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.

_______________________________________________________

 

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

 

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

_______________________________________________________

 

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

 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

_______________________________________________________

Elephant portrait

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________

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

 

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

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

_________________________

2.

Family of three

_________________________

3.

Jacana chick with lunch

___________________________

4.

Weaver air fight

__________________________

5.

Wing touching water

__________________________

6.

Lioness water please

__________________________

 

7.

Mum with cub tail

__________________________

8.

Three puppies playing

__________________________

9.

Trunk near water

_________________________

10.

Aggression 1

_________________________

11.

Lioness and cubs 4

_________________________

12.

The Hug B

__________________________

13.

Quiver tree hill 2

__________________________

14.

Lioness and cubs
_________________________

15.

Early morning drink

_________________________

16.

Last light

_________________________

 

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!!!

 

 

Leave a comment

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!!!

1 Comment

Trip report: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, April 2017 (Easter weekend)

Well, well, well a trip report at last after a long period of silence. My wife decided that we needed a break after a few stressful weeks at work. So, we decided to have a quick trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) over the Easter weekend (no additional leave days to be used!!!). Because of the heavy traffic on our roads usually experienced over the Eater weekend, the KTP was our only option. Since 2010 we’ve only been to the KTP once over the Easter weekend and it was so busy. And once again, the park was so busy that it was impossible to get accommodation anywhere on such short notice. Towards the end of 2016 we stayed at Polentswa Lodge and we were very impressed. So, this time around we decided to stay at Rooiputs Lodge (Ta Shebube) and what a pleasant stay. It was really relaxing.

In April the KTP gates close at 18H30 in the afternoons and open at 07H00 in the mornings. So, we arrived on the Thursday in the park just before gate closing time and we left the park on Monday after a quick drive to Gunong waterhole and back. KTP had a heavy thunderstorm on the Wednesday just before we arrived, so there were water puddles all over the place. Once you see the water puddles, you know this will be a slow visit when it comes to sightings. But we still enjoyed our stay – see my Message to take home below. Even though the temperatures dropped to about 7 degree C in the mornings. We were so glad that we were in our own vehicle and not in the open game drive vehicle in the mornings.

This was the second time that I’ve taken my Nikon D500 to the Kgalagadi. The camera is a great asset with its crop factor sensor – especially on the 600mm lens. It gives you a final reach of about 900mm. And with a 1.4 convertor, you get a reach of 1275mm and the quality of the image is till very acceptable. Just what you need in the Kgalagadi. And I did use it frequently on this trip as you’ll see from my images.

Just a few images from our trip below – just to show you what to expect if you do go to the park for a long weekend. Every day we only drove between Twee Rivieren en Gunong waterhole and we did not even drive over to the Auob river on the western side of the park.

Enjoy the trip with us

 

1.

Secretary bird

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/2000 sec, f5.6, Exposure = -0.33, ISO 640, 50m from bird

One of the regular birds to be found in the Kgalagadi and one of my first images taken during our trip

_____________________________________

2.

Swallowed tailed bee-eater

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/5000 sec, f8, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 1250, 9m from bird

Another of the regular birds to be found in the Kgalagadi. One needs to increase the f-stop if you are close to an object to try and get everything in focus especially the tail. ______________________________________

3.

Ostrich

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/3200 sec, f4, Exposure = -1.33, ISO 125, 63m from bird

Many otrishes to be found between Twee Rivierien en Kji Kji water hole. This image was taken at Leeudril waterhole with the setting sun from behind the bird

_____________________________________

4.

Meerkat child love

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens + 1.4 convertor = 1275mm, 1/500 sec, f9, Exposure = -1.33, ISO 250, 21m from meerkat

At the entrance of Rooiputs, a clan of meetkats had a temporay den. I found them one afternoon enjoying the last bit of sunrise before they disappearing into the burrows. The next two dayss they did not return to this speciifc den.

______________________________________

5.

Meerkat help me

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/3200 sec, f4, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 125, 21m from meerkat

The next morning we did a quick drive to Kji Kji waterhole but we returned to wait for the meerkats to appear because we know they were there. And they apperared just after sunrise, warmed up a bit and then started to their foraging exercises for the day. However, they did not come back to this specific den for the next few days.

______________________________________

6.

