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Kgalagadi Jan 2020: Desert, drought and dead eland


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Day 8, Evening drive, Kalahari tented camp, 25/1/20


At lunchtime, I could hear a woodpecker and luckily the next tent was unoccupied, so I could get a bit closer, but the tree was not cooperating!


50025989826_4a950cf9cb_o.jpgJ19A3337a by tdgraves, on Flickr


this guy was keeping an eye on me...


50025444613_1a336607fb_o.jpgJ19A3342a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was 39 degrees when we left for our driven and not surprisingly, it was quiet. So quiet that I took not a single shot. We travelled as far as the 14th. Here is one from the OH to compensate


50025444828_297e55e4a6_o.jpg7T4A1416 by tdgraves, on Flickr


This was our welcoming committee on our return


50025990161_b212892f1e_o.jpgJ19A3350a by tdgraves, on Flickr

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Day 9, Morning drive, Kalahari tented camp, 26/1/20


It was very windy overnight and still was when we woke up. We didn't sleep that well and had a bit of a lie in, only leaving at 6.30am! Consequently, it was pretty quiet, in terms of game but also other vehicles. It was 20 degrees when we left and I had the 5D.


50025525768_0cc98d987a_o.jpg7T4A1418a by tdgraves, on Flickr


We came across a couple of very evenly matched giraffe and watched them sizing each other up for a long time...


50026069751_340348e406_o.jpg7T4A1422a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026331157_d5627eec14_o.jpg7T4A1427a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50025526153_f659d5e36f_o.jpg7T4A1430a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026331442_a37b077628_o.jpg7T4A1437a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50025526383_7db6a6905f_o.jpg7T4A1455a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026070391_8fc09939c6_o.jpg7T4A1458a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026331872_5fb3e6ffbb_o.jpg7T4A1464a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026070726_d9662fc9ca_o.jpg7T4A1478a by tdgraves, on Flickr


one from the OH


50026332597_ea442ca4d4_o.jpgJ19A3394a by tdgraves, on Flickr


time to move on


50025527213_127ba30cfd_o.jpg7T4A1503a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026332737_6ab26ff40f_o.jpg7T4A1509a by tdgraves, on Flickr


then there was some springbok action


50025527963_4b8de9a0f9_o.jpg7T4A1511a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026333192_098c6228fc_o.jpg7T4A1514a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026333387_3af89f5d7e_o.jpg7T4A1517a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50025528383_d270870308_o.jpg7T4A1526a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Then we found a newborn springbok lamb


50026333707_383dc5cd4a_o.jpg7T4A1575a by tdgraves, on Flickr


a thick-knee family


50025526793_4c6fe1af78_o.jpg7T4A1586a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026332227_42135bcbce_o.jpg7T4A1589a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and some swallow-tailed bee-eaters posed nicely


50026072261_d8674ffd50_o.jpg7T4A1594a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026334067_21eedc5e2d_o.jpg7T4A1596a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50025529303_d895485e76_o.jpg7T4A1600a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026332852_654dec876a_o.jpgJ19A3407a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026071371_a48115de4d_o.jpgJ19A3474a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Time for breakfast!

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@Tdgraves, great report and excellent photos, you got some action out there. I wouldn't enjoy those temperatures though.

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Day 9, Evening drive, Kalahari tented camp, 26/1/20


We had a visitor at siesta time, who came to enjoy the shade...


50026071961_b499feb7c0_o.jpg7T4A1624a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50025528718_d2b5117620_o.jpg7T4A1631a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026072586_97aa3a49e2_o.jpg7T4A1632a by tdgraves, on Flickr


As well as some feathery visitors


50026334517_a88082ef8f_o.jpg7T4A1639a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026334882_fee362a4a0_o.jpg7T4A1649a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was "only" 33 degrees this afternoon, but it remained quiet. We went south as far as the 13th.


