Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year competition 2018: Final comments and photos

And another African Geographic Photographer of the Year composition came to an end last week. I was as successful as last year at the end of the day but as you would have read in my previous blog – 17 photos of mine were selected/shortlisted during the weekly selection of photos published in Africa Geographic weekly newsletter. Now let’s look at my final outcome of the completion.

Three photos of mine made it into the Best 101 round:

1.

Honey badger on carcass 1

Kwang waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 2000, f4, 1/3200 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 6meters from honey badger

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2.

Hyena water drop

Cubitje quap waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 800, f5.6, 1/2500 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 19m from hyena

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3.

Lioness in rain

Near Kamfersboom waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 640, f8, 1/320 second, exposure compensation = 0, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 40 meters from lions.

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One photo made into the sem-final round but it did not make it amongst the winner/honourable mentioned photos – the semi-finalist photo:

1.

Hyena water drop

Cubitje quap waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 800, f5.6, 1/2500 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 19m from hyena

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Now lets’ look at some of my favourites photos that were submitted to the judges but were not considered to be good enough to be included in the weekly selected images as decided by the judges during the weekly shortlisting process.  Therefore, the photos below were not considered for the last few rounds of the competition.

My 13 favourite photos this year not selected by the judges in alphabetical order are:

1.

Baboon side mono

Kwaronge private nature reserve: ISO 800, f8, 1/2000 second, exposure compensation = -1.00, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun. 15 meters from baboon

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2.

Cheetah drinking triangle

14th borehole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 640, f8, 1/2500 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 63 meters from cheetah

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3.

Heron dove neck

Kij Kij waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 640, f5.6, 1/3200 second, exposure compensation = -0.33, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 32 meters from heron

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4.

Jackal cub begging

Cubitje quap waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 2000, f4, 1/3200 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 21 meters from jackals

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5.

Leopard hide and seek

Sabi Sands nature reserve, Greater Kruger National Park: ISO 2000, f8, 1/1600 second, exposure compensation = -0.3, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 12m from leopards

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7.

Leopard pulling kill

Sabi Sands nature reserve, Greater Kruger National Park: ISO 1000, f4, 1/8000 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, fill in flash used, 20 meters from leopard.

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8.

Lion king charged

Kij Kij waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 800, f8, 1/2500 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 50 meters from lion

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9.

Lion giraffe head

Near 13th borehole waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 250, f8, 1/800 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 50meter from lion.

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10.

Meerkat asks love

Tswalu private nature reserve: ISO 1250, f11, 1/800 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, distance from meerkat = 15 meters.

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11.

 

Meerkat red nose

Tswalu private nature reserve: ISO 400, f4, 1/2000 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, distance from meerkat = 5 meters

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12.

Owl at dawn

Just north of Nossob camp, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: ISO 5000, f4, 1/1600 second, exposure compensation = -0.3, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 12m from owl

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13.

Wild dog warrior BW

Khwai concession nature reserve, Botswana: ISO 4000, f4, 1/2000 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun. 8 meters from dog

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What do you think – do you agree with the judges? Now you can be the judge and have you own opinion regarding the photos posted below. In any case – let’s go for the next competition because not all judges are looking the same type of images.

 

Message to take home:

As one enters a photography competition especially nature photography competitions, the question can be asked: “What are the judges looking for in a nature/wildlife image?” Surely they will be looking at the technical aspects and the post-processing of your photos because it is fact that you have to have good technical photographic skills to become a good photographer. However, when in the veld (field), do not let all the technical aspects prevent you from getting a “WOW” photo especially if the environment/elements are not in your favour. If you come across an interesting sighting, try and put the technical aspects in the back of your mind instead of thinking about it all the time. Remember, sometimes minor imperfections can contribute towards that uniqueness of your photos and not just having another perfect photo like everybody else already have. Try something else by having some interesting elements or technical imperfection included in your image – also to give a more realistic perspective of the real-life situation you’ve captured.

