Jump to content

Kruger circuit: A South Africa Safari at the "optimum" time, September 2014


Tdgraves

Recommended Posts

Tdgraves

Such beautiful golden leopard photos.

Also, @@Tdgraves, your own pic of the nighttime hyena looks brilliant to me - clear and colorful!

Not when its full screen......

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 147
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Tdgraves

    70

  • Tom Kellie

    19

  • graceland

    11

  • Marks

    7

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

So, just for @@bettel and anyone else who likes cubs, spotty or otherwise, some more of the leopard cubs   These were taken by my OH, so you have his perspective, there is a longer effective zoom (7

Day 12 Morning Drive, Leopard Hills   There were just three of us on the drive, so we were able to stay longer at sightings if we wanted, which meant I could get this shot:     We had a lovely

Day 11 Morning Drive   The following morning was our last game drive before transferring to Sabi Sands and this time, we did have a private vehicle. We got some rather envious looks, firstly from a

Posted Images

graceland

 

Such beautiful golden leopard photos.

Also, @@Tdgraves, your own pic of the nighttime hyena looks brilliant to me - clear and colorful!

Not when its full screen......

 

 

 

Ha Ha, love your sense of humor!

 

That is why my pics are always undersized!

 

 

 

When do you come to my neck of the woods?

Edited by graceland
Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

@@graceland fly out on 18th, first 6 days in DC.....

You picked the best month for Virginia.

 

I should get on my broom and fly over to the Blue Ridge and have a mini GTG.

 

PM me your itinerary; I might escape. I'd love to meet you. Not many come to these parts :huh:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 13 Morning Drive

 

The "plan" for this morning was to locate a female leopard with two cubs (the ones which the Australians had already seen). I am always nervous when there is a plan, as it can lead to disappointment...

 

We were quite far from her last known location, so I guess this is the reason they let you know what the plan is, so you don't get bored/frustrated.

 

The other vehicles with the same idea got there first, so we had to hang around a bit for our turn. This involved being surrounded by a head of buffalo and a large breeding herd of elephant, so not too boring

 

gallery_37950_1164_1968097.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_7749736.jpg

 

When it was our turn, we got there just in time as they were on the move....

 

gallery_37950_1164_8089312.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_515909.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_5612126.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_4359005.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_8415693.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_4455213.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_9964414.jpg

 

Unfortunately, they went from the dry river bed, where they were a little beneath us, up onto some really rocky terrain, so it was a real struggle to keep up with them.

 

gallery_37950_1164_11356059.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_10123005.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1014829.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_4607804.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_10597236.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_11565253.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_9743932.jpg

 

By the time we had negotiated the huge rocks, the vehicle in front of us reported that the mother had caught a cane rat! She and the other cub wandered off out of our sight, so we kept with this one, who set to work plucking it and eating it. I've never seen one before - they are HUGE!

 

gallery_37950_1164_2180545.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_13467207.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_934426.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_6006316.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_5175870.jpg

 

The grass was my enemy, but I managed to get a few shots!

 

We had a good sighting and moved aside to let others in

 

On the way back to camp we saw two purple crested turacos (a first) but they were too quick and shy for a photo :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

@@Tdgraves I have never SEEN so many leopard cubs...how adorable. Spotty cat overload is a good thing. And well fed I see.

 

The most I've ever seen was in Botswana; but nothing like your Leopard Hills, so aptly named!

 

Also loved your photo of the giraffes; the young with the crane like neck!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

@@graceland Me neither. It always the hope and it paid off, twice!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alexander33

@ Tdgraves

 

I love the shot of the leopard cub with his/her bloody red tongue in post #80! It really captures the conflicting attributes in these magnificent creatures: beautiful, adorable, fiercesome, all at the same time.

 

Can I take you all the way back to the owl photos in post #6? Like you, I was frustrated by the challenges of photography on our night drives. Unlike you, I just gave up and put the camera away. I don't want to have to do that when we go back this August. So, from what I've read here, it seems you used a combination of spotlight from the vehicle and high ISO, no flash, to capture these night time photographs. Is that correct?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

@@Alexander33 this was the first time I had tried taking spotlight shots, as previously I had always had an inferior camera with poor high ISO performance. So I have taken my lead from th OH who was previously in charge of such shots. It is a balance of having the ISO high enough to get a decent shutter speed, but not so high that you get noise, which makes it look blurry, even if it is in focus (the more expensive the camera, the better the high ISO performance it seems). So you are correct, no flash, just illuminated by the trackers spot. If you wedge yourself onto the side of the vehicle and hold your breath (and hope that no-one else in the vehicle moves) then a shutter speed of 1/50 is just about ok (I still leave the camera set on aperture priority)

 

Re. The cub, the OH has done a monochrome conversion but left the tongue red, this really emphasises the point - I'll see if I can dig it out....

