Frolicking Friday

One Friday afternoon as we were heading back to camp (in Kruger National Park, South Africa), we came across an incredibly playful group of Impala. They were bouncing, chasing each other, mock fighting, charging and seemingly just really enjoying a rare cool afternoon. We stopped to watch them for a while and it became apparent that there was a ‘path’ that they were all ‘racing’ on, which took them through a tunnel of trees. I decided to set my infrared camera up to try and capture a shot of them running through the trees – but the light was not right. For once, the sun was hidden and the impala were in too much shadow. However, after 10 minutes the sun broke through through the clouds for a brief moment and cast a shard of light into the trees – just as the impala ran through. Heart pounding I took the opportunity to capture a shot (and hoped for the best). This is the image that resulted. For the majority of my infread photography I use an infrared modified Canon 550D and favour the prime 50mm lens.

Double snatch

Two southern carmine bee-eaters catch flying insects simultaneously, in Kruger National Park.  Tough light here as it is nearing 7am in a South African January, there is some air distortion and I couldn’t convince the sun to come a little further round closer to us to better fill the faces.  Never mind, glad these chaps found some breakfast that morning 🙂 South Africa is a truly amazing country, and if you get the chance to visit I urge you to do so.  Photos from our trip are available in Taraji Blue’s South Africa photo gallery. If you’re planning a visit you might find my trip reports of interest on the Taraji Blue Kruger Park blog. 

Twizulu

To kick things off for Google+’s African Tuesday here’s My African Favourite – elephants. No matter the excitement we experience when seeing kills, unusual activity, or new species of mammal or bird, we still end up with a longing to see elephants just doing their thing, keeping close, clearly communicating and exploring the world. There are several species which exist in their own taxonomic order themselves – effectively their own branch of evolution, and elephants for me (since we don’t have living dinosaurs) are the most emblematic icon of the natural diversity we have on this planet, and their tender interactions point to their longevity both as a species and as families. In this image, a group of triumphant African elephant wander away, trunks swinging, sated from the watering hole in Kruger National Park. Elephant appear and disappear with astonishing speed – they are huge, but the gentle trees that patter the landscape are usually bigger and swallow these creatures silently. Unusually, I think elephants can be picturesque subjects from both behind and front, due to the oversize nature of their appendages (and those massive air conditioning ears!) Africa is so diverse, but when you look at the habitat maps

Being prepared as a photographer in a digital world

This is a technical post about what to do when (before!) equipment fails and how to work around difficulties in non-urban locations. Earlier this year we travelled to Kruger National Park with a small group and spent a fantastic two weeks exploring the southern part of the park. We’d been before and have plenty of experience in Africa and isolated locations. The first few days went well technically and thankfully this was the period we saw most wildlife. As the trip went on though, our equipment started to misbehave. In this post I’ll take each occurrence, detail what happened and what I’d do differently in the future. Hard drive glitching or failure – having an alternate approach We usually back up our CF cards to a pair of Freecom Tough Drives before clearing them ready for the next day’s shoot, and use a laptop to do the copy. On this trip, something odd started happening: extreme lockups for 30 seconds or so whether nothing was possible, then a return for 10 or 20 seconds, and back into a lockup. The computer was basically unusable (not helpful for Marie trying to prepare some work materials on holiday) and this was the

Meet Mr Crotchety Pants…

This is Mr Crotchety Pants, he lives around Lower Sabie in Kruger National Parks and he does not like me one bit! When I say he doesn’t like me – it’s not like he’s taken a slight dislike , he REALLY does not like me – to the extent that he almost ran us off the road. Here’s how I lived to tell the tale… It was  a lovely afternoon – the sun was beginning to lower and the temperature had become very pleasant. We set out from camp for a game drive and decided to take a nearby loop road to enjoy the last few hours of the day. Barely a few km down the road we saw a HUGE bull elephant standing beside this tree. Due to the low vegetation height we saw him in plenty time and parked a very respectful distance from him to see if he’d walk on. I was the driver that afternoon and really did not want to scare the mother-in-law too much by driving too close (she was in the front passenger seat beside me). As the elephant started to amble toward the road it became evident that we’d need to wait this out – as there