Lions, rhinos, and zebras, oh my!

pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital ShooterPosts: 13,982Super Moderators moderator
edited November 9, 2011 in Wildlife
I see Harry has already started posting images from Marc & Andy's African workshop. Like Harry, I have thousands of images, many are duplicates captured in high frame rate shooting, but a few are worth taking a second look at i believe.

Unlike Harry, I shot with a 7D and a 1DMk4, with a 70-300 IS L, and a 400 DO IS L lenses for most of my wildlife shots. Shooting late after sundown I envied Harry the low light ability of his D3s and his 200-400 f4.

Harry and I shot some of the same scenes, as the game cars tended to gather around the interesting locations, but we also shot apart at times as well.

This is one of the young lions in a moment of repose, from about 6-8 feet, 7D, f8, 135mm with the 70-300 IS L

lion-portrait-on-the-rock-XL.jpg


Here are two young lions hunting after dark, captured with a 7D at ISO 1600, f8, 70-300 IS L

Lionesses-on-the-prowl-MG2547-XL.jpg

Less warm and friendly is this black rhino with his own bird, 7D f5.6 ISO 200, 70-300 IS L

Black-Rino-TZ-MG2828-XL.jpg

And a zebra in motion, 7D, f25, 1/6th sec, ISO 100

blurred-running-zebra-curved-XL.jpg

Like Harry said, this workshop is far more than just wild animals, but the landscape of Africa, and its people, as well as the animals.

It was just a superb adventure, and I will return to Africa; I can see why people are seduced by it.

More images can be found here - http://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Travel/Kenya-October-2011/19588642_t7tvng#1534516761_jPZQG2L

Please leave comments, positive or negative, if you go there so I can gather some feed back from your viewing experience.
Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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Comments

  • StashStash Major grins Posts: 129Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 20, 2011
    Very nice pics Pathfinder. I especially like the first one.
    You guys are making me envious. I so love heading to Africa.
    C&C always welcome. I can't learn if I don't know what I've done wrong or could do better.

    http://donbirch.smugmug.com/
  • SnowgirlSnowgirl Major grins Posts: 2,155Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Jealous, so jealous! Beautiful.
    Creating visual and verbal images that resonate with you.
    http://www.imagesbyceci.com
    http://www.facebook.com/ImagesByCeci
    Picadilly, NB, Canada
  • zoomnzoomn Major grins Posts: 142Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,719Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 21, 2011
    Excellent set PF. The motion blur image is wonderful.

    I'm with you about returning to Africa. I am hooked.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 60,808Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    clap.gif so wonderful to be with you for 2 weeks in Africa, you made it such a great trip, and I learned from you as well! Love the zebra in motion bowdown.gif
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,524Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited October 21, 2011
    +1 on the zebra. Wonderful image. Looking forward to seeing more.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,982Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 21, 2011
    Andy wrote: »
    clap.gif so wonderful to be with you for 2 weeks in Africa, you made it such a great trip, and I learned from you as well! Love the zebra in motion bowdown.gif

    Kathy and I agree it was the best trip we have exer experienced, thank you so much for helping put it all together.

    This one's for you Andy.

    Andy-at-sunrise-in-the-Maara-XL.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ehughesehughes Major grins Posts: 1,675Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Awesome Stuff, very jealous....
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 60,808Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    pathfinder wrote: »
    This one's for you Andy.

    Andy-at-sunrise-in-the-Maara-300x300.jpg


    Love the schuka!
  • FlyNavyFlyNavy John L Posts: 1,347Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,488Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Super Zebra shot :)

    << Africa; I can see why people are seduced by it >>

    Having worked there (some decades ago) for nearly 4yrs, I'd not disagree ...

    pp
  • JeffroJeffro I'd rather be shooting... Posts: 2,062Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 22, 2011
    Awesome, just awesome. Enjoyed the entire gallery.
    Always lurking, sometimes participating. :D
  • GaleGale Nikon Gal Posts: 1,052Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2011
    Beautiful images.
    Zebra is a very artistic image
    Good work
    Best Regards
    Gale

    www.pbase.com/techwish
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,000Administrators moderator
    edited October 27, 2011
    Super images, Jim. clap.gif Somehow I missed this thread when you first posted it. The moving Zebra is really special. thumb.gif thumb.gif

