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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1 comment:

Janet said...

Thanks so much Jeff for all the great photos and explanations with them. I am at my nieces and my grand nephews (6&4 yrs) loved seeing all of them! They liked them so much we went back to older posts! We had a great time "being" in Botswana!