50026072941_a1c3ca00c5_o.jpg7T4A1673a by tdgraves, on Flickr


The giraffes seem to be doing well, we saw them much further south than on previous occasions (perhaps due to the drought)


50026073301_b366658752_o.jpg7T4A1676a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026335067_bc101065b9_o.jpg7T4A1680a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026073656_ab41474248_o.jpg7T4A1681a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50025530613_a69b88a3f3_o.jpg7T4A1684a by tdgraves, on Flickr


I tried to do some star trails, when is got dark enough and the braai had gone out


50026073541_1c6bbac0b5_o.jpg7T4A1700a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50026073756_0b6c146944_o.jpg7T4A1701a by tdgraves, on Flickr

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Day 10, Morning drive, Kalahari tented camp, 27/1/20


It was a bit cooler (15 degrees) and I had the 7D. We did yet another long drive, mainly as the first 25km was so dead, so to Kamqua and back, despite changing camps later and therefore doing the same journey again! There were more springbok lambs and it was funny watching the adults encourage them to test their legs


50037509466_03b1d4d46e_o.jpgJ19A3529a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50036965983_27fd1f0bdb_o.jpgJ19A3538a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50036966193_1679dcdfb1_o.jpgJ19A3564a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50036966318_6bb8d64b63_o.jpgJ19A3587a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50036966458_048032d0db_o.jpgJ19A3598a by tdgraves, on Flickr


When we got back to camp there was much excitement, as a mating pair of lions had just walked through, so the cleaners had to be rescued and were currently hiding in reception. The female was still in camp, but difficult to photograph...


50037510141_87f493af57_o.jpgJ19A3610a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and the male was sleeping on top of the ridge totally out of sight


We had a quick breakfast and packed up ready to repeat the drive.

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Day 10, Transfer Kalahari tented camp to Kieliekrankie, 27/1/20


We went first to Mata Mata to fill up with petrol, as we were not keen on having to go to Twee Rivieren during a game drive to do so in the next few days. I held the gate open for a SANParks vehicle behind us, which turned out to be a wise move, as when we got to the petrol station, it was deserted. However, one of the men in the SANParks vehicle noticed and went to find the attendant for us, while I kept myself amused with this juvenile goshawk. I couldn't find any other birds though...


50036966873_7f5c8ac9c4_o.jpgJ19A3621a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was 29 degrees, so a bit cooler than other days. Not far into the valley, we saw a swallow-tailed bee-eater enter a nest. What goes in, must come out..


50037510621_a26cfe00be_o.jpgJ19A3648a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Our next source of amusement was a giraffe quenching its' thirst


50037770682_6b3785a158_o.jpgJ19A3670 - Copya by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037770827_7d392d6ccf_o.jpgJ19A3685a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037770982_f08dcfdc0d_o.jpgJ19A3694a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037771117_4ae267fd45_o.jpgJ19A3703a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037511661_931cd9e0b1_o.jpgJ19A3729a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037511796_770504a85e_o.jpgJ19A3734a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and some ostrich eating


50036968483_a0afa03d22_o.jpgJ19A3779a by tdgraves, on Flickr


before another close giraffe sighting


50037512146_f57b855972_o.jpgJ19A3795a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037512311_d1d33a3dfb_o.jpgJ19A3801a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Then it was time to check in and unpack.

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On 6/8/2020 at 3:36 AM, Soukous said:

Wonderful Goshawk sequence and the Lanner Falcon landing is superb

Just what I was going to say!  Also the running giraffe and such a nice catch on the chameleon.  The intro cheetah leap had to be a highlight also.


Have not reached the dead eland yet. 


Since you have been to KTP so often at different times of the year, can you comment on different seasons to visit, combined with the ability to get a bed.

Edited by Atravelynn
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@Atravelynn we have been three times in jan and once in sept. It is much easier to get a bed in jan, but the temperatures are higher. This was the driest we have ever seen it. We found that the morning/evening light was better in September for atmospheric photos. I think it’d be good whenever you could go and find availability!


p.s. dead eland were a feature at every waterhole, but they have not officially appeared as yet!

