The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy

It’s a year (almost to the day!) since my last macro photography post, and how time flies! After posting my last set of photos I said to myself that I would start work on another blog for the end of this summer, but as is so often the case, normal work takes precedence, so I haven’t gotten around to it until now.

Summer is the best time for macro photography, as the smaller inhabitants of the bush are out, as well as a wide array of inflorescences, seedpods, and other bits of floral interest, but hopefully it won’t be another year before another macro post.


Rob Crankshaw Terrapin 1

Not often found far away from water, I discovered this Serrated Hinged Terrapin moving through the camp area. Closely related to Tortoises and Turtles, they can often be seen in fresh waterholes and certain parts of the Sand River here at Londolozi. Before helping this little guy to a body of water where he would feel safer, I captured this image of his head and eye retracted sideways into its carapace before it scuttled off into the water. f/11; 1/200; ISO 1000

Rob Crankshaw Olive Whip Snake

Not many people are fond of snakes but I find them fascinating. From time to time we bump into snakes in the camp area and for everyone’s sake – humans as well as the snakes’ – we will do our best to catch them and release them away from the camp and into the bush. This completely harmless Olive Whip Snake was one such individual that was caught and released. It moved into a hollow log which gave me an opportunity to set up a few feet away from it and luckily for me the snake popped it’s head out and paused for a few seconds before melting away into the bush. f/16; 1/400; ISO 640

Rob Crankshaw Impala Lilly 2 1

This impala lily photo was taken quite awhile ago, as the beautiful pink flowers start emerging in August, providing some wonderful colour to the otherwise drab landscape that is the late winter South African bush.

Rob Crankshaw Marbled Tree Snake 1

A Marbled Tree Snake. Since I have been working at Londolozi I have wanted to photograph one of these snakes, I think the reason is pretty obvious. Their yellow eyes are remarkable! A staff member found this individual in a tree and called me as they knew I had been hoping to cross paths with this species. As the snake was up in the branches it was fairly comfortable and didn’t feel threatened. However, even though this species is completely harmless to humans it makes up for it in attitude and will strike if feel threatened. I captured these 2 images before we ushered the snake into a box and removed it from the camp area. f/13; 1/200; ISO 400

Rob Crankshaw Marbled Tree Snake 2

A different angle showing this beautiful snake in more detail f/13; 1/200; ISO 400

Rob Crankshaw Water Lilly Bee 1

The flower of the Blue Waterlilly is very attractive, especially to bees! I had to be very patient and wait for a bee to land on the particular flower I was focused on and also keep still for a millisecond whilst facing the camera. In the end I finally got the shot. f/13; 1/500; ISO 250

Rob Crankshaw Chameleon 5

Abstract photographs can provide a new perspective to some often well-documented subjects. The feet of this flap-necked chameleon were gripping on strongly, and I felt that as these reptile’s eyes are usually the focus point of any photo of them, I’d try something different.

Rob Crankshaw Chameleon 4

A more typical take on one of these creatures, although a macro lens helps provide a lot more detail of its skin than a standard telephoto.

Rob Crankshaw Combretum 1

The beautiful pods of the russet bushwillow tree are often used as table decorations. Bushwillows are some of the hardest woods around, and are in the same family – Combretum – as the leadwood tree.

Rob Crankshaw Combretum 2

Seed Bed – A layer of fallen Combretum seed pods, all at different stages of decomposition. A little different to a typical macro photography images in that it is not a typical tight crop showing close up detail. But it does tell a story of the seed pods landing on the floor and slowly disappearing and hopefully at least one of these seeds will sprout and grow into a beautiful tree. f/36; 1/3; ISO 100

Rob Crankshaw Impala Lilly 1

Another Impala Lilly shot, but with a much darker background it brings the viewers eye onto the flower more even more effectively. f/13; 1/200; ISO 1250

Rob Crankshaw Grass Backlit

Backlit Bush Grass – The day I photographed this feathery species of grass was slightly overcast so the light was muted which gave a very gently backlitt effect. I played around with the aperture settings to find a balance of having some background dappled but still have some grass in the mid-ground slightly in focus to give the impression of a whole field of grass. f/14; 1/20; ISO 100

Rob Crankshaw Chameleon 1

An even wider chameleon shot. I love the way that this image clearly shows how a chameleon’s eyes can swivel independently from each other. This one was slowly stalking a butterfly that was on the branch in front of it, but the butterfly got spooked before the chameleon could get close.

Rob Crankshaw Orange Spider 1

One of the very few interesting spider species I personally came across in the last year or so. I noticed this individual protecting its egg sack hanging in its web amongst some branches of a small shrub. f/29; 1/200; ISO 6400

Rob Crankshaw Reed Frog 1

A painted Reed Frog crouches on a grass strand. These tiny frogs have the ability to change their skin colour between white and a dark, almost black colour which is believed to help with thermoregulation and moisture control. In my previous macro photography blog I captured some images of this species with it’s skin changed to the darker form. f/13; 1/200; ISO 100

About the Author

Rob Crankshaw


Rob Crankshaw joined the Londolozi family in early 2015 and, almost as soon as he arrived, got bitten by the photography bug. His alternative approach and different view on what constitutes an exciting sighting at Londolozi, along with his keen eye for detail, ...

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on Photographic Journal: The Sun Sets on Another Summer in Macro

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Stunning images Rob. The smaller things are sometimes the most interesting.

Rich Laburn

Great set of macro images well done rob

Ian Thomas

Beautiful Rob I particularly like the muted image of the Russet Bushwillow. It has everything; shapes, contours, texture and shading. The wings look like blades.

Mary Beth Wheeler

Fascinating images, Rob! The spider, the chameleon, the marbled tree snake – I have a wholly different appreciation! I’m in awe!

Al Kaiser

Always great Rob! If I knew it was a marble tree snake you were after, I would have called you to Varty 9 last year. Needed Dave Strachan to come get it out from under the bed.

Ian Hall

The Painted Reed Frog photo is amazing, even by Londolozi standards

Jeff Rodgers

Great images . . . I particularly like the photo of the chameleon foot. Images like this get me as a wildlife photographer thinking about other perspectives other than the typical ‘focus on the creature’s eyes.’

Denise Vouri

Amazing macro images. I’m awestruck! What size macro lens were you using? I’ve a Nikon 105 and find macro challenging as far as the depth of field. You seem to have found the sweet spot!!

Mj Bradley

Thank you for the wonderful photography.. my favorite is the foot of the chameleon, it looks like very intricate beadwork!

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