Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our African Safari - Day Two (Zebras, Lions, and more)

The second day of our safari was the first full day out looking at the wildlife. We got up early in the morning and drove down into the Ngorongoro crater. This is a great place to see lots of animals in a vast flat crater.

I should mention that I am posting all the images mostly in chronological order, so that you can get a sense of what we saw at each moment.

As we drove down into the crater, we came across these two zebras, a mother and a youngster.

Everyone in our group fell in love with the baby zebras. They are just too darned cute. I used the Canon 1DX Mark II with Canon 200-400mm lens at 260mm to isolate this little guy. You will notice the brown fur on the young zebra. All of them are born with brown stripes and then, as they age, they quickly turn to black.

I then flipped the switch on the Canon 200-400mm lens (which activates the built-in tele converter) and shot this photo at 560mm.

Oh, and for all those people who asked me why I was using the 200-400mm lens, when I did not list it in my pre-trip gear list, I can tell you the story. I was planning on using the Canon 100-400mm lens (which is much lighter and easier to handhold), but one of our tour attendees was having technical issues with her camera setup, so I let her use my 100-400mm lens for the whole trip. Luckily we had Canon Professional Services loan us some additional gear, including the 200-400mm lens.

It was early on our second day when we came across our first lioness. I loved how she stood so perfectly in the backlight!

We all enjoyed photographing the wart hogs as they knelt down to graze. They sure are funny looking animals. :)

As drove along the roads of the crater, we came upon this awesome group of lions. I was excited to get really close to a large male. We didn't have this opportunity all that often on our last trip to Tanzania.

Here is a shot of the female looking up at the male.

Here is another photo taken at the full 560mm of that long lens. What an awesome creature!

The most common question I get from people is "How close do you get to the animals?" Well...this photo should give you a good idea of how close we are. It is not uncommon for the lions to come and rest in the shade of the vehicles.

This bird is called a Kori Bustard.

I saw these two Grey-crowned cranes hanging out by a Wildebeest corpse and thought it was an interesting mix of beautiful birds and death.

Don't worry, I made sure to isolate one photo just showing the beauty of this crane.

Every time I travel into the Ngorongoro crater I can't help but be awed by the vastness of the land. This is an environmental shot (taken wide) to show all the wildlife that inhabits the area. I focused on the zebras, since they are my main subjects, but made sure to include the other animals and safari vehicles in the background.

More baby zebra photos, since we could not get enough of their cuteness.

This heron cracked me up. I took numerous photos of this bird, but when looking through the images that evening, I laughed at the "attitude" that this bird is showing. This photo really needs a quote underneath it. Got any suggestions?

We were photographing more wildlife when my wife spotted this large flock of birds coming our direction. I quickly reframed my shot, focused on the zebra and fired off this image.

I have always loved the look of the Helmeted Guineafowl and was taking photos os this one, when he hopped onto this rock and shared the spotlight with a smaller bird. I like having both birds in this shot, since it adds more interest than a solo shot of the fowl.

It is funny, I have never really thought that birding (doing bird photography) is something that would ever interest me, but after seeing all these awesome birds in Tanzania, I get the allure for sure. Here is a photo of the awesome Tawny Eagle. (Photographer's note: You will notice that I try to get my bird shots with nothing distracting in the foreground or background. This separation helps get a clean image and keep your focus on the bird and not the other areas.)

Here is a photo of myself and our three awesome guides, Godwin, Sam, and Godfrey. We always use these three guys since they are the best in the business. I really like this photo of the four of us (and I usually don't like photos of me, which is why I am BEHIND the camera and not in front of it).

Stay tuned for Day 3 and more!

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.


platscha said...

Stunning photos, like your day by day approach. Best has to be you guys in the last photo, they were the best.

Shaggyz said...

for the heron:
"rule#1: I don't sweat, I perspire. Rule #2: "I don't perspire."

Jeff Rosenfeld said...

Great stuff, as always! Out of curiosity, why did you choose such a high shutter speed (1/8000) and ISO (5000) for the Helmeted Guineafowl shot, which are both significantly higher than any of your other photos?

D. Balding said...

Likewise, I never thought I was a "birder" until I went three nights on the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia. An amazing destination. If you have a chance..don't miss.

Digital Camera Central said...

I love the photos of the lions. It's crazy how close the SUV got to the pack.

Linda Allen said...

Wonderful photos Jeff! I'm not sure I'd want to be that close to the Lions! LOL!! My favorite photo is you with the guides. Love the pose! Looking forward to the next blog post.