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Day 10, Evening drive, Kieliekrankie, 27/1/20


After we settled in, there was time for a few birds in camp


50037772217_637c7477eb_o.jpgJ19A3815a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037512826_bffa6b1d29_o.jpgJ19A3821a by tdgraves, on Flickr



50036969393_60fa10df51_o.jpgJ19A3826a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037772842_31b2d3dabe_o.jpgJ19A3831a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50037772997_a118435b63_o.jpgJ19A3838a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was 35 degrees when we left camp and there was not much around, so we did a bit North and a bit South


50040948277_c69000b9ca_o.jpgJ19A3902 by tdgraves, on Flickr


50040684156_f007f11db1_o.jpgJ19A3842a by tdgraves, on Flickr


but we found a squirrel den (?nest) close to the road and watching the babies kept us amused


50040684266_3da4c846fc_o.jpgJ19A3848a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50040948612_c6c8105ba6_o.jpgJ19A3854a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50040684476_50c6052ffd_o.jpgJ19A3865a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50040948772_453ccd2f44_o.jpgJ19A3868a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50040948927_ef4d7cd90a_o.jpgJ19A3874a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50040949052_1e44ab8149_o.jpgJ19A3885a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Back to camp for dinner, where Venus was rising


50040684941_caa1f30fb6_o.jpg7T4A1845a by tdgraves, on Flickr


time for some astrophotography


50040132203_c2aa78d36f_o.jpg7T4A1862a by tdgraves, on Flickr

Edited by Tdgraves
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Day 11, Morning drive, Kieliekrankie, 28/1/20


We we just packing up when we saw a brown hyaena leaving the camp water hole, too dark and far for a photo. It was a cool 10 degrees as we set off across the dune road towards the Nossob valley, a decision based on the drought in the middle Auob. I had the 5D today and we got as far as Gunong. The dune road was quiet on the way out.


50046605638_388e71013e_o.jpg7T4A1880a by tdgraves, on Flickr


More springbok lambs had been born


50047168976_60bca69782_o.jpg7T4A1887a by tdgraves, on Flickr


A male lion was already resting the shade. The female was also apparently around, somewhere


50046605943_3bba0f5e8e_o.jpg7T4A1889a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50047169226_db21795207_o.jpg7T4A1921a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50047428117_2893a091a3_o.jpg7T4A1945a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50047428227_e010faf2b1_o.jpg7T4A1976a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Time to make our way back across the dunes, where we found several more dead eland


50047428492_c778c426d0_o.jpg7T4A1982a by tdgraves, on Flickr


a jackal courtesy of the OH


50046606703_0c8c4f0018_o.jpgJ19A3929a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and we spooked this ostrich


50047169921_8cb3e11e34_o.jpg7T4A1985a by tdgraves, on Flickr


who kept running and running


50047170121_693ee5d6b1_o.jpg7T4A1990a by tdgraves, on Flickr


there were a few kori bustards in the dunes


50047170426_d15695194d_o.jpg7T4A2000a by tdgraves, on Flickr


including one who was trying to impress this female near the camp entrance road


50047170501_4bf95597fc_o.jpg7T4A2008a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was 34 degrees when we returned for our well deserved breakfast

Edited by Tdgraves
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The dead eland have commenced! 

Those are such long ears on the springbok lambs.

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Day 11, Evening drive, Kieliekrankie, 28/1/20


A couple of birds from the deck before we left


50047169996_9de1bcb631_o.jpgJ19A4044a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50046607188_77c0f3e63c_o.jpgJ19A4046a by tdgraves, on Flickr


And then we were off, it was hot again, 38 degrees. We decided to go North and got as far as Batluma. First up, one of the better sightings we had of a crimson breasted shrike


50046607353_36bdae952c_o.jpgJ19A4056a by tdgraves, on Flickr


I was driving and the OH said "that log gets me every time". Given that we had only been this way once during our trip, it seemed odd, so we went back to investigate. This is what he saw...


50050373927_048852e12e_o.jpg00000079a by tdgraves, on Flickr


A cheetah laying in the shade on the other side of the riverbed (photos are cropped). So we waited. It moved a bit..


