Although a definite hint of winter is present, we have still been treated to a dynamic range of weather recently. This last week has showcased gusty winds yet dead still evenings, blisteringly hot days and sudden build-ups of grey clouds. A temporary cold front is hitting the Sabi Sands and everything either side of the current chilly air and low cloud has provided amazing photographic opportunities.
Predators have taken advantage of the Impala rutting season by targeting exhausted and occupied rams, and the cooler days allowed continued activity well after sunrise. Hot mornings, on the other hand, allowed for harsh light to be used in backlit photographs and interesting winter morning light.
Just outside Varty camp at Camp Dam we have watched a male African Jacana incubate eggs balanced on the lilies for the last two weeks. Eventually, all four chicks have been seen navigating their floating terrain under the close guidance of the male and have proved very difficult to photograph as they quickly seek shelter under his wings whenever a vehicle goes past. Varty Camp Manager Rob Crankshaw and I staked out the area one morning through determination, and managed to get glimpses of the tiny chicks.
The smaller pleasures in nature are what constantly remind me of its beauty. Please enjoy this week in pictures…
This mega male leopard even looks heavier and more sturdy than most. The Anderson male patrols the Manyalethi riverbanks on the trail of the Nanga female. 1/800 at f/5; ISO 400.
Perspective illustrating size; although beyond the Nanga female and slightly out of focus, the Anderson male’s exceptional size becomes evident. The two spent just the one day mating before he left the property and returned into the heart of his expanding territory. 1/2000 at f/6.3; ISO 320.
An old Buffalo bull rests up in the heat of the late morning sunlight, finding comfortable river sand for his heavy body. 1/800 at f/5.6; ISO 200.
Happy staff! During some time off, Ranger James Souchon takes some of the Londolozi staff out into the field for an afternoon safari. As fate would have it, the bumbling staff vehicle happened across a lioness and her cubs which all other rangers and trackers had been looking for the whole afternoon; hence the smiles! Thanks a lot, James… 1/40 at f/6.3; ISO 800.
The incredible iridescence of some birds is very difficult to capture in a photograph. The weather was not too bright to steal a shot of this Burchell’s Starling as it glowed near to us. Any more direct sunlight would have made it nearly impossible to expose correctly on this shiny plumage. 1/250 at f/2.8; ISO 640.
A superb opportunity as the Nhlanguleni female rests and yawns on this fallen Marula trunk. The somewhat secretive female often disappears very quickly, as she did shortly after this moment. 1/320 at f/2.8; ISO 800.
The dense tree line and high canopies above the Tugwaan drainage line make for perfect Owl habitat. However, this massive Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl is dwarfed by the overhanging branches. 1/640 at f/2.8; ISO 1000.
In his famously quiet and humble manner, close friend and tracker, Rob Hlatshwayo, surveys the Sand River from some granite boulders during sunset; another conclusion to a day’s work on tracks for the “professor”. 1/3 at f/4.5; ISO 1600.
One of the two Tsalala cubs, growing so healthily, takes some time to herself after a feeding session. 1/640 at f/5; ISO 500.
A new day and a new life. This Zebra mare had a tiny foal just hours before, and as the sun rose we watched the wet and wobbling newborn suckle and begin exploring its own leg use by stumbling around its mother. An unforgettably special morning! 1/3200 at f/2.8; ISO 640.
The Nkoveni female atop a termite mound produced a beautifully clean and dark backdrop of night sky. Gently lighting her from the front illuminated her so well against the black of night. 1/10 at f/2.8; ISO 1250.
The proud father. Taking on full responsibility for the four chicks, this male African Jacana surveys his surroundings. Closely behind, two of the large-footed chicks can be seen… If you look closely! 1/500 at f/8; ISO 800.
A young and relaxed Elephant bull reaches up to feed on some otherwise out of reach branches. It is a privilege to watch these intelligent and emotional animals go about their daily business. 1/60 at f/2.8; ISO 1250.
Golden light warms this incredible scene as the Inyathini male and his notched ear steals a moment amongst radiant vegetation and a tunnel of glow. 1/800 at f/5; ISO 1000.
Experimenting with light painting, photographers and guests Andy and Carrie Skillen and I chose this mighty Torchwood to illuminate. The Milky Way leant itself as a decent background too… 25,0 sec at f/1.4; ISO 1000.
An Oxpecker and Giraffe wake and rise during another incredible sunrise in the Sabi Sands. 1/400 at f/11; ISO 500.
Which moments did you enjoy the most?
Have a phenomenal weekend ahead.