Saturday, February 22, 2014

Taking lessons

I have to admit I've surprised myself with the way some of my wildlife photos have turned out on this holiday. I haven't had my Nikon D5200 for long and it's still firmly on Auto, but the radiance of the African sunlight and the beauty of the animals and bird life combine to produce so many winning shots.

Then there are the rubbish shots like this one. I've managed to capture in fine detail the grasses in the middle distance, while making nothing but a fuzz ball out of the bird, my actual subject.

Clearly in need of a little extra tuition I took up the opportunity of joining another couple on a morning Photographic Tour on the Chobe River with Pangolin Photographic Safaris and threw myself on the mercy of our guide, Sue, who soon had me taking half decent photos like this one of an African Jacana lightly stepping through the lily pads.

Our specially designed boat was equipped with eight swivel seats in a single row down the middle, allowing each photographer a clear view out of both sides of the boat. 

I could have used my own camera if it had possessed a bracket for mounting it onto one of the camera fittings designed by Pangolin's head photo guide Gerhard ('Guts') Swanepoel along the lines of the machine gun mountings used by the South African army.

I doubt, though, if I could have captured such a clear close-up of this malachite kingfisher mother feeding her baby as I did using one of the Nikon D7000 cameras supplied free for us to use.

The early morning light was just amazing.

I'm still haven't found how to take multiple shots in quick succession on my D5200, so I was very excited when Sue showed me how to use this function on the D7000. Finally I could get a semi-respectable photo of birds in flight.

When I say the water was glassy I'm not exaggerating. This composition of elephant and water is one of my favourites.

This water monitor, or legovan, was sunning himself on a log when I intruded on his personal space.

I had to laugh at this huge hippo draped in grasses. He looks as if he's trying to do the impossible and disguise his portly body.

Don't be fooled by that grin. The only way to approach a huge croc like this is with a very long lens! Fortunately he was on the shore and I was in a boat. We looked into each other's eyes and it was loathing at first sight.

Another favourite shot.

These shots of a hippo running into the water, which I've made into a collage here, were only possible with the multiple shot function. This is only a very small selection of the action shots I took of his surprisingly nimble charge.

More elephants, having their morning bath.

This fellow was following his mates into the bush after giving us a spectacular display of rolling in the sand when he stopped momentarily, turned back, raised his trunk to me and trumpeted loudly as if to wave goodbye. Another 'pinch me' moment.

My morning on the Pangolin boat was incredible. Let's see how well I can put Sue's tips into practice.


  1. Stunning photos!!!!

  2. love the photos!! I almost feel like I'm there

  3. When you get home the quilters are going to be booking you in for a slide show instead of show and tell at quilting! So much fantastic wildlife, great shots, so glad you took the the kingfisher!

  4. That was a morning well spent.....your photos are amazing!

  5. I am so enjoying your African Safari! Your blog is just wonderful!

  6. Oh, my goodness! What a fabulous post! You must be pinching yourself so often that your arms are purple!!

  7. Thoroughly enjoying your pictures and your post. So glad you are having a most wonderful time in South Africa! We appreciate you taking the time to share it with us!

  8. What an adventure this day was! I am thoroughly impressed with the photos you took. Bet you're nearly ready to upgrade your own Nikon, huh? Such wonderful animals you saw. I bet it was all quite fascinating. My jaw would have been on my chest all day. Thanks for sharing this with those of us (me!) who will likely never see such things for real. I know YOU know how fortunate you are.

  9. Wow! Great photos. The boat is a photographer's dream!


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