Thursday, July 12, 2018

Namibia Photo Tour - The final days of the tour

Our first photo tour ended last week, and I am now in Botswana with our second group. But I never got a chance to blog the last couple of days of safari in Namibia. I am sitting in another country in Africa and posting the last images from that trip. Soon I will bring you all images from here in Botswana, but first...

I wanted to thank all of you who commented on the last blog post. Not only was I very happy to read everyone's comments here on the blog, on social media, and in my email, but also thrilled to see that everyone was positive, supportive and respectful in their feedback. That is what this blog is all about - keeping it positive and sharing the passion for photography!!

And now on to our last couple of days in Namibia where we spent the bulk of the time in Etosha National Park, This park is known for all their water holes, where the animals congregate.

We came upon this one watering hole which was devoid of most wildlife except for a couple of giraffe. But, one of the things I teach our tour guests is to look for good reflections and environment shots. I waited for this giraffe to walk towards the center of the water and grabbed this shot with the giraffe and his reflection. They are such pretty and majestic animals.

We were shooting the image above when our driver heard on his radio that there was a black rhino siting nearby. We got our shot of the giraffe and then made a quick turn and headed for that siting.

Sure enough, this rhino was walking right in plain sight of our vehicle. We were all excited and firing our cameras in burst mode.

The rhino walked parallel to the road for so long that I had a chance to try and motion pan him. I quickly changed the aperture of my camera to f/32 (already at ISO 100) to get a shutter speed of 1/25th of a second. I panned with the rhino to get some motion in his legs, while keeping his face in focus.

At one point we came upon this beautiful bird, which was resting in a tree far from us. Right as I prepared to get a photo of it in the tree, it took off and flew right towards us. I always teach our guests to keep their cameras in IO Servo focus mode (otherwise known as follow focus), and to use back-button focus. Since I practice what I preach, I did this and nailed this shot of the bird coming right at me.

There is nothing like seeing elephants in the wild. I have seen them many times, but it never gets tiring.

Later in the day, we visited another watering hole, and this time had a small group of zebra and some giraffe who were sharing the drink.

For those of you not lucky enough to go on a safari, it would amaze you to watch the giraffe drink. They spread their legs and "splay" to get down low enough to drink. It is a site to behold.

While one giraffe was drinking, he got irritated by the zebra and he and some of the other long-legged animals started chasing the zebra away. I quickly changed my aperture to f/40 (using the Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 100-400mm lens at ISO 320) which gave me a shutter speed of 1/40th second. I then panned with the running giraffe to get this motion blur shot.

After chasing the zebra, these two giraffe got together and had a moment.

The next day we were on a private game reserve when we drove up on three cheetahs who had just killed a springbok. It was awesome to watch them as they made no waste of the kill.

The cheetah is one of my favorite animals here in Africa, with those amazing faces and markings on their bodies.

I was shooting images of the feast when this cheetah stood up with the springbok's head in his mouth. It really shows the circle of life in one image, and is one of my favorites from the trip.

After the cheetahs were done eating, they ventured away from the kill, right into perfect evening light.

Two of them laid down of the ground and started to clean each other's faces. It was an amazing site to see. I shot some video of this which you will see once I get it all edited.

In between their cleaning, they both turned and gave us this pose. We were all excited to get this shot!

In Africa, there is a pecking order for food. Once the cheetahs were done eating, it was time for the jackals to come in and get their leftovers.

The vultures wanted their turn at the carcass and a fight ensued between the jackal and vultures. It was another incredible site to watch.

We completed our last game drive and headed back to our lodge to pack up. But before heading out of Namibia, we had a chance to enjoy one last sunset. It was the perfect ending to an amazing two week journey through this country.

After this, most of the guests flew back to the U.S., while Mike and I (and one guest who is doing both trips) flew to south Africa for some R&R before heading to Zimbabwe and Botswana. Those images are coming next.

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