You don’t take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it ~ Author Unknown

How true these words are. At least they are true to me. I wish I knew who spoke them. But, then again, maybe their beauty comes from their anonymity- words spoken for truth, not for glory.

This photographic journal has been a long time coming. Spending my days at Londolozi in the Creative Hub, and the Photography Studio, I get to spend time with guests. I get to see incredible photographs and re-live the stories of each as they are etched further and further into their memories.

On some level, I owe my own inspiration to this. I have been inspired to create my own stories and further my creativity. I have revelled in every quiet moment that I have had recently to sit and capture the world around me. I have taken time out to practice my craft. To hone the skills that I possess and to want for more knowledge and skill so that I never become complacent. I have enjoyed the cool mornings alone, sitting quietly while I waited for sunbirds to feel comfortable enough in my presence to resume their daily chores. I have held my breath while I pressed the shutter, capturing the intensity and potency of the stare of a lioness. I have expressed gratitude for being allowed into the quiet world of a feeding leopard. I, too, have sat, content, at the base of a huge wild fig tree that had far more stories to tell than I could ever hope to hear, and have breathed in the countless exquisite landscapes that surround us at Londolozi.

I borrow these moments, quietly and with respect, from the bushveld. I do not own them. I am merely a spectator. I get to meditate over the memory of each encounter, and wait, patiently, for the next time I am allowed to observe the strangeness and beauty around me.

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The quiet, watching eye of an elephant. Seemingly nonchalant, but ever vigilant.  1/640 f/5.6 ISO 6400

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The Dudley Riverbank young female leopard peers through the leaves of the Lowveld milk-berry tree, half way through a feast  1/640 f/5.6 ISO 2000

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She snakes her way down the tactile bark of the same tree photographed above  1/500 F/5.6 ISO 5000

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She stops to listen before finding a cool spot in the shade to rest 1/500 F/5.6 ISO 5000

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Always vigilant of her kill, the young female leopard gazes up with green eyes  1/500 F/5.6 ISO 6400

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One of the newer ‘kids on the block’, the Matshipiri lioness remains alert while the two large males sleep soundly after feeding  1/400 F/5.0 ISO 4000

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The closest thing to the ocean in the Sabi Sands – a sea of golden grass waves in the early afternoon breeze 1/4000 f/8 ISO 3200

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The same sea of grass compliments the cool tones of a dramatic, and threatening, sky. 1/320 f/9 ISO 3200

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The Sentinel: A squirrel alarms in the early hours of the morning. In the bush, even the smallest of animals alarming can mean the presence of a predator   1/4000 f/9 ISO 3200

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A portrait of one of my first friends at Londolozi – Mr. Colby, butler at Varty Camp, tells a humorous story on the deck  1/1600 f/7,1 ISO 3200

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Cool, snaking water bends and curves its way down the Sand River. Fin Foot Crossing  is one of my favourite place at Londolozi, where animals crossing the river makes for exciting photography. Here, the view is what inspired me to pick up my camera 1/4000 f/5 ISO 3200

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The safe return of this hippo to the water after the Mhangeni pride executed an unsuccessful stealth attack through long grass where the hippo grazed is followed by an aggressive head shake – letting us know that the excitement is over for the afternoon, and that we should be on our way 1/640 f5.6 ISO250

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An old ‘tusker’ elephant bull stands his ground 1/2000 f/5.6 ISO 3200

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Golden flecks of light dance amidst the grass late in the afternoon 1/3200 f/8 ISO xxx

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We are always looking to photograph birds from the front. Taking a different perspective, I watched as this giant kingfisher stands poised for flight  1/4000 f/5.6 ISO 3200

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The heavens open – not with rain but with silver rays of light 1/4000 f/7.1 ISO 3200

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The Makotini Male leopard quenches his thirst in the apricot evening light 1/8 f/5.6 ISO 3200

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The results of an early morning expedition to photograph sunbirds while the aloes flowered freely. This white-bellied sunbird reaches for nectar 1/400 f/5.6 ISO 5600

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A yawn such as this, in conjunction with grooming, will often indicate a lioness’ readiness to become active after a long day of sleeping through the heat 1/250 f/5.6 ISO

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Tusks that could tell a story, folded into the most tactile of skins 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 6400

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A commical wink of a Tsalala lioness 1/500 f/5.6 ISO 3200

 Each time the shutter closes, a new story is borrowed from the wild. Which is your favourite?
Written and photographed by Amanda Ritchie, Photography Studio Manager 

About the Author

Amanda Ritchie

Creative Hub Manager

Amanda joined the Londolozi team early in 2015 and immediately took the Londolozi Studio to an exciting new level. Her unflappable work ethic and perfectionism are exemplary, and under her guidance the Studio has become one of the busiest areas on Londolozi. The ...