Until next time – keep on shooting

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Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year competition 2018: 17 short listed images

And so came another Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year to an close. The closing date for the last entry was April 30, 2018 and the last weekly finalists were announced on Friday May 04, 2018 in the weekly newsletter. Every week after the results were announced Johan Botha (very good photography fried or ours) and I had a nice email communication regarding the different selection made by the judges and I am surely going to miss it. Therefore, I though I want to share the 17 images of mine selected by the judges to be included in the next round. These images were published in the weekly news letter of Africa Geographic. Now you can be the judge but rather enjoy the images with me:

A. Photos from Chobe National Park, Botswana

1.

Fish eagle up

2.

Gull with fish

B. Photo from Khwai concession area, Botswana

3.

Wild dog wounded

C. Photo from Serengeti, Tanzania

4.

Serval backlit mono

D. Photo from Masai Mara, Kenya

5.

Wildebeest help me

 

E. Photo from Duba Plains, Botswana

6.

Hippo tongue

F. Photos from the Free State, South Africa

7.

Flamingo take off (Welkom)

8.

Weaver feet mono (Bloemfontein)

G. Photos from Greater Kruger National Park

9.

Leopard alert mom

10.

Leopard evade

11.

Leopard queen mono

12.

Leopard side mono

H. Photos from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa/Botswana

13.

Honey badger on carcass

14.

Hyena chin drop

15.

Jackal tongue reflection

16.

Lioness sleeping

17.

Ostrich in dust BW

Message to take home

Entering a photography competition can be a lot of fun but one has to be very careful. Why do I say such a stupid thing in the second part of the sentence above? A competition is a competition, right? Unfortunately photography competitions are not that straight forward and simple. Remember, judges are human being and not one human is alike. We all have different opinions and specific preferences when it comes to photos. I’ve been a judge in photography competitions myself and I know how difficulty it is for judges in these photo competitions. As judges, we have look and scan through hundreds or even thousands of images only to select a few what are considered the best of the crop. And then to top it all – only one can be the winner and/or receive the winning medal.

What makes a photo a winner? It depends on the judge of the day. In order to select only a few best images, judges can be very critical and some are just looking for any reason whatsoever to remove an image from that list. Nitpicking the little details such as looking for only the technical correct photos is the easiest way to screen and remove photos from the list. The result is that you as the photographer also will become nitpicking when it comes to taking photos. Now you start to understand why I said: : “…be careful” in the beginning.

I know a few photographers who get nervous about making the slightest mistake, and then they immediately discarded the photos that are technically not perfect. They do get upset about the “failures” and not enjoying their photography anymore. Such photographers start to question their own skills, continuously making excuses for their photos while being totally over-critical about their images. Instead, they should enjoy the photography as a hobby or even as work and be on the constant look-out for that WOW moment to capture that winning image even if the elements are not in his/her favour.

Until next time, keep on shooting!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trip report – Young leopard at Lijersdraai, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Gosego – February 2018)

During our recent trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in January/February 2018 we came across an interesting sighting of a young leopard in the remote part of the park near the newly build Lijersdraai water hole and picnic spot. It was very special sighting – this sighting of the 1-year (about) old male leopard called Gosego (son of Safran). Wanda Wentzel on Faebook assissted me with the correct identification – thanks again Wanda.

 

As we approached the mentioned waterhole around 07H30 one morning driving from Polentswa campsite, another vehicle was coming from the north and was just entering the road around the tree next to the waterhole. The vehicle drove slow around the tree and exited the waterhole. “OK, we are still out of luck – again nothing at this great new waterhole.” my wife and I said to each other. Despite being pessimistic, we entered the same road to the waterhole and drove around the tree. We stopped opposite the waterhole just to make sure we are not missing something. I just wanted to re-start my vehicle when I saw a strange shape at the far end of the waterhole. We were looking directly into the sun making it more difficult to see. But only then did I see the tip of the tail. And there he was – so elusive as only a leopard can be. And remember the waterhole is just about 25m from the road with no bushes, grass of boulder around to hide. He was lying flat next to the waterhole and we almost missed him (07:35). You can measure Gosego against the small water pipe on the right hand side of the image

Gosego lying flat as we arrived

Nikon D5 & Nikkor 600mmf4 len, 1/2500 sec, f4, ISO 320, -0,67 exposure compensation, 28 meters from the leopard

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After about 6-7 minutes he lifted his head and start looking around.

