Londolozi Photographic Tuition

02nd March 2015
I hosted Keith and Kate from the US at Londolozi’s Tree camp for a few days on a Wildlife Photographic Safari. After meeting them and chatting about what lay ahead for the next few days we set up Keith’s camera for Wildlife Photography, we arranged the menu accordingly and we also did a focus calibration on the camera to ensure the sharpest possible images. After the initial setup it was time to go out on drive and do some practical photography.

We started off the drive with a few images of some general game, Zebra, Wildebeest and Impalas, we then went to go and look at the Ximpalapala Young Female Leopard, what a beautiful young Leopard, she was on the move and we got some images of her as she was walking through the grass, she then proceeded to climb a tree and survey the surrounding area, we waited patiently until she decided to climb down the tree and continue her search for food, we could see she was thin and hungry !

A short distance on she climbed up a fallen over Knob thorn tree and again surveyed the area, suddenly her mood changed and she became very focused on something we could not see, in a flash she climbed down the tree and trotted off to another tree close by, only then did we see what she was after, a Tree Squirrel, Ximpalapala climbed up the tree after the Squirrel, the Squirrel made a desperate attempt to escape and it jumped from the top branches of the tree down to the ground, the Leopard turned and with great agility climbed down the tree and seemed to arrive at the bottom of the tree almost the same time as the Squirrel landed and in a split second she had caught the Squirrel, all the while we were furiously trying to photograph the fast paced action !

The small meal didn’t last long and in a few minutes she was off again, Ximpalapala again climbed a small tree to survey the surrounding area this time we positioned ourselves with the setting sun behind her, we used some fill flash on the Leopard, what a beautiful scene !

The Leopard then climbed down the tree and had a quick drink in a nearby pool of water, after her drink she lay down to rest and it was at this point that we left her and went for our own sundowner drink, wow what a start to our trip !

After drinks we headed back to the lodge and on the way we photographed a Spotted Eagle owl in a dead tree with the spotlight.

The following Morning we headed to the South of the reserve looking for a coalition of 3 Male cheetah that had been seen the day before, on the way we found the Makhotini male Leopard, he was watching from the wall of a small dam and we got a few images of him before he disappeared down a thickly wooded dry riverbed and we decided to leave him and continue our Cheetah search.

We unfortunately could not find the Cheetah but we did see and Photograph a variety of other big game before returning to the lodge for breakfast.
After Breakfast Keith, Kate and I headed up to the Creative Hub to download and work on some of our images in Lightroom, I showed Keith and Kate the download process as well has how to edit images and export them for use.

Later that afternoon we set off on drive again, we crossed over to the North of the reserve and on the river crossing we saw a Crocodile lying in the stream trying to ambush fish that swam by.

We took a few portrait images of it before starting our search for a female Leopard that had young cubs, unfortunately we did not find her but we did get some great silhouette images of a Tawny Eagle at sunset and a herd of Zebra with some wonderful backlighting on them, later on that evening we went to have a look at the Two Tones male leopard that had been found, we spent some time with him and used the spotlight to take some great night images of him as he sat and listened to the night sounds, finally it was time to head home for some dinner !

The following morning we set off nice and early, looking for Lion or Leopard and it wasn’t long before we found the Piva Male Leopard, he was stalking a Duiker but the Duiker darted off and the Leopard gave up the stalk and proceeded to sit on a termite mound surveying the surrounding area.

We left the Leopard after an hour still sitting on the mound and we went in search of some other photographic opportunities, it wasn’t long before we found a crash of Rhino and some Zebra on a clearing close by, we got some images of them as they moved and grazed.

We then decided to head down to the river to see if we could find some Elephants having a drink, it was a really hot morning and we found a Elephant bull on the concrete river crossing, grazing on the reeds, after leaving the Elephant bull we found a small herd of Elephant drinking at a nearby dam, we got some images of them drinking and their reflections in the water, by this time we decided to go back to the lodge for breakfast, our time together had flow past far too quickly !

Londolozi had again been great for photography and we left with some amazing memories and images.

All images photographed using Nikon D4 and D800 cameras, 200-400 F4 lens and 70-200 F2.8 lens, SB 910 flash.

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