Trip report: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, November 2013 (Animal edition)

To continue with the trip report to the Kgalagadi in November 2913. Now back to the animals of the Kgalagadi. This young lion entertained us at Kji Kji water hole by looking for the direction of his “take away café”.

 

Lion take away cafe

Lion take away café

(Nikon D800, 200-400mmf4 fixed lens @ 350mm, ISO3200, f8, 1/1000, exposure = 0, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 30 meters from lion)

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Pet 1 768 500k 300d sRGB

Pet 1

(Nikon D800, 200-400mmf4 fixed lens @ 350mm, ISO3200, f8, 1/1000, exposure = 0, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 30 meters from lion)

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While driving from Urikaruus to Kamqua water hole early one morning, we came across two adult lions walking in the river bed. So I decided to be a bit creative and capture this portrait image of one of the loins when he walked past my vehicle.

 

Lion stare  1050 300k 72d sRGB Y&R W

Lion portrait

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO640, f4, 1/5000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 8 meters from lion)

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At Kwang water hole one lion was mating with a lioness of the Kwang pride of lions next to Kwang water hole. Another interesting behaviour – a second lioness approached the water to have a drink but the lion did not like it. So he charged toward her and immediately she showed this type of submission.

 

Lion domination 1

Lion domination

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1600, f8, 1/1600, exposure = -0.33, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 40 meters from lions)

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And how about a Cheetah in the early morning light having drink after a feast during the night. Once again – Cubitje Quap water hole produced.

 

Cheetah drinking water 1

Cheetah drinking water

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO8000, f8, 1/1000, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode)

Take that, ISO 8000 on a Nikon D3S camera!!! The sun was not yet up over the dunes, low light conditions. I was worried about the tail and the front paw, so I decided to stay with f8 but rather up my ISO. Just to make sure everything is in focus. But I know the background will be blurred with f8 on the 600mmf 4 lens at that distance. It worked well, wouldn’t you agree?

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Just passed Kamqua water hole we came across a brown hyena and it decided to sit between the three thorn bushes for a minute or two.

 

It is always interesting to capture giraffes’ drinking water – with the last few drops when they do pick their heads up flying in every direction. I was lucky to get these two giraffes close to each other at Graig Lockhart water hole.

 

Giraffe kiss 1400 300k 72d sRGB R W

Giraffe kiss

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO2000, f8, 1/6400, exposure = -0.33, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 31 meters from giraffes)

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And the month of November is also great to see some of the puppies of the Cape fox. This image was taken at the fox den close to Auchterlonie water hole. One needs to be early at the den because just after sunrise, the puppies will disappear into the burrows only to re-appear after dawn. Usually you won’t see them during the day.

 

Dad and son 1

Dad and son

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO800, f5.6, 1/6400, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 19 meters from the foxes)

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A few hundred meters on the upper dune road just past Kamqua water hole a brown hyena was on the move between the many three thorn bushes – probably towards the water hole. However, it stopped and decided to lay down for a while. We waited and luckily it sat up again (only for a minute of two so that I can get this landscape shot) before moving back into the dunes.

 

Brown hyena landscape crop 1 1400 1MB 300d sRGB

Brown hyena landscape

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO2000, f4, 1/800, exposure = -0.33, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 50 meters from hyena)

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At Polentswa water hole another brown hyena was walking towards the waterhole but after smelling the lions (they had a kill next to the waterhole the previous day), it turned away and moved back towards the dunes.

 

Brown hyena on the move 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Brown hyena on the move

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f8, 1/1600, exposure = -0.33, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 28 meters from hyena)

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A first for me in Kgalagadi – very small BB jackal cubs just next to the road between Cubitje Quap and Kwang water hole. Unfortunately the Three thorn bushes were just too thick but I managed to capture one cub through the bushes. Not a great image but nevertheless, they cannot all be perfect.

 

Pet eyes 768 300k 72d sRGB W

Pet eyes

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO5000, f4, 1/500, exposure = -0.33, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 5 meters from jackal)

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And then the other current favourite action next to Cubitje Quap water hole – BB jackals hunting doves and sandgrouse. I visited the waterhole for four days and eventually I got a decent shot of the jackal. It is so difficult to capture the jackal without six to ten sand grouses around it. Usually there a few sand grouses flying around the jackal because the jackal likes to wait for a big flock to arrive before making its move. More chaos and easier to catch a sandgrouse in the chaos.

 

Missed 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Missed 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO2000, f11, 1/4000, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 25 meters from jackal)

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Also, the background around the water hole is not very photographer friendly – as illustrated in the image below:

 

Jackal catching sandgrouse 1920 300k 72d sRGB light RY W

Jackal catching sand grouse

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO 2500, f11, 1/5000, exposure = -0.67, WB = auto, Aperture mode, 31 meters from jackal)

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But with the necessary patience and watching the behaviour of the BB jackal, one might just get lucky. Like these series of images below – the BB jackal caught the sand grouse around its tail feathers. However, the sand grouse managed to get away – this time without any tail feathers.

 

Almost 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Almost 1

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f5.6, 1/200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 28 meters from jackal)

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Almost 2 crop 1 1920 300k 72d sRGB Y W

Almost 3

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f5.6, 1/200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 28 meters from jackal)

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Almost 3 crop 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

 

Almost 2

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO1250, f5.6, 1/200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunny, Aperture mode, 28 meters from jackal)

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I sincerely hope we have enjoyed the trip reports for 2013 with me – the next trip report will be on my 2014 trips and there are already a few in the pipe-line.

 

Message to take home:

As I’ve mentioned in my previous trip report – I’ve tried not to post the usual images of the Kgalagadi and I hoped I’ve achieved just that. That brings me to the message for this final 2014 trip report post: The more you get out and use your camera, the more proficient you become as a photographer. I’ve been to Kgalagadi many a times by now but every time I do learn something new. Not just about me as a photographer but especially about my equipment – what it can do and what it cannot do. If you do not know your equipment, it is difficult to let your creativity takes over. In the process of learning and using your camera, you will develop a better eye from a creative perspective. It is important that you practise your “creative eye” on a regular basis. Remember, it is not only to maintain it, but also to improve that creative perspective. So, take out your camera and go shooting – even if it is just in your back garden but look at things differently.

 

Until my next trip report – keep on shooting with that creative eye constantly through the camera.

  1. #1 by de Wets Wild on June 30, 2014 - 2:32 am

    Weer n pragtige versameling fotos Willem!

  2. #2 by whk139 on June 30, 2014 - 2:36 am

    Baie dankie, de Wets Wild.

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