Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wide Angle Croc

As I am stuck in the office at the moment and do not see myself getting out for at least a few days I thought to go through some pics in our library and share the info on how it was taken and some other interesting snippets over the next few days. A while ago I met up with fellow photographers in the Limpopo province for a short photography trip. One of the most interesting subjects we encountered was this 1.5 meter crocodile. Initially we just snapped away and got the usual portrait shots that one expects when normally photographing a dangerous animal at a distance. Unlike every crocodile I encountered before, this one however didn’t seemed too worried with our presence and allowed a very close approach. Swapping the longer lenses for wide angles resulted in great pics of the animal in its environment. The cold temperatures might have had something to do with its lethargic responses as it slowed down the reptiles movements and at 1.5 meters the reptile looks much bigger through the wide angle than it really is. I never approve of gung ho attitudes where guides endanger the lives of animals, themselves or his guests yet the combination of all the above circumstances played in our favour that day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Change of scenery

The Swadini dam and Blyde River Canyon

We have recently relocated from the west of Limpopo to the east and are now settling into a great village on the edge of the foothills of the Northern Drakensberg. With the Blyde River Canyon, the third biggest of its kind in the world in our back yard and the expansive lowveld stretching out in front of us as far as the eye can see, I get a distinct “kid in a candy store” sensation when it comes to the potential for adventure and wildlife. Work is keeping us quite busy at the moment but whenever time allows I am hoping to explore our own home patch. So hopefully as time goes by we will be able to post all the updates of any interesting adventures in the canyon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Shrike Strike

A grey headed Bush shrike lands near its prey in the leaf litter.

Bush Shrikes are undoubtably one of the most exciting and sought after bird families. Surprisingly they are not closely related to “real shrikes” and are a retiring group of birds. For this reason they are highly sought after by bird watchers and indeed some of the most enigmatic of birds in Africa such as the Bulo Burti bush shrike for instance are known from only a single specimen caught and released in Somalia. The Grey headed Bush shrike on the other hand is probably one of the easiest of the species to see but nevertheless still remain a very exciting bird whenever encountered in the wild. Chances for photographing these birds are even less likely. Imagine our luck when we stumbled upon this scene of it struggling with its oversized chameleon prey. The shrikes killed the reptile early on a winters morning but due to the large size they could not manage to remain in control of their prey and repeatedly dropped in onto the ground. A perfect arena to place a portable hide, set up camera and flash and photograph this seldom seen spectacle.

It locates its reptilian prey and briefly scans the surroundings.

It then proceeds to peck at an open wound...

...gripps it by the neck and disappears into the tangle above.