2. 

Head up

Nikon D500 & Nikkor 600mmf4 lens = 900mm, 1/2500 sec, f4, ISO 320, -0,67 exposure, compensation, 28 meters from the leopard

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After another 5 minutes wait, he sat upright and started to explore the area on his side of the waterhole. I had to play around with the settings of my camera because of the sun was right behind him – not easy to get it right the first time. First my wife and I was very anxious and we hurry just to get the first shots on the memory cards. Then we realised that this leopard is here to stay and unlike other leopards – here to entertain us. So, we started to change camera settings.

3.

Small & Upright

Nikon D500 & Nikkor 600mmf4 lens = 900mm, 1/2500 sec, f4, ISO 400, 0 exposure compensation, 28 meters from the leopard

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After he drank some water and scanned to areas around the waterhole (around 08:00), he got up and walk about 30 meters away from the waterhole – just to lay down underneath some three-thorn bushes.

4.

Amongst the bushes

Nikon D5 & Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/1600 sec, f4, ISO 200, -0,67 exposure, compensation, 32 meters from the leopard

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We decided that that was it because he has moved into the bushy part of the riverbank and was lying down. So we decided to leave the sighting and drove to the nearby picnic spot (few hundred meters from the waterhole) to have some well-deserved tea and rusks as well as a comfort break. After our tea break (around 08:25) we returned to the waterhole – just to do follow-up on Gosego. To our surprise, he just stood up and was on the move – in the direction of the picnic spot.

5.

Walking towards picnic spot

Nikon D5 & Nikkor 300mmf4 lens, 1/1600 sec, f4, ISO 200, -0,67 exposure, compensation, 15 meters from the leopard

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So we followed him back to the picnic spot. He walked around the toilets and to our surprise again, he jumped on the poles keeping the water tank of the ground.

6.

Gents

Nikon D4 & Nikkor 300mmf4 lens, 1/1000 sec, f8, ISO 640, -0,67 exposure compensation, fill in flash off camera, 12 meters from the leopard

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He was very relaxed but it looked not very comfortable. Nevertheless, he did sleep for a while.

7.

Sleepy

Nikon D5 & Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/1000 sec, f4, ISO 200, -0,67 exposure compensation, fill in flash off camera, 12 meters from the leopard

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We stayed with him for another 45 minutes and then decided to give him space. So we left him lying on the poles in the shade of the toilet and water tank and we drove off.

We returned to following three days to this area looking or him but we did not see him again.

 

Message to take home:

Leopards are one of my favourite animals and I am sure of many other people as well. That is why this sighting was so special to me. Also that is why I want to share the images with you even though the images are not competition-level images. That brings me to another important matter in photography:

Remember that people who photograph animals or scenes they are passionate about are more likely to come up with some interesting photos and even those “wow” photos. Reason being is that they want to capture and show their readers the other side of the scene/animal as well – not just the usual photo. That is why these types of images will not always be of a photography competition standard because it would not always be possible to get the technical aspects of the image perfect. Technical correctness will also not matter to the photographer but the story telling element that he/she would like to share would be more important. These types of photographers let their feelings dictate the moment and the outcome on the memory stick while the rest will become secondary or are even totally ignored.

 

Until next time, keep on shooting and let your feelings and the outcome dictate the image that you want to capture

 

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Newly developed Nossob premium camping site – an inside look

Our first camping experience in the newly developed Nossob Premium Camping sites a week or two ago. I saw a lost of questions on social media regarding these newly developed camp site. I visited SANPARK and Nossob rest camp accommodation website before we left but I could not found satisfying images and information. So, I’ve decided to do a post with cell phone images and short descriptions on the sites.  I hope it would be helpful to address some of your questions.