Porcupine side ways

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens + 1.4 convertor = 1275mm, 1/1000 sec, f8, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 320, 84m from porcupine

Another first for us after visiting the park for almost 7 years – a porcupine in daylight. Between Kji Kji and Melkvlei water holes. At first he was on the other side of the river bed and that was the reason why I’ve put the 1.4 convertor on my camera and lens. The old saying is so true: “Being at the right place at the right time”.

______________________________________

7.

Porcupine close up

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens + 1.4 convertor = 1275mm, 1/1000 sec, f8, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 320, 84m from porcupine

All of a sudden the porcupine decided to cross over to our side. Luckily we were the only vehicle in the sighting and I was bale to manoeuvre our vehicle accordingly. It looks like the porcupine was in some sort of a fight because of the blood on its nose. It all happened so quickly – it was not possible for me to even remove my convertor from my camera and lens. The beauty of having a second body (D4 and 200-400mm lens on the passenger seat next to me). It took the porcupine about 4 minutes from our first sighting to cross the dune and disappear.

______________________________________

8.

Young ground squirrels

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/800 sec, f7.1, Exposure = 0, ISO 320, 12m from squirrels

You will definitely see a lot of ground squirrels in the park but not very often will you see young one warming up early in the morning

______________________________________

 

 

9.

Black backed Jackal

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/1600 sec, f6.3, Exposure = -0.33, ISO 320, 10m from jackal

Also the ever-present BB jackals and on this trip we saw a lot of them. Always nice to stop if they are close to the road – like this one and practise some portrait photograpghy

______________________________________

10.

Lion

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/5000 sec, f8, Exposure = -0.67, ISO 800, 50m from lion

Over the long weekend we saw about 7 different lions – always a pleasure and an enjoyment to see what they are up to. This year the grass was a bit high, so photographgy was not easy and one had to wait for the opportnities.

______________________________________

11.

Gemsbok

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/8000 sec, f11, Exposure = -1.0, ISO 640, 106m from gemsbok

Early in the morning the sun gives an opportunity to take some backlight photos – you just need to look for subjects on the edge of the dunes

______________________________________

12.

Springbok

Nikon D500 & 600mm lens = 900mm, 1/6400 sec, f11, Exposure = -1.0, ISO 640, 105m from springbok

And a springbok provided us with another opportunity for some backlight photography

______________________________________

Message to take home

 

Well, looking at the reason why we decided on short notice to take on the long road (800km) to the Kgalagadi for only a stay of 4 nights, I’ve realized that this message I’ve read is so true:

“Nature photography is extremely therapeutic if you can reap enjoyment from it.”

Because of a few stressful weeks before our trip, we decided to put our camera equipment in our vehicle and took on the long road to our favourite park. Even if it was just for a few days. And believe me, it was worth it – within a day or two we were so relaxed and focused on nature and photography that we once again realised that being alone with a camera in the natural world is definitely a great way to wind down and forget about the work. But just remember:

“Take photos not to see the result, but to enjoy the process”

 Until my next trip report – keep on shooting

Leave a comment

Africa Geographic photographic competition 2017: Outcome of my images submitted

I must admit, it has been a long time since my last post but here we go again. Africa Geographic is running a photographic competition for the last few years and this year was no acceptation. Every week any photographer can submit as many photos as he/she like free of charge via their website or via email. There are three categories:

  1. Wildlife
  2. Traditional Culture
  3. Travel/Scenic

Every Friday about 15-20 photos are selected as finalists and published in Africa Geographic weekly newsletter. The completion is running for a few weeks and after the closing date (April 26, 2017) 101 photos are selected from the 300+ weekly finalist to go through to the final judging process. Judges select the winners and runner-ups in each of the three categories but there is also an overall readers’ winner as determined by the number of votes of the readers.

I’ve entered about 40 photos and I had 9 photos selected as weekly finalists. Last Friday the list of 101 photos were announced and below are my three photos that were selected as part of the 101 photos:

 

My three finalists in the 101-image list:

1.

Richtersveld star trail

Lens = 17mm, ISO 200, f8, 5371,6 second (89,5 minutes), 2m from tree

This photo was taken at amongst the Quiver trees in the Richtersveld – 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, we did the necessary setup of the cameras and then walked back to camp for a lekker braaivleis. After supper (after about 90 minutes) I returned to collect the cameras

_____________________________________

2.

