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Home of leopards
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Scars –untold stories of hardship and aggression but also of a brotherhood and support. New lions to the area with an unknown history. Lens 500mm Nikkor , ISO 800, Aperture f4.0, Shutter Speed 1/2500sec.
Ears – hearing is the link between the unknown and the seen. When vision is cast elsewhere gaps can be filled by the airwaves. Lens 500mm NIkkor, ISO 1000, Aperture f4.0, Shutter Speed 1/1000sec.
Hunger – a drawn in stomach indicates the need for a meal. Starvation or life.Motivation does not come in more potent forms. Lens 500mm, ISO 800, Aperture f5.0, Shutter Speed 1/1000sec.
Contact – pysical touching rarely seen in a solitary species. Lens 300mm Nikkor, ISO200 , Aperture f2.8, Shutter Speed 1/1600sec.
Reflection – mirroring or showing an image; a thought taking place in consideration or meditation. Are they capable of the latter? Lens 500mm Nikkor, ISO800 , Aperture f4.0, Shutter Speed 1/400sec.
Camouflage – the act, means, or result of obscuring things to deceive. No longer necessary after years of gained trust. Lens 500mm Nikkor, ISO 1000, Aperture f4.0, Shutter Speed 1/160.
Ripple –a small wave or series of waves on the surface of water. Not necessarily restricted to water and waves but actions of life. Lens 500mm Nikkor, ISO 400, Aperture f4.0, Shutter Speed 1/2000sec.
Movement – an act of changing physical location. These changes are a daily occurrence but the shift of territory is on much slower scale. Lens 500mm Nikkor, ISO 500, Aperture f5.0, Shutter Speed 1/2000sec.
Teeth – shapes and sizes differ but the function remains the same. Lens 200-400mm Nikkor, ISO 1250, Aperture f4.0, Shutter Speed 1/320sec.
Nose –age has not yet tainted the colour of this prominent feature. Lens 500mm Nikkor, ISO 500, Aperture f4.0, Shutter speed 1/1600sec.
Whiskers – an addition to the sense of touch, a 6th sense if you will. A guide when all other senses are momentarily insignificant. Lens 300mm Nikkor, ISO 800, Aperture f8.0, Shutter Speed 1/800sec.
Focus – the state or quality of having clear visual definition. The clarity of which could mean the difference between a meal or an empty stomach. Lens 300mm Nikkor, ISO 800, Aperture f2.8, Shutter Speed 1/640sec.
The focus of this post was on the photos so I thought I would let them have their say before I had mine. The proximity we experience out here is part of what makes game viewing at Londolozi the incredible experience that it is. With that proximity, which is not always a constant but something the animals grace us with, come moments of intimacy. An intimacy that we cannot force but is granted by their decisions to approach us. An intimacy though that is not conventional and that I believe is one sided. They pass by merely to do just that and yet we feel excited and connected.
A brief connection that we hold onto for as long as possible and once it’s gone find ourselves chasing it again. The selection of images above are some of those moments, many I have not been able to capture. I feel that photographing wildlife cannot be forced and the moments, particularly the great ones, are opportunities where for a short time everything comes together. Such moments can’t be setup; they can only be captured if the time is right.
The bulk of the images above are all shot with longer lenses. I love being able to use long lenses to create a sense of intimacy. I also enjoy shooting with a very low aperture and a shallow depth of field to really focus attention for my intended subject within my subject.
I hope you enjoyed my small collection. Which one did you enjoy the most? I would love to hear your thoughts…
Written and photographed by Simon Smit, Londolozi ranger
Simon boasts almost five years of guiding, two of them at Londolozi. His photographic work was already catching the eye of the team here for a long time before he joined the reserve, and he was asked to contribute to the blog literally ...