I love this time of year for the sheer variety of lighting conditions it presents you with. Whereas in winter one can luxuriate in clear skies and golden light pretty much daily, the summer season brings with it clouds, some harsher light, occasionally rain, and all manner of scenarios which, although often testing, force you out of your comfort zone as a photographer and necessitate a better understanding of how your camera works and how to make better use of it in different situations.
From lightning storms to dark clouds and a zebra running in terrible light, you often have to think on your feet to capture something worthwile.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Tamboti Young female has been venturing further and further afield of late, we think in an effort to mate with the 4:4 male. Her forays have taken her into dangerous territory, moving through areas patrolled by older, larger females, but so far she has remained unscathed. Here she snatches a drink from Lex’s Pan. f2.8, ISO 640, 1/500s
The Piva male and the rarely seen Xidulu female pause in the middle of a mating bout. Reports are that the Xidulu female recently raised a litter to independence, so we presume she is now looking to reproduce again. f2.8, ISO 320, 1/1600s
The young lions of the Mhangeni pride sip from a rainwater puddle. Eye-level shots can be very effective in drawing the eye into a photo, and thankfully in this instance the puddle was on the old abandoned Selati railway line, which in many sections is raised, meaning we could park just next to it for a nice low angle. Unfortunately a slight ridge in the way meant we weren’t able to capture any lapping tongues in the shot. f2.8, ISO 800, 1/1600s
Tracker Mike Sithole enjoys the sighting… f14, ISO 800, 1/160
The not-often seen Tutlwa female. She was eyeing out a herd of impala in the distance, and unfortunately after a prolonged stalk was spotted when within mere metres of the herd. The alarm was given and her chance was lost. f2.8, ISO 640, 1/800s
An African Scops Owl, my favourite bird. The name ‘Scops’ comes from the Latin ‘scopae’, which means broom, and refers to the bristle-like feathers that grow down over the bird’s beak. f2.8, ISO 1250, 1/1000s, Spot metering
The 5:5 male steals a glance behind him to where some wildebeest were alarming at him. f2.8, ISO 1000, 1/320
A baboon looks up from a drink at a small pan. Most herbivores have to be very cautious when coming down to water. Lowering their heads to drink means reduced awareness, and the chance of a predator rushing in unseen increases exponentially. f5.6, ISO 320, 1/2000s
The Tamboti Young female on one of the forays mentioned earlier. She was following the scent of a male, way to the north of the Sand River, an area she has never been viewed in before. The impala in the background were making an incredible amount of noise with their alarm calls, but the leopard remained unperturbed, being only interested in the male. f2.8, ISO 400, 1/8000s
A marabou stork sits atop a dead leadwood like an old forgotten Christmas decoration, as brooding skies indicate the approach of a storm. f2.8, ISO 800, 1/500s
The storm breaks, rolling in over Londolozi. The rounded horizon is a result of the fish-eye lens I was using, as I had unfortunately not brought my standard wide-angle with me on this evening. f18, ISO 2000, 30s
With a shutter speed of around 1/60s an effect like this is relatively easy to capture, although it is generally very hit-or-miss whether you get something usable. Simply focus on the head of the animal and pan with it, shooting as you go. This zebra stallion was chasing a younger male away from his harem. f18, ISO 640, 1/60s
The Mashaba female’s surviving cub on an exploratory climb up a dead ivory tree. Shortly after this she realised she had bitten off more than she could chew, as her climbing skills are not yet fully developed, and she made a very undignified descent to reunite with her mother. f2.8, ISO 800, 1/640s
A curious face, full of whiskers, comes to investigate the Land Rover. f5.6, ISO 800, 1/500s
Photographed by James Tyrrell
Ezequiel they have been continuing to spend a lot of time close to the Londolozi camps, crossing to both sides of the river. They have pursued the Tsalala young males once or twice recently, but as week the pride was at full strength again – all 7 members together!