Today we were chased by a bull elephant. It was really cool. It is amazing how fast a Land Rover can go with short notice. And it’s also amazing how fast adult male elephants can run when they are in musth.
Glad to be safe-
We did have a great morning with a bull elephant who turned out to be our most memorable sighting of the day. Whenever we got anywhere near him he would come out of the trees to ‘greet’ the vehicle, but we would back way off and try it a few minutes later. We were always had a safe escape plan, and also planned for his own escape route, but it was fun to approach him slowly from a distance just to watch his behavior. We never endangered ourselves nor did we intentionally agitate him and it was good fun to see how he would close the distance between us once he noticed we were somewhat near him.
We had a pride of lions just outside of camp, and when I mean outside of camp I mean 100 feet away from one of our rooms. They weren’t very interesting to watch, as they were just lying around passing the time until their next meal walked by.
We found a small journey of giraffe around one of the watering holes, and photographed them drinking water. It’s tough to get these types of shots, because one needs to be either right in front of them or to the side of them. All other angles just don’t work. You also need to have a high shutter speed to get the water dripping from their mouth as they pull their head away from the water, and I think 1/1600 is a good minimum speed to consider. I love shooting giraffes in this way, because you know they are relaxed enough to put their long necks down for a long drink of water. It’s difficult to shoot them, though, as the tendency is to use too much focal length and next thing you know it you cannot get their whole body and neck in your frame when they quickly lift their neck and head up from the water. The key is to back off with your lens selection, pre-focus on where the head is before they drink, wait for them to lift their heads and then fire away when they do finally come up. The resulting frames are interesting, due to the long stream of water that comes from their mouth. The best scenario is when that water stream is side or back lit, because the sun coming through the water will light it up like a Christmas tree. The light was to our backs, so this didn’t work out.
The highlight of the afternoon and early evening was the Kashane male leopard, as he patrolled the area just outside of the other side of camp. He vocalized his presence, which is a thunderous growl that can be heard far away. We photographed him coming towards our vehicle numerous times, as he would pass the vehicle and we would drive around in front of him for it to happen all over again. What a beautiful male leopard he was.
Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/3200 @ f/4, ISO 500
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/2500 @ f/6.3, ISO 1000
Kashane Male Leopard
Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/200 @ f/4, ISO 1600
Kashane Male Leopard at Dusk
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/6 @ f/4.5, ISO 100
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.