Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Tanzania, Africa - Endless herds of elephants

The one consistent thing about safaris is that there is nothing consistent about them. One year you might see very few sitings of a particular animal and another year an abundance. This year we saw a record number of elephants on our photo tours, and it was awesome!

I am excited to share the images with all of you.

Here is a family of elephants in varying age groups. African elephants can live up to 60 years.

I captured this photo of these elephant in front of the infamous Baobab trees which can only be found in the lower elevations of Africa.

I shot this photo at a slower shutter speed (1/125th of a second) to get some motion blur in this elephant's tail.

This photo was taken at 1/1250 of a second to capture the elephant feeding. Their trunks are comprised of approximately 40,000 muscles and are strong enough to rip large branches from the trees. They also use their trunks to suck up water and spray it into their mouths.

We saw herds everywhere, on land and in the water.

I love the varying colors and textures in these amazing creatures. Did you know that the wrinkles in the elephant's skin helps them cool down their bodies? The body heat is released through the creases in their skin, helping them release up to 75% of their body heat.

You will notice that many of my elephant photos here were taken wider to show more of the environment. I made a note in my iPhone to remind myself to shoot wider on this trip. It seems that every time I see these massive animals, I tended to use the Canon 1D X Mark II with the Canon 200-400mm lens to shoot very tight on them, but wanted to change that on this go around.

For most of these wider photos, I used the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 24-105mm lens.

Elephants touch each other often, for greeting, playing and social interaction. Look at the interaction between this young elephant and its mother. So precious.

We saw this herd of elephant coming down this path and parked our vehicle to be right in front of them as they approached.

More young elephants....Ahhhhhhhhhh.

You will notice that older sibling is starting to grow its tusks. They grow throughout their lives and most elephants will favor one tusk over the other, much like we favor our right or left hand.

It is quite common for the elephants to spray themselves with water to cool them off in the summer heat.

I saw this interaction between the mom and sibling with this little baby and loved it.

We were photographing this large herd when this tiny baby appeared and happily pranced through the grass towards us. These are very social animals with the capacity to experience happiness, sadness, fear, remorse and excitement.

This cute little one seemed very happy.

I waited for the baby to catch up to its mother and captured this shot to show the difference in their sizes. This is one of my favorite photos from the trip.

The soil in the Tarangire National Park is very red, and the elephants frequently throw that soil and mud on themselves. The soil acts as sunscreen for the elephants. I really liked the coloring and curled trunk on this one elephant.

At one point, we had this one young elephant come right up to our Land Cruiser to check us out. I quickly changed from the long lens to the Canon 24-105mm lens and shot this image at 85mm.

Elephants can be very playful. Here are some youngsters playing around. I laughed as I shot this photo since it reminded me of a circus pose.

These two elephants were sparring for quite a long time. It was like watching two teenagers rough housing.

I think that we saw more than 400 elephants last month and it was an absolute joy to watch these gentle giants in the wild.

Next up on the blog will be giraffe, baboon, cheetah, lion and more.

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