The Classic South African Safari

27 01 2015

I am heading out on the Classic South African Safari in the next couple of weeks, and thought there is no better way to prepare for a photographic safari, than to have a look through the archives and find some images taken on previous safaris from the same place at the same time of year to get me in the mood for what is to come.

February can be a tricky month to photograph wildlife in South Africa, because it is nearing the end of the rainy season, so the vegetation is quite dense, and you often have to deal with that annoying piece of grass that chose to grow right in front of the leopards face as she poses on a fallen tree! On the other side of the coin though it is green and lush, as compared to the dusty harshness of winter, which makes the setting so much more beautiful. It is also quite hot at this time of year, so it is always a good idea to keep an eye in the trees for resting leopards looking to escape the heat. The elephants too feel the heat, and will have a good splash around in the water and mud to keep themselves cool, which makes for some great images. Another real highlight at this time of year is that the migratory birds have not yet left on their northward journey to escape the South African winter. Many very colourful species will be around, hopefully in front of our cameras!

I always enjoy this time just before a great safari, thinking about what we might see and what images we will return with. Lets hope the animals come out and play; look out for a follow up blog post…

To join me on safari, click here!





A good start to the year

20 01 2015

Over twenty thousand greater flamingos in one salt lake is never a bad way to start the photographic year! Well actually, they start arriving at the salt lakes in November, but the big numbers only really start to appear in January, and when they arrive, the show really starts.

It s quite difficult to get into a good position for photography, because the salt lake is quite big, although only a few feet deep at the most. This means that the birds can feed at any point in the lake often leaving them out of reach of even the biggest lenses. Every now and again though, you can get a small group of flamingos that have separated themselves, and wandered a little closer to shore, or as I like to call it, within photographic distance. The second challenge becomes apparent quite quickly; which birds do I aim at? When there are a thousand plus birds to choose from in each small group, it can be difficult to find the right compositions. The ‘spray and pray’ technique of just photographing as much as possible in all directions doesn’t really work, because inevitably in all you shots you will have birds cut in half at the edges. The trick I find is to go back as often as possible, and see what the pretty pink birds are up to. Once you have worked out their patterns, the potential images start increasing, and with a little luck, you can actually get a nice little group shot, or even an individual!

As with all wildlife photographers, I would love to be able to get closer and see what kind of shots that would produce, but until I can work that out, I will keep photographing from the banks and see what new images I can make.

To join me on safari, click here!