Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Maasai Mara Migration

The cloud cover and dramatic filtered light made for great wide angle attempts, something fresh from the normal tight images of crossings. 
2015 was the 12th year I have visited the Migration since my first visit in 2004. The place just never seems to disappoint and indeed this year was no exception. Sightings are consistently amazing and below follows a few images with some thoughts behind the shot.

A slightly more conventional crossing image.
This is the type of image that everyone wants from the Mara. The problem comes that too often the wildebeest is viewed from above and the image is taken from a high angle. Here we were fortunate to get the action from a relatively low angle. Not going in too tight, although not too wide made this image work. But what clinched this for me is the leaping juvenile against the depth of the herd.

A Martial Eagle taking off with its recently caught Banded Mongoose 
Some images are made and some are just taken. Here is a good example of the latter. For years I have been looking for an image of a Martial Eagle mantling over a Gazelle fawn, something that does happen from time to time in the Mara. When we found this eagle sitting in the grassland during mid morning, I thought my luck was in. Parking a way off all camera setting were checked and we slowly approached. When it took off it wasn't a Gazelle but a Banded Mongoose. Still a great bit of action. 

Cheetah with Thompson's Gazelle fawn. 
The Mara is probably the best place to witness Cheetah kills. I have been unlucky in the sense that most of this action I have witnessed happened whenever all photographic light have disappeared. This morning was the exception to the rule as the Cheetah made her kill in great subdued morning light.
A mother Leopard keeping a watchful eye on a distant Hyena as her cub seeks comfort close-by. 
We were really fortunate to find this mother with her three month old cub on afternoon. And typically the only sightings were obscured my grass. Only when darkness fell did the leopards move into the open. The light was all but gone but the great low light capabilities of today's cameras allowed us to photograph them.

Leopard cub.
Next morning we were back at the leopard den looking for an image in great light. Being first on the scene we found the cub again in the thick grass. Fortunately whenever another vehicle appeared the cub would dash for the den and keep an eye on the approaching "danger".

Lion cubs in playful mood

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