I’m getting nervous.
It gets a bit cliched always writing about the changing seasons and temperatures and colours, so I’m not going to do that. My main concern is that the summer is bringing rain. Well, hopefully. And the rain means mud. And the mud means getting stuck. And that means the Pink Pouch.
Photography in Summer comes with many challenges, not just the mud. Rain can be a worry when it comes to equipment care, and replaces the dust that winter is known for. Summer lighting can be slightly harsher and one has to be out very early to make the most of the conditions. Having said that, the rewards of summer photography can be huge. The aesthetics of the bush during this time are spectacular, and the gold of a leopard’s coat photographed against a verdant green background, apart from reminding me of the colours of the South African national sports teams, has an unrivalled beauty attached to it.
The sheer diversity of photographic subjects in Summer is staggering. Termites emerge, tortoises and chameleons are everywhere, birds flock in from northern climes, and the birth of the impala lambs, wildebeest calves and warthog piglets is a heart-warming event in this harsh environment.
We are therefore sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting for the first real storms to roll in and usher in a new period of photography, where the emphasis starts shifting.
It’s imminent, and the first impala calf should be seen literally any day now.
In the meantime, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The newly named Sand River Female launches herself into the branches of a Tamboti tree, in which she had stashed the remains of her duiker kill. She was full-bellied and snoozing when we first saw her, but the arrival of two hyenas on the scene prompted her to go up the tree and feed. ISO 800, f4, 1/3200s
The Sand River Female again, resting in a Jackalberry tree at dusk. This photo actually has an interesting story behind it – well, for me at least- which I’ll tell you about next week… ISO 800, f2.8, 1/125s
The hyena dens are a wonderful place to spend the afternoon, especially when there is interaction between adults and cubs, like this female playing tug-of-war with her two youngsters. ISO 800, f5, 1/640s
Beautiful light hits a gap in the tree and illuminates an impala ram as he drinks from Tsalala pan. A lone hippo bull can be seen in the background. ISO 1250, f5.6, 1/320s
I foolishly hadn’t checked my settings before taking this photo, and was underexposing by more than two stops from the night before… Luckily I was able to retrieve some of the detail of the elephants in post-processing, but a lot of shots were ruined. A good lesson; check your settings before each sighting! ISO 1250, f3.5, 1/8000s
Close-up of an elephant bull. ISO 800, f6.3, 1/640s
A yawn from one of the Matimba males, displaying some frighteningly long canines. ISO 2000, f2.8, 1/500s
The Piva male was on an impala kill he had stolen from the Tamboti female. Walking near the Land Rover, I hoped he would move past a gap between these two Tamboti trunks. He did exactly that, pausing at just the right moment with his eye visible. ISO 800, f4, 1/640s
Not what you want to see if you are antelope snatching a quick drink from the river; the tail scales of a Nile crocodile. ISO 800, f3.5, 1/1250
The Cub of the Mashaba female pauses before launching itself into a tree in which its mother had stashed a kill. ISO 800, f2.8, 1/2000s
The same cub at a different sighting, also scrambling up a tree to feed on a kill. The fading light made for perfect conditions to try something different photographically. ISO 800, f3.5, 1/6400s
Few of the pans have water in them at the moment, but this elephant calf was making the most of one that did as its herd fed nearby. ISO 250, f8, 1/400s
Photographic opportunities like this don’t come along everyday. One can only hope that if they present themselves, you make the most of them. The Tamboti female in perfect evening light. ISO 640, f2.8, 1/1600s
The floating leopard. ISO 640, f2.8, 1/1000s
Photographed by James Tyrrell, Londolozi Ranger