Monday, 28 February 2011

The King of Beasts

My favourite place on earth is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. It is paradise especially for wildlife photographers. This pic of a young male lion I took last year and unfortunately my focus was not spot on however, the light was so beautiful on his face that I decided to rescue the image.

And now for something completely different...

A pretty ordinary shot of a dragonfly but enhanced I think, by the bokeh effect in the background.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Heaven forbid

I have taken off the names of the reserves in which I have taken the photographs. I naively put on the names without thinking about the consequences. Stupid. Very Stupid.

Very worrying trend

I see according to the audience stats on this blog that there is a very worrying trend of people from Vietnam who are visiting my page especially after reading this the other day:

South African officials were in Vietnam Wednesday to discuss ways of curbing the illegal trade in rhinoceros horns used in traditional Asian medicine, a conservation group said.
The South Africans are involved in enforcement against the rhino trade and were to meet their Vietnamese counterparts, said Traffic, the British-based global wildlife trade monitoring network, which organized the trip.
The two nations aim to increase collaborative law enforcement, it said.
"Vietnam has been increasingly implicated as a main driver of the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia, and a major trade route has emerged connecting illegally killed rhinos in South Africa with consumers in Vietnam," Traffic said in a press release.
While Asian rhinos have likely been eliminated in Vietnam, partly because of poaching for their horns, there are still important wild rhino populations in Africa, especially South Africa, Traffic said.
"It's vitally important to scale up Africa's law enforcement efforts and link with Asia in the fight to save the world's rhinos", Tom Milliken, regional director for Traffic in East and Southern Africa, said in the statement.
"We'll only win this war if both sides align against the criminal syndicates behind this trade."
Vietnamese media reported earlier this year that police seized about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of ivory near the border with China, after recovering hundreds of kilograms last year. Much of it was tusks illegally imported from Kenya.
Traffic says rhino horns are sold in Vietnamese traditional medicine shops, hospitals and online. Elsewhere in Asia the horns are also believed to cure a range of ailments, the group said.

People from Vietnam if you are here just to look at the images then WELCOME, but if you have other intentions then you are NOT welcome.

Eye contact of the cheetah kind.

This image was the conclusion of one of the most exciting experiences I ever had in the Okavango Delta. The tracker on our vehicle spotted the remains of a dead animal on the road, but wasn't sure how it had died because he couldn't see any tracks. Not satified with not knowing the answer he wandered off for about fifteen minutes and returned saying that it was a cheetah, and it had taken off away from the road into the bush. With that, the ranger followed the tracker's directions stopping every now and again to provide a commentary on what the cheetah was doing and where he was going. "Look he has stopped here, lay down for a while, sat up, swished his tail and moved off this way." For a good 45 minutes we followed the spoor until we saw him, under a bush and watching our every move. It was an amazing thrill to actually track an animal and find it - such a feeling anticipation and not knowing if we are going to locate it.

Love Bite

A little interaction between a female Impala and her offspring. Took this picture at a litle reserve just a few kilometres from us - Tala Game Reserve. When I zoomed up on her face during post processing  I could see the perfect reflection of our vehicle in her eyes.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Zebra abstract.

They all look the same to me - well luckily they don't otherwise zebra foals, who only have a very short time to imprint with their mother's stripes, would be orphans.

Uniquely striped

I love taking pix of Zebra. For one thing they so photogenic with their black and white stripes but they also have an in-built symetry lining up and creating patterns with their coats. It's interesting to note too, that every single zebra has its own pattern like a human fingerprint, unique to each animal.

Prehistoric mother and child - White Rhino

DON'T KILL THESE ANIMALS FOR THEIR HORNS or as trophies (but that's another story).

Friday, 25 February 2011

How do you say 'uh-oh' in rhino?

Black Rhino

The same black rhino as the image below. We watched this chap calmly browsing while all the time getting closer and closer to the vehicle. Eventually hewas standing next to the vehicle and sniffed the trackers shoes - we all sat stock-still not daring to breathe. After a couple of minutes he wandered away and we all let out a massive whoosh of pent up adrenalin and excitement.

The Black Rhino - more precious than ever

Black rhino and resident Oxpecker

Save the rhino for heaven's sake

According to the latest edition of Africa Geographic, one rhino was killed every 26 hours in 2010.  The latest person to be caught smuggling rhino horn has been sentenced to 10 years. Not enough - I think they should cut his 'horn' off.

One of my favourite images taken during a storm over the Drakensberg Mountains. This was part of a crash of 11 white rhino who carried on grazing despite all the drama in the background.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Maliba Mountain Lodge In Lesotho where the light and the mood changes 100 times a day.

The deck of the lodge is a great place to chill except when you have to get up and take photographs of the changing light that is.
The review for Trip Advisor

At least part of our Maliba Lodge experience was the journey through the Golden Gate, and a night in Clarens before reaching our destination. The drive through sandstone cliffs lit by the late afternoon golden light is a photographer's dream and not to be missed by enthusiastic 'snappers.' The magnificent scenery continues all the way to lodge with many more photo opportunities as long as you have a tame driver who will stop for you!
The situation of the lodge, nestled in a valley between the mountains, is breathtaking and is a view that can be seen from the verandah of every suite and most especially from the deck of the main building. We had a friendly welcome from all the staff, and it was quite clear that they all work at the lodge with a deep sense of pride. Every duty is performed with a genuine smile and that one aspect alone sets Maliba apart from other lodges where the staff can seem cold and unconcerned about the quality of their service.
Activites - well, at best you can sit, chill and admire the view (or take photos as the light on the mountains changes a 100 times a day) or for the more energetic, take a pony ride, a hike along one of the many walks to waterfalls and other view sites or a swim in one of the natural pools. So take a book, a camera, sun screen and walking shoes and that just about covers it.. Oh yes, and, dont worry about keeping warm in the colder months. Every beautifully appointed room is complete with underfloor heating, as well as a fireplace, electric blankets and a heated towel rail. And...I haven't mentioned the food. Well, the most discerning diner will not be disappointed here either as the meals prepared by the chefs is an experience in itself. Nearly every meal is a work of art - in fact you're not sure whether to eat it or photograph it - I did both.

Sterkfontein Dam on the way to Lesotho. There was something about the light that day - more pastel shades than the usual sharp, saturated colours of Africa. There were many photo ops along this dam but eventually had to resort to taking pix out the window :(  Next stop Clarens for the night. This pic should of course come before the Golden gate ones - oh well.
 we go.

Ok. So this is my first BLOG, or photolog really as I hope it will be more about the photos than me rambling on. The first images will be of my journey to Maliba Mountain Lodge in Lesotho, passing by Sterkfontein Dam and the Golden Gate National Park. It is a burden sometimes being a photographer. Not to myself but to other occupants of the car. In this case my husband. If I see something that I want to photograph I have to stop - but it oftens ends up with almost mourning the loss of a good photo opportunity as the driver has run out of patience! What is a girl to do?

The afternoon light catches the glorious sandstone cliffs of the Golden Gate National Park.