I think this morning was probably the coldest morning so far on the trip, and I suspect it hovered around 40F just after sunrise. It wasn’t extremely cold, but it does get chilly in an open Land Rover when driving 30mph down a remote road. Our best sighting / experience for the morning had to be a mother rhino and her month-old calf. The little guy had more attitude than anything else. He would eat, challenge our vehicle, go back to eating and then challenge us yet again. When I say challenge I really mean that he would run towards the vehicle with grass in his mouth, stick his head up and turn around quickly to go back to grazing with his mother. It was the cutest darned thing one could ask for.
Since they were grazing in an open field away from a nearby road, we were obviously driving offroad. The problem was that the field was littered with large rocks and boulders, and eventually one ended up underneath our axel. That rock prevented us from moving forward, and took a while to get unstuck. Well, the rhinos were close by and we ended up shooting from outside of the vehicle, hand-held. It’s a cool experience to photograph rhinos from on foot, however this wasn’t what I had in mind this time around. Perhaps we will do a proper on-foot rhino tracking outing before this safari ends. I think my guests would really enjoy it.
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/320 @ f/8, ISO 320
I continued my fascination with oxpeckers, and we took the time to stop at a large herd of buffalo to photograph them and their constant companions, the oxpeckers. Oxpeckers have a fun personality to watch and photograph, and when one waits to see these unique behaviors one can be rewarded with interesting interaction.
Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/160 @ f/5.6, ISO 320
I feel like today we hit our stride, and had some great sightings to be happy with. It’s always a difficult thing for me and the guides who help us out, because we sort of live and die by the quality of sightings that we have. If the sightings are good we are patted on the back and if they don’t live up to expectations we are on the losing end of the stick. What I have to do as a safari leader is to shape expectations on what we can and might see and try to instill in people a realization that nature is beautiful in more ways than how the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery channels portray. In other words a successful game drive doesn’t always have to be about big cats. I hope that my guests go away from each game drive with an experience and knowledge of something they didn’t know about beforehand. It could be about a species of tree, unique mating behavior of a small-ish mammal or a survival strategy of a social weaver bird. Nature is awesome if we take the time to notice.
Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1000 @ f/6.3, ISO 320
Camera bags on this safari are sponsored by Gura Gear, which I started in 2008. Check us out. We make the best camera bags on the planet.
Some of the gear on this safari has been provided by Borrowlenses.com. I rely on borrowlenses.com for both my own needs as well as my safari travelers’ needs. When we need big lenses, cameras or anything else photographic, we turn to borrowlenses.com to help out. They are the best resource in the industry for traveling photographers.