Summer is here! It is now official, as in the last week Londolozi has gone from the last browns of winter to the verdant green of summer in full swing. Dung beetles are everywhere, thunderstorms have struck, and we are expecting the first sighting of an impala lamb any day now. There is so much going on in the bush, one doesn’t know where to start when heading out on game drive!
Enjoy this week in pictures…
The Majingilane with the missing canine appears to snarl menacingly at one of the Tsalala cubs, but he was in fact performing the flehmen grimace; testing whether or not one of the adult females were ready to mate by analysing pheromones in her urine by means of his Jacobson’s Organ. f3.2, 1/640, ISO 800
The Dark-Maned Majingilane also displays the flehmen grimace. The Tsalala females, although appearing relatively unconcerned by the presence of the males, nevertheless kept leading the little cubs further away throughout this sighting, with the males tagging along behind. The other two Majingilane can be seen in the distance to the right of the picture. f3.5, 1/1000, ISO 640
Two very cute hyena cubs, one of whom gives us the evil eye! Pretty much pure black when born (or at least very dark brown), these little guys will only get their spots in a couple of months. f4, 1/200, ISO 800
A journey of giraffe look out over the reserve from the Londolozi airstrip. f11, 1/800, ISO 400
The Tailed Tsalala lioness and her 4 young cubs in the Sand River near Plaque Rock. f2.8, 1/1250, ISO 640
The Tailless Tsalala female on Plaque Rock itself, overlooking the spot where her sister and cubs were resting in the shade. f2.8, 1/6400, ISO 400
A VERY rare sighting at Londolozi, this female ostrich has been hanging around for the last week or so. The largest bird in the world, these flightless giants generally prefer far more open habitat, as among the thickets of the Sabi Sand reserve they fall easy prey to the large predators. f4, 1/400, ISO 640
Standoff. A large female warthog stares down the Mashaba female leopard, just visible beyond the warthog to the left. f5, 1/1600, ISO 500
The Dark-maned Majingilane moves across the Granite rocks of the Sand River in front of Founders Camp one evening. f2.8, 1/50, ISO 5000
A whitefaced scops owl. Heard more often than seen at Londolozi, this was the first time I had ever captured a photo of this beautiful bird of the night. f3.2, 1/1600, ISO 640
A pair of fish eagles survey their Sand River domain from high above. Monogamous birds, this pair has made a large Jackalberry tree on the northern bank their home for a number of years now. f4.5, 1/2000, ISO 100
Two of the Majingilane contemplate moving to the shade near Pipeline pan, shortly after finishing off the last of a big bull kudu they had pulled down. f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 320
I like this photo more for the green pigeon flying in front than for the elephants. It adds a bit of colour to an otherwise drab scene. This shot was taken on one of the last brown areas on Londolozi, just before the big rains flushed everything completely green. f4, 1/1000, ISO 640
The Camp Pan male on an impala kill he had robbed from the Tamboti female and her cub. He was forced to hoist upon the appearance of a hyena just before sunset, but the hyena was very small and would probably not have been a threat. f4, 1/640, ISO 1000
The same sighting, a little bit later, with a spotlight used for photography. I love using the spotlight on a leopard in a tree just before it is totally dark, as you are able to capture some wonderful colours in the sky behind; rich purples and blues add far more vibrancy to a scene than pitch black. f2.8, 1/400, ISO 1000
Photographed by James Tyrrell
Only natural light is ever used.
I sometimes use Adobe Lightroom to help reveal more detail in-shadow, especially when shooting into the sun. It helps enormously with contrasting bright vs dark areas, and nice even exposure usually helps in a photo.
Just a slight amendment to the above; spotlights are sometimes used at night, as in the last photo and the one with the whitefaced owl…