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Cape Peninsula, Timbavati and Sabi Sand in May


FlyTraveler

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FlyTraveler

 

This way you separate the two actions (auto-focusing and firing a shot). If there is an animal behind brunches, leaves or grass, you auto-focus when there is a visible part of the animal exposed, then you can keep taking pictures without the auto-focus system getting "confused" because of branches or grass between you and the animal. You can also leave your camera on continuous focus permanently. If you need a single focus, just tap the focus button once, if you need continuous focus, keep it pressed while firing shots, no need to change from one mode to the other. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do, you get a few more "tools" in the box. :)

 

 

So you are essentially saving yourself from refocusing for every single shot (and potentially focusing on the wrong thing), even while otherwise shooting on auto? That does sound useful, thanks. I'll have to see if my camera can do this!

 

 

You refocus for every single shot, as well, except for cases when between you and the object there are branches, grass etc. There is also no need to switch between continuous and single focus (in many cases there is no time). I was quite resilient for using this method at first, but once you see the benefits, there is no going back.

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After Boulders Beach we went to Cape Point where along with the amazing seascapes we saw something quite unusual (at least for us) – eland antelopes with the ocean as a background, rather than savanna

It looks like it is time for leopards. Great sighting of adult leopardess with a sub-adult male cub and impala kill in a tree. One of those sightings that we do not see just on every game drive:  

Well, it’s been several days since my wife and I came back from our second African safari trip and I’d better start my TR before the memories fade away (not that my memories from safari fade away easi

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Marks

 

You refocus for every single shot, as well, except for cases when between you and the object there are branches, grass etc. There is also no need to switch between continuous and single focus (in many cases there is no time). I was quite resilient for using this method at first, but once you see the benefits, there is no going back.

 

 

Thanks for explaining it, I will definitely try it out.

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FlyTraveler

Motswari Lodge, Timbavati. Our last (morning) game drive at this lodge. May 22, 2014

 

 

We stayed with the lion pride for at least 40 minutes and I took quite a few photos:

 

 

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Someone had too much to drink last night:

 

 

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The moderate drinkers were OK:

 

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FlyTraveler

Motswari Lodge, Timbavati. Our last (morning) game drive at this lodge. May 22, 2014

 

Timbavati landscape with waterbucks:

 

 

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If you look carefully, you will see Egyptian geese and a crocodile in the lower right corner:

 

 

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African Fish Eagle:

 

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Bunch of hippos in the dam:

 

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Dry trees landscape:

 

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The guide Richard and the tracker Petrus during our last tea stop with Motswari vehicle (for this trip):

 

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I love this view - the backs of the guide and the tracker plus 10 mm caliber Winchester:

 

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As we all know very well, the last game drive is always sad, the good part was that we had a transfer to Elephant Plains Game Lodge in Sabi Sand the same day and afternoon game drive there. Nevertheless we were going to miss the wonderful atmosphere at Motswari Game Lodge and sincerely hope to be able to revisit this beautiful place some day.

 

 

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twaffle

Well captured with the graphic lion vomiting shot! Glad I wasn't having breakfast! :)

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TonyQ

It is good to see the animals in landscape -gives a real feel for the place

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FlyTraveler

Well captured with the graphic lion vomiting shot! Glad I wasn't having breakfast! :)

 

I should put together an album named "The intimate life of the wild animals" - a lioness vomiting, leopards and warthogs mating, a white rhino spraying (urinating), elephant dung caught in the air etc. :)

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FlyTraveler

It is good to see the animals in landscape -gives a real feel for the place

 

This was actually my problem - I didn't go to bed the night before we left for this trip, trying to fit a second DSLR body into my carry on luggage. Finally, I decided that giving the fact that we were going to change many places during the trip, I'd rather feel comfortable. This decision backfired while I badly wanted to shoot landscapes on game drives, but was afraid to change lenses due to dust (there was actually very little dust in the private reserves next to Kruger, compared to Chobe, Amboseli or Masai Mara). So, I took just some landscapes at the lower end of the zoom of my tele-lens - 70 mm or in the rare cases when I allowed myself to change to 24-70 mm lens. Next time I should figure out some way of fitting two bodies into my hand luggage. Having one full-frame body and cropped sensor body makes the matter worse - I need to carry one more lens (24-70 mm, f:2,8 is a top Nikon glass, but it is not a wide angle on DX Nikon body).