The jackal and the vulture 6

Lens = 600mm, ISO 1000, f8, 1/1000 second, 63 meters from birds and jackals

This photo was taken from the vulture hide at Giants Castle in the Drakensberg. While waiting for the Bearded Vultures to appear, we witnessed this type of interaction between a black backed jackal and two Cape Vultures fighting over a piece of meat.

______________________________________

3.

Leopard head down

Lens = 600mm, ISO 4000, f4, 1/1250 second, 12 meters from leopard

This image of a female leopard was taken in the Sabi Sand reserve (Londolozi) while she was coming down a tree after sunset to start hunting for the evening.

_____________________________________

The following six photos were weekly finalists but did not make it into the list of 101 finalists:

 

The other weekly finalists:

1.

Father love

Lens = 600mm, ISO 1250, f6.3, 1/2500 second, 15 meters from meerkats

This photo was taken near a burrow of a clan of meerkats. Some of them were enjoying their last bit of foraging for the day. These four meerkats were making use of the last sunlight of the day to get some warmth in their system before the sun is about to disappear behind the dunes. One young meerkat was looking for some affection from an elder

_____________________________________

2.

Lioness and cub 4

Lens = 1275mm, ISO 1000, f11, 1/1600 second, 40 meters from lions

This photo was taken at Leeudril water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park around 06H50 in February 2013. I followed the lioness for a few kilometres very early one morning as she and her two cubs were walking towards the water hole. They drank water for about 10 minutes and they gave me a few opportunities to shoot them in perfect light – the early golden hour.

______________________________________

3.

Chameleon moon

Lens = 200mm, ISO 1000, f2.8, 1/60 second, 2.5 meters from chameleon

This photo was taken during a night game drive in the Mashatu Nature Reserve, Botswana. We came across a chameleon resting on the branch of a dead tree. One has to look very carefully to see these little creatures at night. I used a double exposure technique that is possible to do in-camera (a specific setting on the camera is used). First an image is taken of the chameleon on the branch with a flash and then an image is taken of the moon. The two images was combined in-camera automatically. So I did not manipulate the image in Photoshop – the photo was created in-camera. Not very easy get the composition of the chameleon and the moon right the first time

______________________________________

 

4.

Eagle eye

Lens = 850mm, ISO 2500, f13, 1/320 second, 8 meters from eagle

Eagle eye – this close-up image of an Martial eagle was taken near Houmoed waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The eagle was resting on the ground underneath a small acacia tree and it allowed us to get to about 7 meters from it. If looks could kill!!!

______________________________________

5.

Jackals fighting high

Lens = 600mm, ISO 2000, f8, 1/4000 second, 32 meters from jackals

This photo was taken about 2km south of Kji Kji water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park around 09H00 in the morning. During the night, a group of lions killed a gemsbok and when we arrived at the sight, there were two lions still eating. Around the killing was about 15 black backed jackals lying waiting for the lions to leave so that they have a bite. And this is what happen when the lions leave the kill – jackals trying to establish dominations around the kill.

______________________________________

6.

Owlet housekeeping

Lens = 570mm, ISO 2000, f18, 1/1250 second, 4 meters from owlet

One of the resident Pearl spotted owlet around the Graig Lockhart waterhole the the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was cleaning out its nest by removing what was left of a kill – the leg of a mouse. Interesting to note that it did not just drop the remains out of the nest. It took the leg away from the nest to drop it some distance away from the nest.

______________________________________

Message to take home

Now that you’ve seen my 9 weekly finalists, you’ll be the judge if three images made it into the 101-images lists are my best three images. And with that request comes a warning – be careful that you are not swept away when it comes to photographic competitions. Competitions and especially judges are looking for specific photos or types of photos.

 

Do not get into the habit of just taking images for competitions because each competition, and for that matter each judge, is different. You will only get frustrated and remember: A happy photographer is the best photographer. Perfection and taking the perfect shot should not your ultimate goal. Forget about competitions and do not become a machine by taking photos for competitions. Such approach may cause your photos to start to all look very similar and even similar to other photographers’ photos. Also, without enjoyment you might start to lose your passion for photography. Enjoyment and just being there to capture the moment should be your ultimate goal. Photography is this type of hobby that allows you to be creative – be yourself, take image for yourself and keep on enjoying it!

