Africa 2012 Live Diary: DAY 2, First Lions


DAY 2, First Lions

Hi all, I’m back! After a sim card credit blooper from the Airtel booth at the airport I am back in action, thanks to Murad Habib for getting me up and running again!!! Top stuff!

We are now on the 3rd full day here and it has been great!  Jen is absolutely in her element here with all the new sights and sounds of the Mara on her first trip here. I with I was able to experience my first sightings again as it is such a memorable time.

The lions and elephant are great at the moment, the weather has been very changeable with the temperature up and down as well as the colour cover which makes for brief moments of great light that quickly change to flat grey so working quickly is a must!

The D800 I have been loaned by Nikon is working very well and is becoming my go to camera for everything but action shots. The detail that the raw files have is simply astounding and gives me many options for cropping and compensating for any lack of zoom your lens has. The focusing is fantastic and all I really find lacking is the burst rate which is simply sloooow compared to the D3 bodies. I am also missing the vertical grip of the D3, but this is an optional extra you can buy that I simply don’t have with me this time, but would be a must buy for me.

Another expected downside is the file sizes, they are very large and take all the longer to download when back at camp. This has a side bonus of forcing you to only take a shot when you really want to though and I have plenty of cards and drives with me to handle the load!

PICTURES! I hear you cry.. well lets start with some lions from the Acacia pride, a local group to the Kicheche camp…


Keeping an eye on us

The grass is very long at the moment due to the heavy rains of recent and this can make both tracking and photography a challenge. However I am always up for a challenge and it just makes me work harder and if anything think more creatively. The above shot was taken with the D800. There seems to be a lot of you that are keen on how the camera is performing judging from your emails, so below I have included a 100% crop from the above shot. Note the absurd amount of detail in the eye and nose…

MM30337 D800Crop

Yowza! The detail is simply gob smacking and a definite boon for cropping options and those printing at massive sizes. Taken with the D800, 200-400 and 1.4x converter.

The cooler mornings have the bonus of giving us a few more moments with any lions we find first thing in the morning before they head off to find shade.


Young lions are always fun and they are simply great to watch and if you stay long enough you are treated to some great moments.





We have also had some great encounters with the large elephant herds we are coming across, especially the little ones..



 MM1 1393

This great shot is from the shutter of Jen, giving me a run for my creative money!! Excellent work!

Lastly, a near miss for both this lioness and unsuspecting Wildebeest, we followed the hunt from when they saw the lone chap right up until he decided to run away, even though he hadn’t seen the lioness. The long grass made the tracking and following of the kill very hard, and we thought we were in for a real sight when the kill was about to happen in the open track area but it wasn’t to be. One Lion’s bad luck is another’s fortune though and if you stewed on every lost image from a drive you would go crazy! Here is a rather dramatic shot from the hunt, right in the open and the wildebeest had no idea, fantastic hunting. She was up and down crawling along low for a few minutes in the open area..

MM1 1426

As you may know I keep to the strict code of not interfering so made sure we were well, well ahead of the action, so as not to alter the events that unfolded. Therefore I used my longest lens (the 200-400) with the 1.4x convertor and as this was soon to be an action shot, the D3 was attached.

Well that’s about all for the moment! Thanks for reading and stay tuned! We are now half way through day 3 and about to set off on our afternoon drive so time to finish the beer and head out!

See you soon!!



Stay tuned via the RSS feedFacebook and Twitter! Lots more to come.

Comments 3

  1. Hi Richard, With the D800 your confirming what I have been hearing, great for portraits, action to slow. Also I have heard once the buffer is full it takes a full two minutes to clear before you can shoot again, be interested on your thoughts on this. Great images also, from you both!

    1. Thanks Bob! Buffer hasn’t really been a problem. With a fast card it clears out quick enough. You just need I manage it a bit better perhaps. Not shooting so trigger happy!

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