Firstly I would like to wish everyone a happy World Environment Day. On this very special day, I get to share with all of you just a small portion of what makes this beautiful Earth of ours so amazing. The week leading up to today has been nothing short of breathtaking. We have had some incredible sightings and all count ourselves very lucky to see what we have seen. From the Tsalala pride walking in the night in search of food to the Mashaba young female hoisting a kill into a tree seconds before being robbed by a hyena, to witnessing life fade before our eyes as a male cheetah suffocated a nyala…. it truly has been a special week.
Night photography is swiftly becoming a passion of mine and I have included a few shots in this week’s post.
There are few things more powerful than viewing lions at night. Here, a young Tsalala male lies with the pride being side lit. Using a spotlight from another creates the side-lit effect. ISO 2000, F4, 1/80
A Tsalala female walks towards us while being backlit by Amy’s vehicle. ISO 1600, F4, 1/80
Another side-lit shot, this time of the Mashaba young female, as she rests before setting out on her night’s foray. ISO 1600, F4.5, 1/80
The Mashaba young female again, backlit, just before she drifted off into the darkness without a sound. ISO 2000, F4.5, 1/4000
A nightjar uses the road as an observation platform for hunting during the first few hours after sunset and then as a convenient place for resting and digesting its food. ISO 2000, F5.6, 1/160
The normally skittish Short Tailed male provided for an incredible afternoon after he robbed the Tamboti female of her meal that she had so painstakingly hidden away and hoisted into a tree. ISO 1600, F4, 1/80
After feeding, he moved to a nearby pan to slake his thirst and lie resting, too full to do much but raise his head occasionally. ISO 1600, F4, 1/80
One of the three Sparta young males waking up from his slumbers on a cold cloudy morning. There is a chance we may have seen the last of these males for awhile, if not for good. They were last seen heading North from the Sand River and not looking back. With the activity of the new coalitions of older and bigger males moving in, there is not a lot of space left for these three young lions on Londolozi anymore. ISO 500, F2.8, 1/1000
The Mashaba young female moves through a chilly winter’s morning. ISO 400, F4, 1/1600
Leopards will often climb onto termite mounds or fallen logs in order to see what prey species are potentially available in the surrounding areas, and the Mashaba young female displays a perfect example of this behaviour before settling down to rest out the hotter hours of the day. ISO 800, F4, 1/4000
We were privileged enough to witness a chase and kill, as a male cheetah took down a young nyala just next to the airstrip. Although it is never easy being present at the death of an animal, we as observers try to remain unemotional, and acknowledge that it is simply energy moving through the system. ISO 400, F4, 1/2500
Cheetahs are always extremely alert at their kills as they can be so easily chased off by other predators and even vultures. ISO 400, F4, 1/1000
The most beautiful are often the most dangerous, and in the case of the Impala lily, pictured here, the latex from the stem is used as a traditional arrow poison. The flowers provide a stunning contrast to the surrounding browns and yellows of winter. ISO 800, F5.6, 1/250
Photographed by Nick Kleer, Londolozi Ranger