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Marks

I should put together an album named "The intimate life of the wild animals" - a lioness vomiting, leopards and warthogs mating, a white rhino spraying (urinating), elephant dung caught in the air etc. :)

 

 

I too have a number of "midair poop" shots. They are good practice for capturing moving subjects! :P

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FlyTraveler

 

I should put together an album named "The intimate life of the wild animals" - a lioness vomiting, leopards and warthogs mating, a white rhino spraying (urinating), elephant dung caught in the air etc. :)

 

 

I too have a number of "midair poop" shots. They are good practice for capturing moving subjects! :P

 

 

We'd better practice on flying birds, they are faster and more challenging objects than "midair poop", beautiful, too :P

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Peter Connan

 

It is good to see the animals in landscape -gives a real feel for the place

This was actually my problem - I didn't go to bed the night before we left for this trip, trying to fit a second DSLR body into my carry on luggage. Finally, I decided that giving the fact that we were going to change many places during the trip, I'd rather feel comfortable. This decision backfired while I badly wanted to shoot landscapes on game drives, but was afraid to change lenses due to dust (there was actually very little dust in the private reserves next to Kruger, compared to Chobe, Amboseli or Masai Mara). So, I took just some landscapes at the lower end of the zoom of my tele-lens - 70 mm or in the rare cases when I allowed myself to change to 24-70 mm lens. Next time I should figure out some way of fitting two bodies into my hand luggage. Having one full-frame body and cropped sensor body makes the matter worse - I need to carry one more lens (24-70 mm, f:2,8 is a top Nikon glass, but it is not a wide angle on DX Nikon body).

 

Fly, I recently had the privelege of attending a training seminar on birds in flight by Albert Froneman. He surprisingly recommends having just one body, and swopping lenses. He has a number of good reasons too. Mainly, it allows you to buy better kit (both body and lens)...

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FlyTraveler

 

 

It is good to see the animals in landscape -gives a real feel for the place

This was actually my problem - I didn't go to bed the night before we left for this trip, trying to fit a second DSLR body into my carry on luggage. Finally, I decided that giving the fact that we were going to change many places during the trip, I'd rather feel comfortable. This decision backfired while I badly wanted to shoot landscapes on game drives, but was afraid to change lenses due to dust (there was actually very little dust in the private reserves next to Kruger, compared to Chobe, Amboseli or Masai Mara). So, I took just some landscapes at the lower end of the zoom of my tele-lens - 70 mm or in the rare cases when I allowed myself to change to 24-70 mm lens. Next time I should figure out some way of fitting two bodies into my hand luggage. Having one full-frame body and cropped sensor body makes the matter worse - I need to carry one more lens (24-70 mm, f:2,8 is a top Nikon glass, but it is not a wide angle on DX Nikon body).

 

Fly, I recently had the privelege of attending a training seminar on birds in flight by Albert Froneman. He surprisingly recommends having just one body, and swopping lenses. He has a number of good reasons too. Mainly, it allows you to buy better kit (both body and lens)...

 

 

Thanks for the post @@Peter Connan! The thing is that I already have an old DSLR body with a kit lens anyway, so it is just a question of fitting it into the carry-on luggage. I really miss wide angle lens in some cases while on a game drive.

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FlyTraveler

Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand. Afternoon game drive. May 22, 2014

 

 

After an hour and a half land transfer from Motswari, we arrived at Elephant Plains Game Lodge in Sabi Sand. Unlike Motswari (which although a lodge had the atmosphere of a safari camp), the Elephant Plains felt a bit more like a hotel. It was also fenced, which meant no wild animals within the premises, except vervet monkeys.

 

The ritual for dinner was also different - guests would seat at tables arranged in a semi-circle around the bonfire in the boma, but only two people at a table (if you travel alone, you would sit alone). Bigger groups would have to break into several tables. Only two of the lodge personnel (usually the manager with one guide) would eat with the guests at a separate table. Drinks, except wine with dinner, were taken at a bar in the main building.

 

Don't get a wrong idea - the lodge is very nice and a great value for the money, guides and trackers were very professional, I just liked the atmosphere in Motswari better.

 

 

A view from our room at Elephant Plains. When we arrived there were impalas all over, I thought they will be there every day and didn't take photos, but we never saw them again during our stay at the lodge:

 

 

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Fortunately, we didn't have to share a row in the vehicle with a third person at this lodge, either. Our guide and tracker for the entire stay were Morne and Derick.