 

Leave a comment

Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – September 2016

It has been a long time since my last post but hopefully I would be more active on my blog this year. Lets continue where I left my blog last year and that is with the outcome of my photos submitted for judging at our local camera club.

Just again the website of our camera club for those who are interested (you do not have to live in Bloemfontein to be a member of our club – we do have members from all over South Africa:

Bloemfontein camera club:

http://www.bkk.co.za/index.php/en/home

 

Method of judging – there are 3 judges (usually senior members of the club) giving a score out of 5 for each image:

1 out of 5 = Not up to standard, 2 out of 5 = poor standard, 3 out of 5 = up to standard, 4 out of 5 = above standard, 5 out of 5 = excellent

 

The three scores are added together to give the image an overall score:

1-6 out of 15 = not good, not an acceptable standard = no promotion points is gained by member

7-8 out of 15 = bronze award, below standard but acceptable – 1 promotion point is gained

9-10 out of 15 = silver award, up to standard – 2 promotional points are gained

11-13 out of 15 = gold award, above standard – 3 promotional points are gained

14-15 out of 15 = Certificate merit award, excellent photo – 4 promotional points are gained

 

A. Nature category

Just a reminder – no manipulation of images using any type of computer software is allowed in this category – so what you see was what I’ve captured (and I do not like the manipulation part of Photoshop or photography for that matter).

1.

impala-backlight-1024-w

Impala backlight – scored 13/15 (Gold award)

Nikon D3S camera, Nikon 200-400mmf4 lens @ 360mm, Gimpro window mount and head fix on the door of my vehicle. ISO 320, f5.6, 1/5000 second, exposure compensation = -1.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun. 70 meters from impala

The image was taken last year near Satara camp in the Kruger National Park. The previous day my wife saw the opportunity while we were driving back to camp late afternoon to capture the silliette of an impala against the setting sun while all the cars returning to camp creating a very nice dust cloud. Not very easy to capture the image and one’s timing should be perfect because there is only a window of about 10 minutes when the sun is at the right angle. And the returning cars and impalas should be there in good time. The next day we waited for about 30 minutes in the same spot next to the road and luckily the sun, cars and impalas played their part and I was able to capture this image above. Just something different from the ordinary wildlife photo. And it is possible to get a unique shot of an impala in the Kruger National Park – it just needs a bit of thinking and creativity.

_____________________________________

2.

lion-and-cub-backl-1024-w

Lion and cub backl – scored 12/15 (Gold award)

Nikon D4 camera, Nikon 600mmf4 lens, Gimpro window mount and head fix on the door of my vehicle. ISO 400, f8, 1/2000 second, exposure compensation = -2.33, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun. 25 meters from lions

On the very same road (S100) as the previous photo, we came across a lioness walking next to the road with her cub. Unfortunately on the wrong side of the road, but hey, one needs to take every opportunity coming your way. Time for some backlight shots and the image above is an example thereof.

______________________________________

3.

Baboon half 1080 W

Baboon half – scored 10/15 (Silver award)

Nikon D4 camera, Nikon 600mmf4 lens, Gimpro window mount and head fix to hide. ISO 800, f8, 1/2000 second, exposure compensation = -1.00, Aperture priority, Fill in flash, White Balance – sun. 15 meters from baboon

Another image taken during our trip with Albie Venter to Indlovu River lodge and this image was taken from one of the hides. Just an interesting perspective that the 600mm lens will give you with its very swallow depth of field creating a very nice blurry fore and background. Not really an image that will get a high score from the judges, so I did expect a low score but it was worth sharing the image with my fellow photographers.

______________________________________

B. Pictorial category

There are just the two categories in the camera club that the photographers can submit images for judging. In this category, anything type of images (you are allowed to manipulate images for this category) can be submitted but preferably not Nature/wildlife images.

No image submitted because I submitted all three images allowed in the Nature category

______________________________________

C. Set subject category

This is an additional category for photographers to submit 2 specific images as stipulated in the guidelines for the evening. More emphasis is place on how the photos relate to the set subject than technical correctness of the image. However, these images do not contribute toward the promotion points accumulated by members in order to move through the various levels in the club.

