This past week I was lucky enough to drive some guests who were keen to take their photography to the next level and experiment with their camera settings, especially in challenging conditions.
Matt Uys from the Londolozi photographic studio, was enlisted to assist my guests with their photography and this presented us with a great opportunity to enjoy the creative side to a Londolozi safari.
Matt kindly let me borrow one of the Canon camera set-ups from the photographic studio – that any guest visiting Londolozi is able to rent. Together we tackled everything the bush had to offer us; from the often overlooked impala and difficult light of a cloudy day to leopards in amazing morning sunshine and birds galore.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
One of the Ntsevu youngsters gazes towards the moody grey sky. It was a cool afternoon so the lions were quite content to lie out in the open as there was no need to seek shade and the clouds made for some wonderfully soft lighting.
Often we see male wildebeests on their own but this particular male was lucky to have a few females and their young visit his territory. A male wildebeest will try to keep wandering females in their territory and this male seemed to be doing a decent job.
Elephants are always fun to watch. We came across this herd early in the morning while the sun was still low in the sky. The elephants paused to eat some marula fruit that had dropped onto the ground and have a quick dust bath. We were lucky enough to capture the exact moment that this female released her spray cloud into the air, illuminated by the dawn light.
A buffalo bull gives us a thousand yard stare. There has been a large herd of buffalo hanging around the south-western portion of Londolozi, taking full advantage of the lush grass that abounds in that area.
Another bonus of having a big herd of buffalo around is the birds that they bring with them. Yellow-billed oxpeckers are less common than their red billed relatives and it is a special treat to see one out in the open.
Dead trees are nature’s sculptures. This dead Leadwood’s twisted branches against a plain sky made for a unique photograph. Leadwoods – once dead – can stay standing for well over a hundred years and I wonder what things must have looked like when this tree was still alive.
A Comb or knob-billed duck floats across one of the many waterholes that have filled up during the recent rains. Male Comb ducks develop a large disc-like swelling on their bills during the breeding season which coincides with our rainy season.
I really enjoy viewing animals from a distance because you get a chance to see them immersed in their environment. Tracker Life Sibuyi spotted this leopard up in a tree from a long way off and we were just able to catch a glimpse and take a silhouette photo of him before he descend and melted away into the grass.
During the rainy season we are visited by a lot of different water birds, however this red-billed teal is a real treat to see! Described by my Kruger bird book as a “rare visitor to the park”, the teal was a very pleasant surprise indeed. See which other animals you can spot in this photo as well.
The Ximungwe female shares a tender moment with her cub. The pair of leopards had just finished off an impala kill and took some time to play a little before disappearing into the thicket.
A Birmingham male sits up into the breeze. A stong wind from the South had brought with it some rainy weather but that didn’t seem to disturb the well fed male lion too much.
Red-backed shrikes travel all the way from Eurasia to enjoy the South African summers. This male perched briefly on a RussetBushwillow to soak up some warmth from the rising sun. It is amazing to think that this little bird managed to fly over 12000 km to in order to spend its summers at Londolozi.
We don’t often associate leopards with open grasslands in the Sabi Sand Reserve, although this is a notion we should consider revisiting. The White Dam male has staked his claim to a large portion of savannah grassland in south-western Londolozi. Here he uses a fallen over tree to rise above the long grass and survey his territory.
A classic summer shot of a creche of impalas looking towards the camera over a field of String of Stars (the white flowers).
Ominous birds under an ominous sky.
The Ximungwe female’s territory has a prominent hyena den right in the middle of it, so this leopard is forever being hounded by the scavengers. Here she growled at one as she moved away from her termite mound perch to walk towards her cub.