There are 10 sites – some are more private than other (up to 50 meters away from other sites) while some are next to each other (10-20 meters from each other). Each site has it own ablution facilities consisting of:

  1. A open kitchen area with a sink – hot and cold water and more than enough packing space (be aware of the BB jackals and crows – they will steal your food, even from your ammo boxes. We lost two meals before we’ve realised how clever the BB jackals became – rather keep it in your trailer). One florescence light for this kitchen are. Please note that there are not extra power plugs anywhere on site. Also no other utensils or equipment.
  2. Lockable ablution area consisting of 3 rooms – 1 separate toilet, shower and wash basin room. Please take note that there are no tables, shelves or storage facilities in these three rooms – please take along a mobile/folding table or cupboard to put stuff on.
  3. Moveable braai cleaned every day by the staff – very nice but I’ve used my own small braai
  4. Huge dustbin – emptied every day with a black bag placed in the bin by staff members
  5. Solar geyser – very nice hot water and powerful shower (I can only speak about site #7)
  6. Take note that there are not artificial shaded areas like in the old Nossob camping areas where there are no trees

The new camp sites are located on the southern side of the Nossob rest camp area. The entrance to the premium sites is an opening in the fence almost halfway between the eastern (river side end of rest camp area where camp sites without power are situated) and western point (previous exit to Bitterpan and hanger next to the swimming pool). Please take note that the premium camp sites are part of the bigger fenced Nossob rest camp area with small acacia tree amongst the sites. No big trees like in the old Nossob camp site – be prepared for some harsh sunshine/light in summer.

Lets look at the site itself:

  1. The entrance to the site: There is a road running from north to south with the 10 sites situated on both side of the road. Site #1 & 2 near the entrance to the camping area (north and the sites with best trees for shadow) and  #10 being the site in the most southern part of the area (most private site). This image was taken from the eastern side of site #7 from my trailer’s kitchen with the ablution rooms for this in the left hand corner of the image. Not much room to manoeuvre and I can see why only two vehicles per site are allowed.

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2.  The ablution facilities’ building: Each site has this type of building

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3. The open but covered kitchen area: We had a rain storm one night and wind blow the rain all over the place – luckily it only lasted a few minutes but everything in the kitchen area was wet. Therefore, be careful what and where you store things in this kitchen area. Like I’ve mentioned before – also be aware of the BB jackals at night. You can see where my ammo boxes were placed – the jackals pulled it down and tried to “escape” with it during the night. And then there are the crows during the days!

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4. The entrance to the ablution facilities: As you can see, the entrance to the rooms is lockable (with the key in the main door). The toilet is the first door to the right and the shower is the second door to the right. The short corridor ends in the washbasin room. Note our small folding table – no other shelves or storage facilities available. So bring your own.

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5. The shower: We really enjoyed the shower – very powerful!

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6. The washbasin room: At the end of the short corridor with hot and cold water

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7. Wide angle of camp site itself: This is the area in front of the ablution building – just to give you an idea or the area available for parking.

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8. Shade area: This is the shade area of camp site #7 – not much to talk about. As you can see – not big trees like in the old Nossob sites. You need to carefully manoeuvre your trailer into the site to utilise the shady areas available. For most of the sites, one trailer will have a bit of shade while the second trailer will have to be parked in the sun.

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9. Temperature inside my trailer: Evidence of the temperature inside my trailer with everything opened that can be opened and isolation in the roof (thanks for that because I am sure the temperature would have been in the 40s). Be prepared with a fan or two and use the home-made Kgalagadi air-con system(the wet towel system – it works when everything else fails)

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Until next time – keep on shooting!!!

 

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Klaserie Sand River Camp: a 2-day trip report

I received two nights accommodation, in the above-mentioned lodge in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, as prize for winning one of the categories in the annual Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year competition for 2017.