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alexander33

@ Tdgraves

 

Thanks so much on both counts. I look forward to my trying out your technique!

Edited by Alexander33
Link to post
Share on other sites
Alexander33

@ Tdgraves

 

Thank you! A truly compelling effect.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-24499900-1428484371_thumb.jpg

~ Hi, @@Tdgraves!

 

You've posted the ‘Flying Roller’ shot of my dreams! As I'm partial to shading and color saturation, your style is highly appealing to me.

post-49296-0-93608700-1428484484_thumb.jpg

While one might typically override the urge to caress, seeing the soft ear flaps of the baby elephant, furled close to its head, I would like the mother's leave to feel them. “Fat chancm fella!”, she'll say.

post-49296-0-02486300-1428484628_thumb.jpg

Baby leopards are photographed on Kruger safaris?

Sigh...

That's incentive enough to consider a wee visit to northeastern South Africa, your trip report providing ample other reasons.

Really enjoy your photography, @@Tdgraves!

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Thanks for the compliment @@Tom Kellie

 

We have been going to South Africa for years, but at the wrong time to see leopard cubs. Part of the plan of going in Aug/Sept was to see cubs. Luckily it paid off :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Thanks for the compliment @@Tom Kellie

 

We have been going to South Africa for years, but at the wrong time to see leopard cubs. Part of the plan of going in Aug/Sept was to see cubs. Luckily it paid off :D

 

~ @Tdgraves:

 

Well, well, well. What timely information you share with me.

Many, many thanks for explaining that.

I say that because in the back of my mind is a kernel of interest in Sabi Sands.

Mind you, nothing at all has congealed yet, but I'm mulling over the costs and logistics, especially concerning transport of my big lens to and from Johannesburg.

Oddly enough, August was the timeframe of choice.

Your kind explanation moves the idea up a notch or two.

Many thanks! That's also why I've been reading your nice trip report with above average interest.

With Appreciation,

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@Tdgraves awww i love the series of the leopard cubs. so small and cute, and what looks like snarling while protecting her rat too! i've not seen cane rats before but that's a mighty big rat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing pictures - we'll be there in September, would love to see some leopard cubs! You really had a wonderful trip, thanks for sharing it, and thanks for the night photo tips. My camera is not as good as yours, the highest ISO is 6400, and I'll have to try it yet, to see how noisy it gets. I don't think I ever got that high before...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 13 Evening Drive

 

During afternoon tea on the deck, a new couple spotted a leopard sitting under a tree MILES away. Even with bins or a long lens, I couldn't convince myself that I could see it and they spotted it with the naked eye!! Obviously both vehicles went in that direction to try and find it...

 

En route, we found this pale morph Wahlberg's eagle

 

gallery_37950_991_8526193.jpg

 

We drove cross country to the spot where the leopard had been seen, but there was no trace of it. We went across to the nearby dam instead, where we found this guy....

 

gallery_37950_1164_629988.jpg

 

I don't think the resident hippo like it very much though

 

gallery_37950_1164_2238761.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_5943438.jpg

 

We went around the other side of the dam to get a closer look at the rhino

 

gallery_37950_1164_1139746.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_15039036.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_461826.jpg

 

One of the other vehicles arrived to see him. While we were looking to the right at him, the other vehicle radioed our guide to let us know that there was a leopard in front of us (probably the one we had been looking for!)

 

gallery_37950_1164_10707351.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_2320009.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1259974.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_11551155.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_3288550.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_17803493.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_5997087.jpg

 

 

gallery_37950_1164_3190250.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_2096064.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_17372015.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_14551830.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_16763378.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_3935846.jpg

 

It was a young female. "Sorry" for more spotty cat overload....

 

Just time to see some waterbuck before sundowners

 

gallery_37950_1164_12161512.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1759720.jpg

 

And then a side-striped jackal going back to camp :D

 

gallery_37950_1164_233048.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 14 morning drive

 

Our last drive in Sabi Sands and of our trip. The main event was the lion pride. They were on the move on the boundary road. This had upsides and downsides. The upside was that they were walking, so the guide could drive to get in front of them and we could get shots of them head on, walking towards us, multiple times. The downside being the fence and trying to cut it out of the frame...

 

gallery_37950_1164_6754198.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1535914.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_9970063.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_11272299.jpg

 

And we got to see them playing - this one waiting to pounce....

 

gallery_37950_1164_1032276.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_10278776.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_8939917.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_47456.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_2117974.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_3880622.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_5537693.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_6163325.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1936735.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_8009885.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1564154.jpg

 

So nice to see the juveniles playing.

