Having been an avid follower of The Week in Pictures myself prior to joining Londolozi, it is always a privilege to share some of my own experiences from this little paradise now that I can proudly call this my home.
This week I draw inspiration from a few different areas: i) Bruce Arnott’s display of achievements with his fixed 400mm lens from last week; ii) Callum Evans’ account as to how the blog continues to bring him inspiration on a daily basis (something to which I can relate) and iii) Alex Jordan’s black and white photo feature, which influenced my editing this week.
For me, this week has been one for the sunrises. As the sun is rising later each day, we are currently lucky enough to be out on morning game drive when the sun starts to break above the horizon. This has provided for some breathtaking moments out there, and has also provided some fantastic golden light for capturing the special sightings that we have been exposed to this week.
Following on from last week, the lions have not ceased to disappoint. The Birmingham males have been seen a number of times, still associating with the Ntsevu lionesses. The remaining three lions of the Tsalala pride were seen hunting near to camp more than once. Elephants have been plentiful as they are drawn to the fruiting marula trees. Leopard sightings have continued to please, with one notable occasion being when the Tamboti female happened across the Ximungwe female (previously known as the Mashaba young female – look out for a feature on her next week) resulting in a tremendous fight that left both leopards slightly scratched up.
Without further ado, let us let nature do the talking.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The full moon came and went in the last week. Here a pair of Wahlberg’s eagles was perched in a dead tree providing the perfect opportunity to capture not only the waxing moon, but also a pale and dark morph of the same eagle. f5,6; 1/500s; ISO800.
This bull hippo was seen wandering around the edge of this waterhole for an extended period. We hypothesise that he may be new to the waterhole and was hesitant to climb straight in with the rest of the pod, in fear of having an aggressive reception from another bull or from the mothers with their calves. f5,6; 1/80s; ISO800.
A Birmingham male lion looks on in the direction he is intending on moving. A spotlight cast a shadow on one side of his face, while perfectly illuminating his eye and part of his mane, creating quite a mysterious feel about this image. Feeding off the black and white feature recently posted, this image tends to work better without colour as it enhances the feeling of unknown. f5,6; 1/80s; ISO2000.
The newly named Ximungwe female pauses her grooming for a moment to listen out for any other animals that may have been attracted to the scent of a kill that she had hoisted in the tree above her. The open branch that she was lying on, along with soft lighting from a slight angle, enabled for this image to be captured, with very minimal editing needed. There are no distractions drawing one away from her beautiful face. f5,6; 1/100s; ISO1600.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
Another moment where a bird was perfectly positioned with the moon behind. A black-shouldered kite sits perched on a dead tree looking out for potential prey, such as mice, as the now waning moon slowly descends towards the horizon. f5,6; 1/8000s; ISO800.
We encountered the Tsalala pride lying in the middle of the road on the way home late one morning. In true Tsalala pride style, they were hunting in the full sun. Here the Tailess lioness is pictured with her one-year-old male cub, who will learn invaluable lessons from following and watching in on the hunts that his mother undergoes. f5,6; 1/1000s; ISO200.
From the same sighting as above, the younger Tsalala lioness is seen casting her attention towards some impala moving in the thicket several hundred metres away. We soon lost view of them as they headed straight into thick bush. We waited on the other side of the thicket hoping to see them come out where the herd of impala was feeding, but after about 40 minutes decided to go and satisfy our own hunger. That same afternoon the pride was found a good distance away, indicating that they must have had an unsuccessful hunt and moved on to try a new area. f5,6; 1/500s; ISO200.
A few of us decided to go out on a clear evening before the moon rose this week to play with star photography. This dead Brown Ivory tree provided the perfect subject to be lit up with an LED torch, giving the image a subject in the foreground to compliment the breathtaking milky way in the background. A collaborative effort, mostly by Alex Jordan who was helping us out here. I can only claim responsibility for pushing the trigger button, thanks Alex for shining the torch and sharing your settings. A wide angle lens (18mm in this case) with a wide aperture is essential here. f1,8; 20s; ISO1600.
You never know what is around each corner out here. Tracker Bennet Mathonsi stopped me as he had spotted two sets of leopard tracks along the road. Upon further investigation he worked out that it was a mother and cub that had been walking alongside each other. He pointed out where they had lain down and where they had been playing. One’s imagination begins to reinvent the scene once the evidence has been pointed out. We walked together to see where the tracks cut off the road as they were quite fresh. While Bennet was looking towards the road ahead, I cast my glance sideways, only to have my heart stop. A leopard was not more than five metres from us, trying to hide in a bush, but failed to do so as its whole tail was sticking out in the open. We pretended not to see it and hurriedly went back to the safety of the vehicle, from where we enjoyed a phenomenal sighting of the Ingrid dam female’s cub. She soon came out of hiding once we were back in the vehicle. f5,6; 1/200s; ISO400.
The Ingrid Dam female’s cub, from the same sighting as above. A simple switch to black and white draws ones attention away from the grass and straight towards the striking eyes of this young leopardess. f5,6; 1/320s; ISO400.
She is occasionally seen around the far north west corner of Londolozi, and is generally quite relaxed around vehicles.
On our last evening drive together, my guests and I were fortunate enough to follow a pack of wild dogs through thick bush as they split up on a hunt. At one point we were forced to give up our chase and take a long loop around a deep drainage line, as the vehicles were not able to drive through where the dogs had run. Luckily enough they came out on the other side, and promptly climbed into this small wallow of water where they drank and swam, cooling off from the heat of the day. f5,0; 1/320s; ISO1000.
The next three images were all taken on the same morning as the sun rose higher and higher. A small herd of wildebeest was silhouetted against the rising sun as they descended down from the open crest where they had spent the night. Golden moments like this are what make each day special out here. f5,6; 1/5000s; ISO800.
A male waterbuck heads towards a group of females nearby, as the sun starts breaking the line of the horizon. Waterbuck are typically seen in small groups close to water, normally with one adult male that dominates a group of females. f5,0; 1/200s; ISO800.
Up on a crest, now with the sun a bit higher in the sky, the shade of the marula trees let through just enough light to illuminate the impressive mane of this bull kudu. The light was still low enough to provide a hazy look to the bush in the distance, adding great mood to the scene. Definitely worth the early wake-up call if you ask me! f5,6; 1/400s; ISO800.
A very full Birmingham male lion pants heavily as he digests the meal he has just eaten. Three male lions and four lionesses were fighting over the remains of a waterbuck kill when we arrived. The sounds coming from these animals as they fought amongst themselves was incredible. One can see the scars on the nose and below the eye of this male from this and previous aggressive interactions. f5,0; 1/320s; ISO400.