When I was notified by the competition organisers that my prize was 2 nights at Klaserie Sand River Camp I visited the camp’s website which was easy to navigate and gives ample information about what to expect. My wife and I decided to use the prize during our first available free time, which was at the end of September 2017. We contacted the lodge and Lee-Ann was very helpful and responded promptly to our request for a booking for the end of September 2017. Lee-Ann also send us a detailed description of how to reach the lodge.

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We arrived the afternoon a bit later than expected at Klaserie but we were received and greeted in a very warm fashion along with very nice welcome drinks. The lodge has room for 10 guests and the rooms and public areas are nicely laid out. There is Wifi available in the public areas. There is also a water hole in front of the lodge, which was very active in the time we were there due to the fact that it was at the end of dry season.

We were given an orientation of the camp after which we were shown to our chalet to do bit of freshening up and then we went for our first afternoon game drive with our guide David. It was the end of the dry season.

After spending some time with precious game we were alerted that a group of wild dogs were about 20 minutes away and they were starting to get active. We reached the sighting just in time to find the puppies starting to play. Unfortunately it was a cloudy afternoon and sun as already setting – nevertheless we got some interesting photos.

It was a group of young wild dogs cups playing while waiting for the adults to return from their hunt:

Wild dog pups playing 1

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/3200 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 6400, 21 meter from animal

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Some of the pups were very curious about our vehicle:

Wild dog pup approaching

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/2500 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 6400, 15 meter from animal

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What about some close-up portrait photography while the pups are on the lookout for the adults to return?

Wild dog pup portrait

Nikon D500 camera with Nikkor 300mm lens = 450mm, 1/1250 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.3, ISO 3200, 7 meter from animal

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We spend the rest of the late afternoon with them until the adults arrived. The puppies were very playful but ever so watchful for any signs of danger.

Wild dog pup watchful

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/800 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 2000, 25 meter from animal

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Unfortunately the adults were not successful during their afternoon hunt, so the puppies left with the adults to continue hunting. We tried to follow them but it was already dark and they went into a thick bushy area. We therefore stopped to have something to drink under the rising stars. Afterwards we drove slow back to camp listening to the night in the veld coming to life. Arriving back in camp we had an excellent dinner – thanks to Steven, the chef.

The next morning we were on the game drive vehicle before sunrise looking forward to some interesting sightings.

The start of a new day – a spur fowl greeting the rising sun:

Sunrise

Nikon D500 camera with Nikkor 300mm lens = 450mm, 1/8000 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.3, ISO 3200, 30 meter from bird

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Once again, the game drive delivered great excitement. A male leopard was found about 30 minutes away from where we were looking for interesting sightings. The message was what it was being “mobile”, so we had to rush to the sighting. When we arrived at the sighting, the leopard stalking a steenbok – a first for us. We stayed with the leopard and waited patiently but ever so weary not to get too close in order not to interfere with the hunt. One of the advantages of the Klaserie Sand River Camp is that it is located in one of the more remote areas of the Klaserie which is beneficial in the sense that we never experienced a congestion of cars at a sighting. We thus had the privilege to stay in this sighting without pressure of making way for other cars.

The steenbok being stalked:

Steenbok lucky

Nikon D500 camera with Nikkor 300mm lens = 450mm, 1/6400 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.3, ISO 640, 30 meter from animal

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The stalking leopard about 15 meters away from the steenbok:

Leopard stalking

Nikon D500 camera with Nikkor 300mm lens = 450mm, 1/5000 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.3, ISO 800, 30 meter from animal

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It took the leopard about 30 minutes to get close to the steenbok – about 15 meters – but not close enough. Eventually it charged (?more out of frustration) but the hunt was unsuccessful. The disappointed leopard standing in the same spot where the steenbok stood a few seconds ago. One can almost see the frustration in his body language and looks:

Leopard disappointed

Nikon D500 camera with Nikkor 300mm lens = 450mm, 1/6400 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.3, ISO 640, 30 meter from animal

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Afterwards the leopard “took to the streets” patrolling his territory allowing us to get some nice photos:

Leopard on termite mount

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/8000 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 800, 32 meter from animal

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Leopard look back

Nikon D500 camera with Nikkor 300mm lens = 450mm, 1/6400 sec, F2.8, Exposure = -0.3, ISO 320, 20 meter from animal

When he crossed over to the forbidden land (which we were not allowed to drive on), it was time for us to enjoy a cup of tea and coffee with rusks on a nearby termite mount – nice refreshments after a morning’s “hard” work!

