trump's hair.


We went back to our camp for lunch, and while there, we heard some elephants nearby. I walked around the back of my tent and saw some elephants grazing. A couple of us ran back, grabbed our cameras and took some photos. We walked pretty close to them, but not too close.


After lunch, we were back in the vehicle for another game drive. We saw a couple of large groups of African buffalo. At one point, I saw these three standing close together and quickly shot off a handful of photos. I laughed as I was looking through the camera, as the proximity of the three buffalo look like one really large animal.


This is one of my favorite photos from my African safaris, partly because of the image itself and partly because of the story behind the photo. Let me explain.

As many of you know, I love taking motion pan photos (setting a slow shutter speed and moving the lens at the same speed as the moving subject). We were driving up to a water hole when our guide, Steve, spotted a large group of hippo on the shoreline. Knowing their behavior, he told us that they would spook and all run for the water when we drove up close to them. Before he continued driving, I encouraged everyone to change their cameras to shutter priority with a shutter speed in the area of 1/40 sec.

Steve drove up to the hippos at a pretty good pace, and as expected, they started running for the water. They were moving quickly as Steve did his best to get us close for the shot. We had to wait for him to hit the brakes and stop the vehicle completely before trying to pan with the animals. I think we had no more than 5 seconds to grab our shots of the last hippos entering the water.

I was able to pan at the right speed to get the middle hippo tack sharp with motion everywhere else. As you can see from the image, the slow shutter shows the movement of the water really well. It was a great challenge with a nice resulting image too.


We saw some more hippos in the another nearby pool, and I loved this one with LOTS of ox peckers on it's back.


One of the hippo lifted it's head high and splashed water into the air. I thought that this would be one of my favorite hippo action shots, but I did not know what was in store for me the next day.


The sun was setting, and we headed back towards our campsite. We drove up to these Lilac-breasted rollers who were warming themselves in the last minutes of sunset.


With colors like this, we could never get tired of photographing these little beauties.


The sun was almost completely down when we saw this herd in the distance. The animals had just run across the plains and kicked up some dust. This created a great environment for a back lit silhouette shot.


I was hoping for a nice sunset, and looking for an elephant or good tree to put in the foreground. Well...the sunset was not as vibrant as I had hoped it would be, and we didn't find a great foreground subject. Then I realized that we had the best foreground subjects in our vehicle. I asked each of the guests to hop out and let me get a silhouette shot of each of them. This was a shot of Pat wearing his trademark outback safari hat. And so another day had come and gone, with only one left before we flew home. But it was an epic one. Stay tuned!

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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, August 12, 2018

Botswana Photo Tour - Lions and their cubs crossing a river

It was fairly early in the morning as we came across a family of lion who were hanging out along a rivers edge. We were all excited to see the cubs and started taking photos right away. Our guide pulled up nice and close so that we could get some nice shots of the mothers and cubs interacting, and we were treated to some great playful moments.



I was taking photos of the female with the one playing cub when the adult female turned around to check on one of her other cubs. It was great morning sunlight on their faces and I thought I had the best shot of the morning...


...but as I kept shooting with my Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 100-400mm lens, mom decided to grab onto the tail of the oncoming cub, while the other cub looked with this great expression. This is one of my favorite photos from the Botswana trip.


We sat there photographing the cubs for a while, when all of a sudden, they all started moving towards the water.


I have seen many lions in Africa, but never seen them in the water. I watched as this cub prepared to jump across a small stream of water.


I waited for the jump and fired off a couple of shots.


The large female crossed the larger flowing river and waited to make sure that each of the cubs would successfully make their way from one side to the other.


You can see the one cub climbing up the rivers edge as mom watched on. Our guide told us that the adults were concerned about crocodiles in the water.


These little cubs were so cute.


I watched as this one cub walked towards the flowing river and reminded our guests to shoot wide and include the great reflection in the water.


Many of the other lions came over and joined the one cub, giving us an even better reflection shot. All of us were excited to photograph this scene.


We were driving back to our lodge when our guide spotted this owl in one of the nearby trees. We were happy to get a nice shot of the owl in really nice light.