50050122196_f6bc1691a7_o.jpg00000080a by tdgraves, on Flickr


And we waited. Another vehicle arrived. We weren't sure that they had seen it, but after a lot of repositioning and gesticulating they did. And still we waited, but the other vehicle gave up. As the sun started to go down, we were hopeful that there would be a bit more activity


50049552673_0f44919f8a_o.jpg00000081a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and 40 minutes after we arrived, it looked like we may be in luck


50050122446_8bf17c2fff_o.jpg00000082a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050122616_8f50e9953c_o.jpg00000083a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050122746_c32d167ec3_o.jpg00000084a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It now looked like it was on a mission


50050374747_f99af39819_o.jpg00000085a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050122976_35a5d87678_o.jpg00000086a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50049553443_0f55020eb0_o.jpg00000087a by tdgraves, on Flickr


I reversed back to where it seemed to be headed and it rewarded us by walking straight towards us


50050375017_ff65b8b3e8_o.jpg00000088a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50049553613_8fab030fc3_o.jpg00000089a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050123411_07fbf30edc_o.jpg00000090a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050375332_0de2fc82df_o.jpg00000091a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50049554023_0bb78ef364_o.jpg00000092a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050123696_5eae2bbc79_o.jpg00000093a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was now time to decide - zoom or unzoom?


50049554183_7b60af86e7_o.jpg00000094a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50049554243_3a3d89aa93_o.jpg00000095a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050124076_0f5b305057_o.jpg00000096a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50050375957_d9ea8093f8_o.jpg00000097a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It then crossed the road in front of us and up onto the crest of the dune and was gone


50047429557_e32da60797_o.jpg7T4A2330a by tdgraves, on Flickr


What an amazing "log" sighting. As we turned onto the dune road, the drive had one final treat in store, our best brown hyaena sighting of the trip (well better than leaving the waterhole that AM)


50047170726_aaa673087f_o.jpg7T4A2352a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50046607873_bdde6da47d_o.jpg7T4A2354a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50046608048_aecab04acb_o.jpg7T4A2359a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It turned out that the other vehicle were our next door neighbours. "Did the cheetah get up?" they said. It certainly did!!


I had another go at the stars and one of my composition test shots caught a shooting star - we saw lots here


50047430107_cc129e2fa6_o.jpg7T4A2362a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and more star trails (this time ensuring there was a fully charged battery...)


50046608243_69526a52d3_o.jpg7T4A2383a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50047430302_aa01d64ae3_o.jpg7T4A2385a by tdgraves, on Flickr

Edited by Tdgraves
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Day 12, Morning drive, Kieliekrankie, 29/1/20


Another late start, due to falling asleep while waiting for the star trails to finish and therefore not leaping out of bed when the alarm went off. We left at 6 am, but the bonus about Kieliekrankie is that it is just a short drive across the dunes and into the valley. i had the 7D today and it was 19 degrees as we left (but 36 when we returned). We turned South towards Auchterlonie and this is what we found there...


50067977247_e3f6cdeaf6_o.jpg00000101a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Several vehicles were already there, all on the main road, so we went on the road to the picnic site, to get a better (and closer) view. High ISO and very strange light meant that they looked best in sepia


50067719151_33243b4896_o.jpg00000102a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067719256_d39b7a3957_o.jpg00000103a by tdgraves, on Flickr


But they were already twitched when we arrived - this is why...


50067735836_280b896a66_o.jpg00000106a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Old one eye had arrived from behind the cars and so the cheetahs withdrew up the dune


50067735911_6f34145797_o.jpg00000107a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067994177_0a99e0aa0a_o.jpg00000108a by tdgraves, on Flickr


This brave soul decided to make the most of the picnic site to look down on him (a little rash, I thought)


50067166673_3bcd205514_o.jpg00000109a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067166773_1f4b38e610_o.jpg00000110a by tdgraves, on Flickr


He then sat under a tree next to the windmill


50067721026_63387a1c7d_o.jpg00000111a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067740626_8e1587643a_o.jpg00000112a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067740676_672d770970_o.jpg00000113a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067186623_6429cb2472_o.jpg00000114a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50068002047_72049f571c_o.jpg00000116a by tdgraves, on Flickr


So we thought we'd go up the dune to see if the cheetah were still around


50067980722_3ba717cf7e_o.jpg00000119a by tdgraves, on Flickr


the light was better up there!


