Africa Live 2016-02: 03 part 1, A bit of this and a bit of that

Hi all. We are back here with a new post from our exploits in the Mara.

The group are wonderful to share the plains with and I am really enjoying the time spent with them alongside guide superstar Charles and the whole crew here at camp led by Darren and Emma.

As always the Askari wake up call was right on time (that is to say to early in the morning!) and after a brief tea and securing the match sticks under my eyes I made my way out of the tent and to the car a few minutes ahead of the group to go through the day’s plan with Charles.

Commentary in the image captions…

Africa live wildlife photography blog

Now with a full moon over the Mara. Whilst this isn’t great for star-gazing the morning moon sets can be amazing. Also proof as to the amazing low light, high iso quality the Nikon cameras provide. My guests are often surprised when I get my camera out and take shots like this hand held.




With the interesting sky unfolding around us we decided to get as low as we could for some silhouette shots. We were in a unhelpful flat area as we were looking for our Cheetahs but managed a few with a little leaning out the car!



Taking cues from friends and back and white specialists David Lloyd and Kiki (in camp at the mo also) I am fighting my golden light instincts and looking more towards form when shooting these sorts of shots. My lizard brain always heads for intense back or side light as a go-to after all these years of crafting my style and I am really enjoying the challenge of pushing my work and spreading my wings photographically. Who knows, might have to buy a beret soon?



After our Elephant encounter we spied this female roaming the plains in response to the slowly rising sun. Good light and Lions…. Can’t resist!




Back in my comfort zone, early soft light raking in from the side. Love that fur!



Dot and Lyn from my group are very much into their birding as is Charles. The time after the sunrise as the light becomes a little harsher is great for birding around the mara as you can get your shutter speeds back up and spot their movement and plumage much easier. This stunning bird is a Yellow-throated Longclaw.


The light was getting bright and harsh now so definitely in B&W territory to get something palatable! Great to see Imani and her cubs not too far from camp.



Really (really!) using the harsh midday sun to my advantage now. Deliberate over exposure and a crunchy B&W process to pull out something interesting. I think these will be Marmite shots, you’ll either love ’em or hate ’em!!



Spotting is as much about watching for the prey as it is the predator. A lot, if not most sightings are the result of observing the behaviour of the animals who’s lives depend on spotting the cats themselves. Once very loud and distinctive alert call is that of the Helmeted Guinea Fowl. Often easily panicked by something harmless you take their calls with a pinch of salt. However when we have 3 birds in different trees all calling and looking in the same direction something is up. We searched for 20 minutes to see what they were alerted by but the long grass and rocks were really hindering the process. We reckon in was a Serval cat or even Caracal as a larger cat would have been easier for us to spot. No dice through!


The face of panic!





Back with the Cheetahs we saw an opportunity for a hunt as did she. This situation usually ends up in a very hot, long wait and often no kill for her. Cheetahs have a very tough life and their hunting whilst spectacular when it happens often ends in failure.


After an hour’s wait or so we got to see an almost flat out run. Not quite full hoof but great for the group to see her giving her legs a proper stretch!


The run however was too early and the Gazelles managed to elude her.



A sprint slows to a trot and then a rest.

And so ended our morning. The heat was increasing and we made our way beck to the nearby home away from home for some r & r after a long hot morning around the conservancy.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed. If you have any questions please head over to facebook and let me know.

Until next time, Rich.

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