Klaserie tea

i-phone 6

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Afterwards we made our way slowly back to camp enjoying the bird life around us. At the camp we were treated to a hearty breakfast on the deck overlooking the waterhole in front of the camp.

Klaserie breakfast

i-phone 6

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 The rest of the day was spend in a relaxing manner downloading and photos, as well as catching-up on our sleep.

The afternoon drive started with some general game including spending some time with a herd of elephants:

Elephant baby feeding

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/1000 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 2000, 32 meter from animal

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Elephant portrait

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/1000 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 2000, 32 meter from animal

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Followed by a trip to one of the highest point in the vicinity – where I tried to take a panoramic photo without a tripod.

Klaserie Horse shoe

Panoramic photo consisting of 5 portrait style photos which were taken handheld

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Afterwards we were lucky enough to come across the same wild dog pack we saw the previous evening next to a dam. It was interesting to see how cautious they are and they did not to just go straight to the water to drink – probably had previous encounters with crocodiles.

Wild dog water

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/500 sec, F8, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 2500, 50 meter from animal

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Still weary of the danger beneath – watching the water with caution from the safety of the dam wall

Wild dog dam wall

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/800 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 2500, 84 meter from animal

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This time the pups were not so playful as the pervious evening. The adults however were trying to encourage each other to start with the evening hunt. Shortly afterwards they took off as group to hunt before darkness caught up with them.

Wild dog licking

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/500 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 2000, 32 meter from animal

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By this time it was overcast and already very late in the afternoon – so I tried to play around with a slow shutter speed to create a more interesting photo (one of the most difficult shots to capture in photography – a lot of luck involved and you cannot ask the dogs to run again and again until you get it right). Sometimes you only have one of two opportunities to capture the moment. This image were captured as they took off to hunt.

Wild dog panning

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/2500 sec, F4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 6400, 40 meter from animal

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We tried to follow them as they were hunting but it was just too difficult keeping up with them in some bushy territory. So we gave up and drive slowly back towards camp.

The evening was concluded with a special guest giving a lecture to staff and friends regarding a rhino protection project – shipping rhinos to Australia for conservation purposes. Again we were treated to an excellent dinner.

The last morning was cold, windy and rainy. Nor much to see except for a leopard kill up in tree and a red-crested Korhaan saying farewell to us from a termite mount.

Korhaan song

Nikon D4 camera with Nikkor 600mm lens, 1/2000 sec, F4, Exposure = 0, ISO 400, 15 meter from animal

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It was pity that the trip only lasted two nights but it was definitely a great success. Klaserie Sand River camp is a little germ in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and it is definitely worth visiting if one is in the vicinity or if one is looking to spend some time relaxing in the Bosveld.

Once again, a special thanks to Klaserie Sand River Camp for offering this price as well as for Africa Geographic running the Photographer of the Year competition.

 

Message to take home:

This was our first trip to this area of the Greater Kruger National Park – the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. For wild life photographers – it is important to get away from your home, your well known environment and even your comfort zone (including the photography areas you are familiar with). Exploring new territories like we did during this trip (thanks to Africa Geographic and Klaserie Sand River Camp) is a great way to find inspiration and try to get some alternative images. The Greater Kruger National Park is not always seen as the ideal photography destination but then that is the purpose of visiting other destination  – a world away from your comfort zone. Remember, when visiting a new photography destination, think outside the box, break out of your rut and use alternative methods to capture those new innovative images.

