Sunday, February 26, 2017

Our African Safari - Day Six (Lions, elephants, cheetahs, hippo, flamingos, and even a beautiful leopard siting!)

As you may recall, we ended Day 5 of our safari watching a lion kill a wildebeest, which not something that you see everyday in Tanzania. It is a matter of being at the right place at the right time. But amazingly, we started off our sixth day and almost saw a second kill.

It was just after sunrise when we spotted this lioness hanging out in the grass.

Within minutes of us arriving, she hopped up and starting stalking some nearby zebras.

Here, you can see her crouching down and walking slowly. (Photographer's note: I was using the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 200-400mm lens and had my ISO cranked up to 2500 for these photos. It was still early in the morning and there was not a ton of light outside. Even with this high ISO, I only had a shutter speed of 1/800, which is barely fast enough to capture fast moving action.)

Then she got down low and waited to for her opportunity. but as you can see from this photo, the nearest zebra could smell the lion and was ready to make a run for it.

And in a split second, the lioness jumped up and started the chase, but the closest zebra was ready to run!

Actually - the whole herd of zebras took off.

It was interesting to see that the lion failed to catch one of the zebra. I just assumed that the lions could catch whatever they wanted. But she did fail, and turned back towards us almost as if to say "I hope you did not get that in photos".

Once that excitement was over, we continued our morning safari and came across these pretty birds... (Photographer's note: Fifteen minutes had passed since we photographed the lion chasing the zebra and the sun had risen. I now lowered my ISO to 1250 to achieve the same shutter speed of 1/800 sec.)

...but not before running into our lioness once again. This time she had hopped up on a nearby tree to see if she could spot more potential prey.

And then we saw some more elephants. (Photographer's note: Now is was an hour later and late enough in the morning to have bright light. I was now back down to ISO 160.)

Here is one of the other vehicles in our group, watching from the other side of the elephant. Even though the vehicles hold 8 people, we only put 3 (and occasionally 4) per car so that everyone has lots of room to move around, and to have your camera gear accessible.

The elephant came very close to us, which allowed me to zoom in really tight (560mm) and get a shot of the elephant with these flowers in it's mouth.

A short time later we saw this family of cheetahs, and the cubs were having their morning breakfast, which turned out to be a small gazelle.

We looked out in the distance and saw the mother cheetah who had killed another gazelle for her and the cubs.

She came closer with the baby gazelle and then dropped it short of the feeding cubs.

She then walked over to the cubs to determine if they were ready for more food.

She then walked back to pick up the baby gazelle to bring over to the cubs.

At which point, they all took turns eating.

(I know that some of these photos are graphic, but it really is the circle of life and a natural occurrence in the wild.)

Two of the cubs grabbed the new food source and went to the side to eat...

...while mom and the remaining cubs finished off the first gazelle.

OK - for those of you who are squeamish, that is the end of that. The rest of day six was more animal viewing, but no kills.

As you saw from previous days, we all loved the baby elephants!

I like this photo straight on to the elephant, with one of our other vehicles in the background.

Ohhh!! A really little baby elephant!

Look how small the baby is compared to the full grown elephants.

And then I was VERY excited to see our second leopard of the trip, up close and in plain view.

Look at how beautiful this animal is! This is one of my favorite photos from the safari.

Here is a tighter crop of the previous image.

We drove down by Lake Masek and I saw this bird and it's reflection in the water.

At first I thought there were big rocks in the lake, but as we drove closer I saw that there were a small group of hippos lounging in the water. And yes, another spotting of a baby.

Out in the distance were a bunch of flamingos. Sarah, one of our guests, loves flamingos, so we had to try and get closer to them.

We got relatively close to the birds. I waited for them to move into a position where I could capture photos of them and their reflections.

It was the first day where we thought we might get some rain. The clouds were thick, but no rain fell. I saw these god's rays coming from within the clouds and took this chance to teach our guests about exposure compensation, and how to accentuate the rays.

I looked along the shoreline of the lake and saw so many wildebeest skulls.

I asked Sam, my friend and driver, why there were so many skulls in one place. He said that it was common for the wildebeests to get stuck in the mud and die in the lake. They are not the smartest animals on the planet.

It was the end of our 6th day on safari and we started to make our way back to our camp. I saw this scene with the big puffy clouds behind the acacia trees and thought it would make a nice scenic photo.

And then we arrived back at the Lake Masek Tent Camp. These are tents, but on raised platforms, as you can see here.

The inside is gorgeous.

And they had these amazing outside showers!!! I took numerous showers out here, both at sunrise and sunset, and it was incredible. This is now my favorite place to stay in Tanzania!

I hope you enjoyed the recap of Day 6. Stay tuned for even more. :)

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1 comment:

RAS said...

Awesome photos of what is clearly a great adventure. I really wish I could afford a trip like this (and the necessary equipment!).