Trip report: Chobe River, Kasane (Botswana) – Aug 2012 (Part 3 – The Fisherman’s’ Choice)

The third and last part of this trip report on Lou’s boat on the Chobe River was an interesting part of the photographic safari. Veronica mentioned on their Facebook about all the birds and reptiles with their (fish) catches they saw yesterday (Sunday) on the river. Well interesting enough, we had the very same experience during our trip on the Chobe River. And that is why I called this last part of the trip report the “Fisherman’s choice” as it is you as the fisherman to make a choice of your favourite catch of the day. And here they are (like they always say “in no particular order”.

 

We saw this African Darter trying to fly away with its catch but shortly after take-off it drops the fish.

 

 (Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO800, f5.6, 1/3200, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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And then it was the turn of the Grey headed gulls and the struggle to swallow one dead fish. It started with one Gull who discovered the dead fish behind our boat. It seems like the fish was too big to swallow and the bird struggled to swallow the fish. In matter of seconds there were a bunch of other Gulls fighting over the fish. And what a period of entertainment – all the actions happened in the air and on the water! As soon as one Gull tried to swallow the fish, the other attack him or her and he/she had to get rid of the fish dropping it back in water. Just for the next Gull to pick it up, fly away while trying to swallow it. Only to be attacked by the other Gulls and then to drop it back into the water – for the next Gull to try and fly away with it. Only after a few minutes one Gull managed to swallow the fish. But we had lots of fun trying to catch some of the action – believe me – easy it was not. Here is a series of one Gull picking it up, try to swallow it and then getting rid of it again.

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO400, f5.6, 1/2500, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO400, f5.6, 1/2500, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO400, f5.6, 1/3200, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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Next up was another African Darter – this time swimming to a branch to enjoy its meal the old-fashion way – throwing it up in the air to try and swallow it head-first. But unfortunately this time one of the fins of the fish caused the African Darter considerable trouble. Also after a few minutes it accidently dropped the fish in water (inexperienced?), dived into the water to retrieve the fish but reappeared without the fish. Looks like another one got away. Well, so much action and photo opportunities during he struggle to swallow the fish that Henry actually warned us to watch our memory card in the cameras.

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor  = 850mm, ISO640, f8, 1/1250, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor  = 850mm, ISO800, f8, 1/1250, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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And then there was the Pied Kingfisher. Well actual, several of them tempting us to take photos of them while they proudly showing to us their catches .

 

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO400, f5.6, 1/1600, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO500, f8, 1/3200, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode). This Kingfisher, with its catch of the day, even joined us on the Skimmer Island while we were taking photos of the Skimmers. It landed next to the Skimmers just to show off, teasing us with some difficult shooting opportunities as we were focused on the Skimmers (luckily I got the shot) and then took off.

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(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO500, f5.6, 1/4000, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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And then I decided to try something totally new and what seems impossible to me before: To capture the Kingfishers diving into the water and coming out of the water. Wow, what a challenge to try and take such a photo from the boat. I studied the birds for a while and worked out my strategy. And there it was – one of the photos I took of the Kingfisher diving and coming out of water almost at the same time. The photo was taken while the boat was cruising making it much more difficult to get a focus point on the Kingfisher. Just a bit too far from the boat but nevertheless, I caught “a piece of action.” Mission accomplished.

 

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor = 850mm, ISO640, f5.6, 1/5000, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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What a surprise when I saw the results of my next try the evening on the laptop (not sharp and the focus not on the bird but …… I’ve tried) – coming out of the water with a fish. Not too bad for a first timer. Well, hopefully there will be a next time.

 

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor  = 850mm, ISO800, f8, 1/3200, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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Finally we saw this little malachite kingfisher with its catch – not very often that this little bird gives you an opportunity like this as they are very small and very quick.

 

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor, ISO1600, f5.6, 1/4000, exposure = -1.00, WB = auto, Aperture mode)

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Now it is up to you make your choice – the fisherman’s choice!

 

Message to take home:

 

A personal lesson learned/stressed while struggling to catch the Pied Kingfishers diving into the water: (a) study and learn something about your subject, (b) then you can anticipate its next move (c) and prepare yourself accordingly but (d) never give up/surrender – (e) keep and trying and practising until you’ve got the shot (even if it is not perfect – at least it is a start).

 

And this conclude yet another, what I think was a successful trip to the Chobe River. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip report as much as I did enjoy the trip as well as putting together the images for this trip report. Once again, thanks to Henry and KT for their guidance and support. Hope to see you in the near future.

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