Until next time, keep on shooting

 

 

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PSA International Photographic Salon/Exhibition medal winners in 2015

The Photographic Society of America (PSA) is running an annual photography competition for all the Nature/Wildlife photos that won a medal in all of its accredited photography salons/exhibitions.  During the year of 2015 I’ve won a total of 16 medals in photography exhibitions worldwide. In the mentioned annual Nature Image of the Year I did not won the photo of the year but I’ve received 3 Certificates of Merit awards. Here is the result of my 16 medal winning photos:

And the 16 photos are:

1.

Weaver on your back

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2.

Family of three

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3.

Jacana chick with lunch

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4.

Weaver air fight

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5.

Wing touching water

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6.

Lioness water please

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7.

Mum with cub tail

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8.

Three puppies playing

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9.

Trunk near water

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10.

Aggression 1

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11.

Lioness and cubs 4

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12.

The Hug B

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13.

Quiver tree hill 2

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14.

Lioness and cubs
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15.

Early morning drink

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16.

Last light

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Message to take home:

I was very fortunate in 2014 when it comes to international photography competitions especially with the number of medals won. However, photography is definitely not just winning competitions or taking that perfect photo.  Have you ever look at an image of yours and the first thing you notice is not the subject but the background detail that’s barely noticeable but distracting to you? Be warned, this is when you should start to realise that you are too much focused on perfection. Be careful: It can and will drive you crazy eventually. If you keep focusing on only getting photos for your camera club or photo exhibition,  you’re probably trying to get the most perfect and clean image possible. Which is to some extend acceptable but  it is rarely possible in Nature or Wildlife Photography. As you can see from the images about – not all images do have perfect backgrounds. Remember, you should take whatever Nature is offerring to you, and an interesting moment can tell an interesting story at the end of the day irrespective of the background. Nature is not always perfect, so don’t through away those imperfect photos. Those imperfect shots can add to that feeling of being in Nature. And your ultimate goal in Nature photography should be to get your reader to feel part of Nature (with you) when viewing your images.
Until next time – keep on shooting!!!

 

 

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Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017 final results

Well, well, well – one of my 9 images and an image of mine that was almost not taken (Thanks Hougaard Malan for the persuasion) won the Travel/Scenic category of the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017 competition. Thank you Africa Geographic for organising the competition and the great prices – much appreciated. Looking forward to next year’s competition.

The image:

 

 

Detail of the image:

Exact location:

Kokerboomkloof camp site, Richtersveld, South Africa

Description:

This photo was taken amongst the Quiver trees in the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park – close to Kokerboomkloof camping site. It was a moonless night (moon rise was around 21H00) with no light pollution because there are no nearby towns. Just after sundown but still enough light to ensure a great composition, we did the necessary setup of the cameras (including the bulb mode on camera). I waited for the Blue hour to pass (just before 19H30) and then pressed the shutter release. We left the cameras (open shutter) on walked back to camp (about 1km) for a lekker braaivleis. After supper (after about 90 minutes) the camera was collected and after another 90 minutes of in-camera noise reduction, I was able to view the image on the back of my camera for the first time. I was very pleased with the results. The Southern cross was perfectly placed thanks to Hougaard’s calculation and  the camera captured just enough light and stars before moonrise.

Date and time taken:

June 15, 2014 @ 19H27

Equipment used:

Nikon D800 camera, Nikon 17-35mm lens @17mm, Benro head on Benro tripod, cable release used, ISO 200, f8, 5372 second (90 minutes using bulb mode), Manual priority, White Balance – sun

 

There was even an article in our local Volksblad newspaper:

More details on the competition and results:

http://magazine.africageographic.com/weekly/issue-152/photographer-year-2017-winners/
http://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Algemeen/medikus-word-reisfotograaf-van-jaar-met-skitterfoto-20170531

Message to take home:

Interesting piece of information I’ve read on the Internet and and I though it is so true. I hope it is applicable to my star trail image above:

“I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good”

 

Until my next blog – keep on shooting!!!

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