More stories by Amanda

27 Comments

on Photographic Journal: Asking Quietly To Borrow From the Bushveld
    marinda drake says:

    Stunning images!

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thanks so much, Marinda 🙂

    David Bourceraud says:

    Beautiful images Amanda thank you for sharing ! I look forward to be back at Londo in October and see “The heavens open” as in your photo (my favourite)…

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Looking forward to meeting you, David. I do love that photo, as well. The curve of the road and the vista is my favourite.

    Leslie Backus says:

    The heavens open actually made me ache to be there again.

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you so much for your comment, Leslie. That shot is also one of my favourites. I was out in the bush yesterday evening, and it made me think that that shot definitely epitomises the drama and beauty of this place. We look forward to having you back again soon!

    Mary Moy says:

    If only I could experience the incredible experience I have seen in your blogs.
    The leopard sightings are really something.
    My best experience, so far, is in the Sth Luangwa N.P. Maybe one day I will get to Londolozi. Next year I hope to join Graham Cooke at Kafunta. I enjoy seeing what is going on at Londolozi.

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you so much for your comment, Mary. We would definitely love to have you come and visit us at Londolozi in the near future. The leopards will be waiting!

    Rich laburn says:

    Amazing set of images Amanda, how did you achieve that stunning effect with the black and white leopard images? I also love the sunbird

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thanks so much, Rich 🙂 The leopard photo is an example of one of my favourite editing techniques at the moment. I use the trusty adjustment brush in Lightroom to over-expose any unnecessary clutter in the image, and generally select three different components of the shot to accentuate. Here it was the beautiful pose of the leopard coming down the tree, the tree itself and the beautiful white, clean background. It is a very effective technique and one that I will explore in an upcoming editing tutorial, so stay tuned!

    Jenny says:

    Spectacular photos. The quiet, watching eye of Ele speaks volumes. Thank you.

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you so much, Jenny. I must say, that is also one of my favourites. I have a very ‘healthy’ respect for Ellies (Read: quite terrified of them), and really do love spending time with them as I get more and more comfortable around them.

    Judy B. says:

    Beautiful, Amanda. I couldn’t pick a favorite. I loved them all. We can’t wait to get back to Londolozi in August, 2016!

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you so much, Judy! I am so glad that you liked them 🙂

    Maureen Howard says:

    How talented you are Amanda! These images are some of the most beautiful photography I have seen. I am coming to Londolozi next month and so excited. Thank you for sharing.

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you for the kind comment, Maureen. It is much appreciated! Looking forward to meeting you next month. Please do pop up to the Creative Hub for a visit 🙂

    Mary Beth Wheeler says:

    A beautiful journal, Amanda, and a lovely blog! I could picture myself out there in the bush with you…and the Makotini male at sunset and the sunbirds the next morning! Eagerly awaiting that next tutorial, too!

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you for the comment, Mary Beth- so lovely to hear from you! Next time you and Bob are here, I will most definitely be coming out with you to play around with our photography. My next tutorial is coming up this week, so stay tuned!

    Jill Grady says:

    Incredibly beautiful images Amanda! I love the evening light on the Makotini male and stunning image of the Dudley Riverbank young female coming down the tree, but the image of the heavens opening had a strong emotional impact for me and brought back so many lovely memories of game drives and just breathing in every magical moment while I was there.

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Ah, Jill, exactly my reasons for choosing that shot to share with you. I am so glad that you enjoyed the images, and thanks so much for the comment!

    Janice Riley says:

    I never tire of the wonderful images from Londolozi but also enjoy the narrative that accompanies them. Thank you

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thank you for your comment, Janice. I find it quite hard to find the right words to accompany the images sometimes as the two art forms are so different. I am glad you enjoyed both!

    Ryan James says:

    Beautiful photos and words Amanda 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Amanda Ritchie says:

    Thanks so much, Ryan 🙂

    James Tyrrell says:

    Amazing pics Mands!!!

    Irene Nathanson says:

    I really love the black and white leopard coming down the tree …a real favorite

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    Wow absolutely stunning pictures Amanda. I love all the different colours shown in each one. Thank you & have a wonderful weekend in that part of Heaven <3

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