Our May Safari was Brilliant with all Big 5 and More
by Gregory Sweeney
Perfect weather, fun and adventurous guests, and great photographic encounters were the highlights of the May 2011 Photographic Safari. From the very first game drive we witnessed lions and their cubs on a kill and the great sightings never stopped. We were privileged to spot black rhino and white rhino on several occasions. On one extra special game drive in we gleefully watching several baby white rhinos up close and even got out of the vehicle and approached on foot. Our group were all very interested in birds. While in Kruger we were able to photograph many raptors, the colorful lilac breasted roller, vultures, and large ground birds like the kori bustard. On the last few days we had some very special experiences photographing cheetah, leopard, and lions.
Each night around the fire we enjoyed fabulous food, travel stories, and laughter. The days started early and any time not out in the parks and reserves was filled with activities such as archery, photographing sunsets and birds, interactive sessions learning processing and Photoshop, and a special bush braai dinner complete with native dancers. One morning I surprised the guests with a chameleon and tortoise "models" for some practice shooting small subjects. As a break from photography and a physical challenge, we took the canopy tour by zipline. It was the first such adventure for most of our guests and quite a thrilling way to see South Africa.
Our guests returned with thousands of photos. Some have already started to post their images. They also made new friends and have memories for a lifetime.
I wrote about our adventures and posted photos while on safari: See them on my Blog: PhotographAfrica.com
What Equipment Will I Need For This Trip?
The wildlife is not always in the distance : it might be 5 meters away!
In South Africa your subjects will be close (sometimes only 5 feet away!) and you will not need to shoot with a long lens across vast distances. The majority of my photographs are taken with my 300mm with and without teleconverters and my 70 - 200mm.
During our photo safaris our lodge starts to look like a photography warehouse. For fun I like to inventory all of the equipment. Here are the results from this past trip.
What my guests brought on the Photo Safari
Good photography equipment is expensive, but it also holds it value. The following article examines Canon lens as investments and finds them to perform as well as other asset classes.
Canon Lens and Cameras as Investments
Another option for those planning a safari would be to rent the specialized equipment.
The piercing giggle of a hyena certainly adds an element of excitement to a stay in the bush. Where we hear danger in a hyena's call, its clan mates pick up something far more subtle: the animal's social status. Like we would eye a Rolex watch or other brand label, hyenas look to the giggle to identify social standing.
Spotted hyenas are also called 'laughing' hyenas because they have the habit of giggling when they're in a stressful or conflict situation. "Giggles are a series of short staccato outbursts they make when they are not getting what they want," says professor of psychology Frédéric Theunissen from the University of California.Theunissen has been researching the social hierarchy of hyenas. Hyenas live in a clan led by a dominant female and there is a strict pecking order among clan members. What's interesting is that animals of lower social status can be identified by their giggle.
Every visit to South Africa is different and gives me new topics and beautiful images. I look forward to sharing them with you after our next adventure in October - or better yet, come with us!
Join Us On a Safari
10 days at our tree house lodge with 2 photographic activities each day. Photographers and nature lovers of all ages and skills welcome. Prices inclusive of transport to/from JNB, food, lodge, activities & fees.
Our Next Safaris:
New! Yoga Safari May 2 - 12
Photography Safari April 17 - 26
Photography Safari Sept26 - Oct 5
More safari details on our website www.AfricaWildSafaris.net
Recent Comments from our Guests
"A trip to Africa was something I had wanted to do for so many years and I can never thank you enough for making it something far beyond my expectations and with memories to last my lifetime." - Grace from Uralla, Australia
"What a wonderful time I had with everyone… It was a trip of a lifetime for me and I can't thank you both enough for your hospitality and kindness during this wonderful holiday, I want you to know that this was worth every penny, each and every adventure will stay in my mind and I will cherish for a very very long time." – Chad from Michigan, USA
Read more guest comments
Content Aware Scaling Tool in Photoshop adds Background
When I need to add background space around the subject of a photo for the purposes of either changing orientation or adding space for creative reasons I use the Content Aware Scale tool in Photoshop CS5. This tool contains logic which helps it figure out what is the subject and protects it while transforming and scaling the rest of the image. The tool has features that let you declare what you wish to protect. I have used this tool effectively to prepare images for printing, framing, and canvases.
Read the Full Article on my Blog
Our region of South Africa is struggling to save the white and black rhinos from poachers. Several have been killed on the private reserves and many are dead in Kruger. Once before they fought back against poaching and brought the species back from near extinction, but this time is more difficult because poachers have technology and money.
Each time we see rhinos on our game drives is a very magic experience and a reminder that they may not survive this new wave of greed.