No image submitted by me this time around.

______________________________________

 

Message to take home

I am sure you have seen a lot of excellent wildlife and nature photos on the Internet and in magazines. Some of those photos are just portrait images of wildlife while others are action type photos. All of them are, however, timed to perfection. Just like the very first image posted in this blog. Images like these and mentioned in the beginning are not just lucky shots or captured accidentally. These photos were captured because the photographer identified the opportunity beforehand and then waiting patiently for the right moment to capture the shot. It is just our human nature to want to drive around the park for example to see what is around the next corner. However, sometimes it is necessary to stop, wait and sit patiently waiting for the right moment. Next time you stop next to a photographer in a park, asking him/her what is the attraction/sighting and if you get a non-specific answer, you will understand why. It is all about patience and waiting for all the elements to come together.

 

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

1 Comment

Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – August 2016

Last night we had our monthly camera club meeting for September 2016 and I haven’t even posted the results of the month of August yet. So, here it is:

Bloemfontein camera club:

http://www.bkk.co.za/index.php/en/home

 

A. Nature category

Just a reminder – no manipulation using computer software is allowed in this category – so what you see was what I’ve captured (and I do not like the manipulation part of Photoshop or photography for that matter).

1.

catch-in-last-light-1400-300k-72d-srg-flip-w

Catch in last light – scored 12/15 (Gold award)

Nikon D3S camera, Nikon 200-400mmf4 lens @300mm, handheld, ISO 800, f4, 1/6400 second, exposure compensation = -0.67, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 30 meters from eagle.

An image taken a few years during our trip to Norway. Not very easy capturing these eagles taken the fish from the water handheld and shooting from a small motorboat. Satisfied that I was able to get a decent shot.

 

_____________________________________

2.

lioness-wake-up-1080-w

 Lioness wake up – scored 10/15 (Silver award)

Nikon D4 camera, Nikon 600mmf4 lens, Gimpro head on power clamp fixed to the seat of the vehicle. ISO 800, f8, 1/2000 second, exposure compensation = -1.00, Aperture priority, Fill in flash, White Balance – sun. 19 meters from lions

The image was taken in the Greater Kruger National Park – Sabie Sands. We followed the two lioness and the cubs for a while until they came to rest on a small height. It was possible to get a nice shot at eye-level with the lioness not interested in entertaining her cub. Missing out on a better score from judges because technically it is not a perfect image (I can just hear the comments of the judges – overcast, bad light, no eye contact, no catch-light in the eye, etc., etc.). Luckily it doesn’t bother me – I like the story telling element, so did judges of one international and one national photo competition.

______________________________________

B. Pictorial category

There are just the two categories in the camera club that the photographers can submit images for judging. In this category, anything type of images (you are allowed to manipulate images for this category) can be submitted but preferably not Nature/wildlife images.

1.

blind-runner-1024-w

Blind runner – score 11/15 (Gold award)

Nikon D4 camera, Nikon 600mmf4 lens, Gimpro head on tripod, ISO 1250, f8, 1/4000 second, exposure compensation = -1.33, Aperture priority, White Balance – sun, 50 meters from athletes.

An image taken during the national athletics championship held in Bloemfontein earlier this year – an image of yet another world record holder from Bloemfontein namely Louzanne Coetzee. Taken late in the afternoon around one bend where the sun was shining on that specific spot and the rest of the track was in shadows.

______________________________________

 

Message to take home

People do have different opinions regarding camera clubs. Some tend to stay with the camera clubs and submit their images every month. Other photographers do get frustrated and angry with the scores and critique from the judge and leave the club. No matter what your opinion regarding a camera club is, just remember the following:

It is important to seek critique on your work as well as to try and understand how people feel about your work. However, your main aim with photography should not be to take images for the purpose of getting many likes as possible. You aim should be to take images that you like, enjoy and that means something special to you. Yes, it is normal for you to try and take images that people will enjoy, but you should not go out into the field with that approach/your main aim. Do what you like to do and enjoy it yourself. It is just human nature that some people will not like your work, and more than often it will be the judges of a photography competition or the judges at your local camera club. Don’t get distracted or try and change your style just to satisfy the judges. Eventually such an approach will catch up with you and you will get discouraged with photography.

 

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

Leave a comment