At the end of the day, we had a sundowner at the edge of this water hole filled with hippos. It was fun to photograph the sunset with the camera in one hand and a cold gin and tonic in the other hand.


After our sundowner, we packed up the vehicles and made our way back towards our lodge. On the drive back, we saw a couple of male lions hanging out.


I reminded our group to increase the ISO of their cameras, since the sun had already set and we did not have a lot of light to work with. Even though we were shooting at ISOs of 6400 or more, the photos came out nicely.


As always, we waited to see if either of the males would yawn, giving us this type of shot. As if on command, this one male did just that. Another great ending to yet another amazing day in Botswana!

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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.
__________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Botswana Photo Tour - Lots of elephants, wild dogs, lions cubs and a doors-off helicopter ride!

We woke up early (5:30am) on this particular morning in Botswana, ate some breakfast and then headed out to catch the first light of the morning. It was no more than 10 minutes after leaving the lodge that we drove up on a herd of elephant.


It was just before sunrise, which gave us enough light to get these photos. We set our cameras to ISO 1000 and started having our first fun of the day.


Not a bad way to start our day!


I started the day using the Canon 1D X Mark II camera with the Canon 100-400mm lens. I love this lens since it lets me shoot wide shots and tight shots like the one below.


This one female made sure to let us know that she was in charge.


We even got a little trunk curling to photograph.


I was shooting images and video of the elephants when I noticed the first rays of sunlight hitting them. I turned in the vehicle to see the sun rising to the elephant's left. I quickly reframed to see if I could get a cool sunrise silhouette shot.


This happened so fast that I barely had time to change camera settings. I kept the ISO at 1000 and aperture at f/5 and just changed the exposure compensation to -.7. I could have gone down lower on the exposure compensation, but it still worked just fine. This is one photo I have wanted for a long time, made especially nice with the baby elephant at the front.


When this big female elephant walked to my right, I got low in the vehicle to put the sun just rising over her back and got this photo. Another favorite of mine.


About a half hour after photographing the elephants, our guides spotted a small pack of wild dog. These are not easy to find in Africa, and this was my first time seeing these animals.


Just like me, this yawn shows that they were having trouble waking up at this early hour.


As we were driving around looking for more wildlife, our driver got a call from our other vehicle. They had spotted some female lions and cubs! We hurried over to their position to see this family. As we approached, this mother and cub stood up and looked out into the distance. So beautiful.


Mom laid back down while one of her cubs climbed up on her.


After photographing the lions sprawled out at the base of the tree, our guide pulled around so that we could get a head-on shot of the cats. At the same time, this cub climbed on top of this termite mound to get a better look at the surroundings.


We sat there for a while and had fun photographing the cubs as they played around.



Seeing these cute little cubs was the perfect ending to our morning of photography.


After capturing these images, we went back to the lodge for some lunch and prepared for our doors-off helicopter ride over the countryside.


As we were finishing our lunch, we could hear the sound of rotor blades in the distance. That meant that our ride was coming.



We took off from the grass area in front of our lodge and saw lots of wildlife below us. I decided to take this ride with just my Canon 5D Mark IV camera and Canon 24-105mm lens.


I have flown in helicopters with the doors off before, and love this so much! I had to get a shot with my feet dangling off the side of the chopper.


We looked down on these hippos in the water.


This is a water hole with a lot of red algae. We had driven past it many times prior to the flight, and it was fun to see it from the air.



Our flight lasted for a little over an hour, and as we returned to our lodge, I asked the pilot if he could fly over our places. You can easily see the hippo trails to the water hole near the lodge. We heard them each night as we went to sleep.



Even though we had a full day of photography, I saw the clouds and wanted to get a nice sunset shot. One of our tour guests joined me in photographing the sunset.Using the Canon 5D Mark IV and 24-105mm lens,  I showed him how we could get a starburst from the setting sun by changing our cameras to a small aperture (f/22). Not a bad way to end our day in Botswana!

__________________________________________________________________________
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.
__________________________________________________________________________