 

gallery_37950_1164_498416.jpg

 

It's great to have a guide who is also a photographer, in order to get us into position for shots like this....

 

gallery_37950_1164_5693163.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_7450645.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_81782.jpg

 

Apart from the odd sideways glance, most of the lions were not interested in us. However, I was looking down the lens and wondered why their demeanour had changed. They became very alert and all looked in the same direction. So I looked in that direction. What was there? A bakkie full of workers standing in the back. Just goes to show that they think people in a safari vehicle are different to people standing in a bakkie and presumably to those on foot.....(our vehicle mates didn't even notice.........)

 

gallery_37950_1164_5665484.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_1949581.jpg

 

What a great farewell. We moved off to allow the next vehicle in to the sighting

 

I saw a sunbird and caused a bit of consternation in the vehicle when I took photos of it in preference to the lions!

 

gallery_37950_991_176385.jpg

 

It was getting close to breakfast, so we made our way back towards camp, where we found a pair of African hawk eagles

 

gallery_37950_1164_10588965.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1164_2462166.jpg

 

We found a small herd of buffalo near to camp

 

gallery_37950_1164_4296710.jpg

 

Back to camp with breakfast with big grins :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

Wow, the lions really did put on a show for you. Fantastic pictures!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

~ @Tdgraves:

 

I was considering heading off to bed but then checked out your latest trip report posting.

WOW! WOW! WOW!

Your skills as a photographer are really something!

No flattery, just fact.

I looked at these and marveled. Whatever lens(es) your using, you're getting good value from them.

I rarely sit up and make primate noises, but you inspired me to do so.

You've achieved what I'm seeking to someday do.

Tom K.

post-49296-0-44475400-1428949612_thumb.jpg

Superlative! The light edging the horn, the body half submerged — Wonderful!

post-49296-0-49231300-1428949706_thumb.jpg

The look in that eye. What this photo expresses...

post-49296-0-21868400-1428949773_thumb.jpg

All of your morning lion shots are SUPERB, but the uplifted tail moves me.

post-49296-0-52646400-1428949939_thumb.jpg

This shows me how black & white enhances — Like!

post-49296-0-57720800-1428950016_thumb.jpg

You were near Leopard Hills? I've seriously considering going there later in 2015.

Edited by Tom Kellie
Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

Super pics!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

@@Tom Kellie

 

You are too kind. Canon 5d mark iii with a 100-400 (mark I) lens

 

We were not near leopard hills, we were at leopard hills. Highly recommended, however, it is very expensive and super luxurious - we were only there as we had a good deal (they have 8 nights for the price of 6 at all of their lodges) and a discount. There are other lodges in the same area of sabi sands with less luxury and hence less cost.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Wow, the lions really did put on a show for you. Fantastic pictures!

Such a nice change from sleeping under a bush ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

You are too kind. Canon 5d mark iii with a 100-400 (mark I) lens

 

We were not near leopard hills, we were at leopard hills. Highly recommended, however, it is very expensive and super luxurious - we were only there as we had a good deal (they have 8 nights for the price of 6 at all of their lodges) and a discount. There are other lodges in the same area of sabi sands with less luxury and hence less cost.

 

~ @Tdgraves:

 

This information arrives at exactly the right time, when I'm very seriously pondering the possibility of a little ‘getaway’ to Leopard Hills.

If I were to do so, it would be wholly separate from the safari planned for 3 or 4 months hence, and the safari two weeks from now.

You're ‘highly recommended’ means a LOT, and I do mean a LOT!

What's held me back were concerns about getting my larger lens — EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II — in a soft-sided bag into a Federal Air flight from Johannesburg to Leopard Hills.

If that's resolved, it's possible I'll go over for several days.

I thrive on shorter getaways, whenever my professional responsibilities allow.

The reason that I'm electrified by your response is that I was planning to write to the rangers at Leopard Hills to ask about lenses.

Considering your experience as a guest on game drives at Leopard Hills, and considering your very fine zoom lens, would a 400mm lens be essential?

How about a 300mmL or 200mmL lens?

My profession is teaching field ecology, so it's not essential for me to get super-closeups of every whisker. Showing an mammal or a bird in ecological context often tells my students more than a detailed close-up.

Looking back, what focal length seemed best? I have zooms but tend to use primes.

BTW: I love the Zeiss 135mm Apo-Sonnar lens, despite it being manual focus, as the images are generally stellar, with a 3-D quality and remarkably accurate color.

I'll upload a few more photos to the trip report as learning that you stayed at Leopard Hills and highly recommend it is of greatest interest.

With Much Appreciation,

Tom K.

Edited by Tom Kellie
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy