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Thread started 13 Sep 2015 (Sunday) 07:59
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He's baaaack ... The Tale of the Last Safari for 2015

 
buddy4344
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Oct 05, 2015 17:35 |  #136

After a thousand great shots of this setting, the elephants decided to cross the river, once more giving us some diversity to shoot.


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buddy4344
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Oct 05, 2015 17:36 |  #137

I really could bore you to death with elephant pictures from this day, but it truly became elephant day. Just amazing.


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Buddy4344

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buddy4344
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Oct 05, 2015 17:37 |  #138

and more elephants on land were coming.


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Buddy4344

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buddy4344
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Oct 05, 2015 17:38 |  #139

So we had elephants in great light to our left and elephants shooting into the sun on our right.


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buddy4344
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Oct 05, 2015 17:40 |  #140

As I've mentioned in the past, my friends at Pangolin have two boats based in Kasane and we contacted the other boat to come join us for the evening shooting. We took care not to stress the elephants, but we did get quite close as the elephants are very used to photographers shooting them as they cross.


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buddy4344
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Oct 05, 2015 17:44 |  #141

All things end. The only thing that was ending this elephant day was the lack of sun. As the sun went below the horizon we could still shoot, but ISO would have gotten crazy fast.

This last shot for the day shows an elephant exiting the water into Botswana, but in the background is the houseboat we will be using as our home base next June and August when we go to Chobe. Technically, it's registered in Namibia and moored in Namibia. This allows the folks on the house boat to stay in the park after dark and to go out into the park before sunrise in the morning. Of course, it allows shooting at any time. Folks on the houseboat were having lunch while I was there when they saw wild dog along the river bank, so they grabbed the cameras, went over and photographed them. On the houseboat, you will also go to sleep with the sound of elephants and hippos in the night. I can't wait.

That's all for today. Tomorrow's morning safari will be our last in Chobe.


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Oct 05, 2015 20:53 as a reply to  @ buddy4344's post |  #142

Better check your camera... Looks like there's a sudden exposure change halfway up the elephant  :p

I could say that this is a fantastic series of elephant pictures... I like the silhouette especially... But you've raised the bar so much that it's just standard for you!

:-)




  
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i-G12
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Oct 08, 2015 08:48 as a reply to  @ primeone's post |  #143

Hey Buddy...is that it or are you actually trying to get some real work done?  :p

Waiting for the next group of Big Cat shots!




  
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buddy4344
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Oct 08, 2015 16:36 |  #144

i-G12 wrote in post #17737561 (external link)
Hey Buddy...is that it or are you actually trying to get some real work done?  :p

Waiting for the next group of Big Cat shots!

There is a little more to come. I've been busy with other work as well as a darn iPhone freezing up (today). I promise more in the coming days.


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buddy4344
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Oct 12, 2015 13:46 |  #145

Okay, this is the last morning of the last day we are on safari. Yes, we have another 5 nights coming in Cape Town and yes, we will be taking a lot more images; however, most of Cape Town photos are wine lands, landscapes, oceanscapes, etc. The exception being the South African Penguins (also known as Jackass penguins for their braying) we photographed on the Cape of Good Hope. I may do a thread on Cape Town, but it will not be in Wildlife. Sorry folks. So this is my swan song for 2015 safaris.

In the rapids downstream of Chobe National Park, there is a large rookery of yellow billed storks. Also there are cormorants, anhingas, herons, etc. Each trip I like to take one morning, usually near trips end and visit this lovely spot. The trip over always provides a gorgeous sunrise and lots of chances for silhouette shots.


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buddy4344
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Oct 12, 2015 13:53 |  #146

In addition, the guests have had a week to work on their tracking skills for birds in flight (BIF) and this is simply an amazing chance to shoot the yellow billed storks. When we arrive, the ISO is a bit high, but as the sun rises above the horizon, the shutter speeds also get to come up. The yellow bills are always flying from one island with a tree to another island with tree in the rapids. Here is where having a great guide helps as the current is pretty fast, but the good guides know how to find eddy pools behind rocks to keep the boat stable for us. A typical shot at the rookery seems to be about 1000 images as the sounds on the boat remind one of machine gun fire. It's truly a blast.


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buddy4344
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Oct 12, 2015 13:56 |  #147

By late August, the little ones have fledged, so you will find them on the rocks of the river as well as in flight. I even found an immature yellow bill bringing sticks back to the nest. This activity is mostly by adult birds. Note the sub-adult plummage is not as pretty nor is the beak yellow at this stage. These birds hatched in early May. By December, they will have the yellow bills and red on their faces.


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buddy4344
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Oct 12, 2015 13:59 |  #148

My favorite shots are when I see birds bringing branches back to the nest for repairs. While this shot is 'nice' I really prefer shots that show context of background or water. Regardless, the Canon 7D MkII and the Canon 100-400 ver. II performed well. I had the camera set on wide area focus so it would pick up the closest moving thing regardless of where in frame it was. I can't believe I'm using this really wide focus area, but it seems to work well when you are mostly shooting birds in the sky or with distant backgrounds. I also had the camera set on Case 5. I've been told that's not optimal, but it works for me.


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buddy4344
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Post edited over 5 years ago by buddy4344.
     
Oct 12, 2015 14:06 |  #149

In addition to a zillion yellow bills, the rapids are host to a lot of other bird species. The top bird has been called a 'Thick knee", but I think the 'new name' is different. Many birds in Southern Africa have had name changes in recent years, and I change slowly. The other little birds are of the plover family I think. Shuur told me this was a fairly rare sighting, but I don't recall the name he called these little birds. I've just reached out to some of my South Africa bird experts on the name and will edit once I know it.

Of course, where there is a rookery, there are also predators and we saw quite a few crocs and also fish eagles flying in this area. It's really a lovely spot and you must try to get to this area at sunrise if you make it to Chobe. While I won't call it a religious experience, I will say a morning there will touch your soul.


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buddy4344
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Oct 12, 2015 14:12 |  #150

After an hour or so at the rapids, we headed toward the park. All week long I have been on the lookout for the Malachite Kingfisher, which is one of my favorite little birds. We have had some wind and guides have suggested that the birds have been keeping in the thicker brush, but we have no wind today so i want us to see this bird. Near the park entrance on the Caprivi Strip side are reeds. The Malachite kingfishers hang out in these reeds and dive into the waters there for minnows to eat. Knowing this we head for the reeds. On this area, the lighting is perfect, so if we spot birds, the light will be good.

Of course, instead of the kingfisher I see, the first bird we see is a lilac breasted roller in perfect light and a clean background. Though we have seen several during the trip, we don't pass up the chance to shoot this beautiful bird.


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