50067980832_455a4c0bc7_o.jpg00000120a by tdgraves, on Flickr


but they knew it was time to move on and so did we


50067744286_d0461eeaba_o.jpg00000121a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50068005807_57bec22973_o.jpg00000122a by tdgraves, on Flickr


And then we found another sleeping male lion (photos nothing to write home about)


50067737331_e062e9b94f_o.jpg00000123a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067737546_dc5826bac8_o.jpg00000124a by tdgraves, on Flickr


And we ended up in Twee Rivieren in no time at all. So we decided on a pit stop and then to return via the Nossob valley.


50067748021_defd306dfa_o.jpg00000125a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Where we found some wildebeest calves


50067982262_81b6e5c11d_o.jpg00000126a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50068005932_5f2a03dc99_o.jpg00000127a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Eventually near Kij Kij we found a parked vehicle, apparently looking at nothing, but with a little repositioning and luck, you could see this, sometimes...


50067177653_c27dc9704a_o.jpg00000128a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067177748_6c7fb1b3ff_o.jpg00000129a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067983847_4138539d62_o.jpg00000130a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067177878_e81a4bd839_o.jpg00000131a by tdgraves, on Flickr


We were able to reposition for a better view


50068003822_bf34f4b4dd_o.jpg00000132a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067744346_d63dbb0fca_o.jpg00000134a by tdgraves, on Flickr


we were hopeful of some action, but it was not to be


50067737421_33abd7dcef_o.jpg00000135a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50068003892_3d7eb31dce_o.jpg00000137a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067725781_09152467ab_o.jpg00000138a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was getting really hot and still nearly 50 km back to camp, so we decided to leave, where the dunes had one last surprise


50067742321_1bde044cae_o.jpg00000139a by tdgraves, on Flickr


Courtesy of the OH. 

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The brown hyena is bathed so handsomely in the dusk light @Tdgraves and what luck with the midday bat eared fox - easily my favourite two sightings from your report so far :). You seem to have had excellent mammalian sightings around Kieliekrankie all round. 

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Still  enjoying  your report  @Tdgraves we stayed at killiekrankie ( now the name of my car) for the first  time on our last trip and really  enjoyed  it. I agree with your thoughts  about the foolish  photographer!

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Beautiful Brown Hyena, and you did well with the cheetah 

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Wonderful photos of the hyena! And I love the bee-eater coming out of the nest, great capture. 

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Peter Connan

Another half-blind lion!


Some really nice photos in these last few batches!

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3 minutes ago, Peter Connan said:

Another half-blind lion!

same fella @Peter Connan


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Day 12, Evening drive, Kieliekrankie, 29/1/20


A canary was serenading on our deck before we left


50086261616_5b52b6ede7_o.jpgJ19A4641 by tdgraves, on Flickr


Whilst packing the camera equipment into the car, we had our first fawn-coloured lark sighting of the trip


50067982372_b6860dd5d4_o.jpgJ19A4654a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067742451_18096b8a3b_o.jpgJ19A4658a by tdgraves, on Flickr


It was a whopping 43 degrees when we left, so it was quite nice to drive with some air con! We drove North and it was pretty quiet


This Verreaux's eagle owl was doing the same as the cheetah the day before. Our only sighting


50067742516_96b4bb1950_o.jpgJ19A4671a by tdgraves, on Flickr


We did find ol' one eye guarding a waterhole


50067171563_7d1906ab4b_o.jpgJ19A4698a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067179653_af030632ed_o.jpgJ19A4717a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50067179748_ab7b91a8cb_o.jpgJ19A4740a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and pretty soon it was time to go back to camp


50067733861_c8683d50e9_o.jpgJ19A4746a by tdgraves, on Flickr


and a bit more astrophotography - can you tell what the creature at the waterhole is????


50086279806_15ce149c06_o.jpg7T4A2650a by tdgraves, on Flickr


50086279861_f4a49a76a1_o.jpg7T4A2658a by tdgraves, on Flickr

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Peter Connan



Really nice star trail.

Edited by Peter Connan
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8 minutes ago, Peter Connan said:




I think it was a steenbok, but even with bins, it was really hard to tell


Thanks. I would have tried your technique, but I hadn't read up on how often you need to take shots to then stack them, so I had to go with the old fashioned long exposure! you can see the camp lights of Two Rivers and Twee Rivieren in the middle

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