 

After stopping for some monitor lizard (I just didn't get a good photo of it), I asked Morne to stop for some impalas, which were crossing the road. Some of the vehicle-mates would not consider stopping for impalas worthwhile and I felt a bit like I am holding the vehicle, so I took quickly a few shots. They didn't turn out terribly sharp, but still I like trying my luck on leaping impalas:

 

 

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In the first 20 minutes of the game drive we had an amazing sighting - Morne found a handsome male leopard, which he recognized as Tingana.

 

 

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I can not remember seeing a leopard with such a massive neck before (not that I have seen many leopards):

 

 

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Tingana was just lying in the grass...

 

 

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... when a female named Shadow appeared out of the blue:

 

 

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We all know what the reason for a male and female leopards hanging together is, so in the next installment we will see if what we thought about materialized.

 

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FlyTraveler

Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand. Afternoon game drive. May 22, 2014

 

 

As I mentioned in the previous post we had the male leopard Tingana lying in the grass when a leopardess (Shadow) showed up.

 

It didn't take them long to go straight into business. This was my first time seeing wild animals mating (live):

 

 

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After the session, Tingana just walked away:

 

 

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Then he lay down in the grass, just to make sure that he wasn't going to far from Shadow:

 

 

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As we expected Shadow appeared again:

 

 

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... and started to approach Tingana:

 

 

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... getting closer and closer:

 

 

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... assuming a position right in front of him:


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Would they go for another session?

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I'm really enjoying your report. That is one massive leopard!

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graceland

I have never seen such a large leopard...and I've been very lucky with leopards. No matings either, so a special day for you!

 

Also enjoyed your leaping impala. They always make me smile!

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bettel

Wow! Mating leopards! What an awesome sighting!

 

And Tingana is such a handsome boy :)

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Marks

After an hour and a half land transfer from Motswari, we arrived at Elephant Plains Game Lodge in Sabi Sand. Unlike Motswari (which although a lodge had the atmosphere of a safari camp), the Elephant Plains felt a bit more like a hotel. It was also fenced, which meant no wild animals within the premises, except vervet monkeys.

 

Hmm, has it always been completely fenced? We saw a bushbuck outside of our room when we stayed there; I don't remember anyone saying it was a tame resident or anything, though I suppose that's possible. And I seem to remember there being a photo of a leopard on the lodge path hanging in the bar. But it has been a few years and my memory has never been spectacular to begin with!

 

Great impala and leopard photos. Impala are so often overlooked, but they're really quite beautiful.

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TonyQ

I enjoyed the leaping impala

And beautiful leopard pictures - the male is very chunky, very solid looking

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FlyTraveler

 

After an hour and a half land transfer from Motswari, we arrived at Elephant Plains Game Lodge in Sabi Sand. Unlike Motswari (which although a lodge had the atmosphere of a safari camp), the Elephant Plains felt a bit more like a hotel. It was also fenced, which meant no wild animals within the premises, except vervet monkeys.

 

Hmm, has it always been completely fenced? We saw a bushbuck outside of our room when we stayed there; I don't remember anyone saying it was a tame resident or anything, though I suppose that's possible. And I seem to remember there being a photo of a leopard on the lodge path hanging in the bar. But it has been a few years and my memory has never been spectacular to begin with!

 

Great impala and leopard photos. Impala are so often overlooked, but they're really quite beautiful.

 

 

I don't know if Elephant Plains has been fenced before, but now it definitely is, otherwise they would not allow us to walk around at night without a guard.

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FlyTraveler

I enjoyed the leaping impala

And beautiful leopard pictures - the male is very chunky, very solid looking

 

Thanks @@TonyQ, I try my luck with leaping impalas when I have a chance. I really like all types of antelopes and gazelles.

Edited by FlyTraveler
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FlyTraveler

Wow! Mating leopards! What an awesome sighting!

 

And Tingana is such a handsome boy :)

 

Indeed @@bettel, Tingana was a pleasure to observe and photograph... This was my first sighting of mating wild animals, the second one was not as gracious - warthogs (will post them in the second TR, covering the Botswana part of this trip) :)

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FlyTraveler

I have never seen such a large leopard...and I've been very lucky with leopards. No matings either, so a special day for you!

 

Also enjoyed your leaping impala. They always make me smile!

 

Confirmation from someone, who has seen many leopards was important for me @@graceland. :)

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FlyTraveler

Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand. Afternoon game drive. May 22, 2014

 

 

As we expected, Tingana and Shadow went for another session:

 

 

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This time there was more passion involved:

 

 

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After the session Tingana headed towards the tall grass:

 

 

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Then he stopped again, perhaps waiting to be found again by Shadow:

 

 

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Are we going to witness a third session?

 

 

 

 

 

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