    The 70-300L seemed to work very nicely for you.
  • bhowdybhowdy Major grins Posts: 658Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2011
    Great series of images
    ________________

    Bob
    Maryville, TN.

    http://bhowdy.smugmug.com/
  • dlplumerdlplumer Major grins Posts: 7,993Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2011
    Excellent series, Jim. So envious of your journey. clap.gif
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Posts: 10,980Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2011
    Yep the Zebra thumb.gif
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 29, 2011
    No doubt this trip was one of the most meticulously prepared of any photography safari to Africa! I am very happy you all had such a great time, and I am enjoying the exciting results from you all, as I did the excitement of your preparations. The crosstalk about arrangements and gear preceding the trip I found very instructive, and I hope you guys will debrief here at DGrin about both in due course! I did contribute my experience of a trip to south central Tanzania in one of those before the trip threads, in which I described how I thought: handholdable, highly maneuverable, stabilised, fast aperture and fast AF zoom - and therefore not extreme length - were the priorities in gear for this kind of trip. So, I am keen to get your assessment after the fact. From what I have seen from everyone's photos so far your Canon gear has given you unbeaten results!

    The annual great migration in the Masai Mara is a special case in that the terrain is very open, and the location of animals is predictable and their numbers immense. Consequently your shooting can be relatively planned and unhurried, tripods etc can be used, and with extreme length you have more photo opportunities. I was surprised to see that even at Lena Downs the terrain was quite open compared with my experience in Tanzania. There I went to the Fox's camp at Ruaha River in a national park:

    http://www.tanzaniasafaris.info/Ruaha/intro.htm

    It seems to be a different experience to the one you had. The terrain is more "closed", the animal encounters more serendipitous. Therefore the photography is harder and less certain, you have the sense of hunting your shots. You need a lot of time. On the other hand, when I was there in October 2006, our vehicle was the only one wherever we went! As well, if you want to add more variety to your trophies, not just the large animals, there is a huge variety there. But once again, getting shots is commensurably much harder work and much more uncertain.

    One indelible memory I have from there is being woken in my banda in the middle of the night by blood curdling screaming from some small animal, everything in pitch blackness. I took my flashlight and crept to the door, which was a wooden frame closed in only with insect screen. I turned on my torch and shone it outside. The beam caught two great yellow orbs looking straight back at me from a couple of yards away. In the morning we found the footprints of a panther through the camp!

    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,982Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    Neil, I shot mostly with a 7D with a 70-300 f4-5.6 IS L, and a 1DMkIV with a 400mm f4 DO IS L.. Faster apertures would have been nice, as we did a fair amount of shooting well after sundown following lions and other carnivores. There were a few times my AF would not work at f4 or f5.6, because it was so dark, while folks with the 70-200 f2.8 IS L would still keep acquiring autofocus. But f2.8 lenses are bigger and significantly heavier, and weight gets to be a real consideration on a trip of this sort. We used small tripods for our landscape shots, but the animals were shot hand held or on bean bags in the Land Cruisers.

    I could get pretty fair shots in the dark at ISO 1600, but faster than that and I had a problem, even with the 1DMkIV... Meanwhile, Harry just kept banging away at ISO 6400 with this D300s.

    The amount of game on the Mara was staggering at times

    Here is a shot of wildebeests from the air to show just how many there were on the Mara

    Wildebeest-on-the-Mara-7776-XL.jpg

    In Rokero camp along the Talek river along the Masai Mara, our tents stretched out along the river over 300 yards, and at night we had to have a Masai guard escort us to and from our tents "for safety's sake". I though maybe they were being over protective at first, and then I saw a pride of lions cross the Talek river about 50 yards from our mess tent, and I was quite happy to wait for our escort at night after supper about 10pm.

    Even with all the game, hunting for certain species required more effort. Lions were easy, cheetahs and leopard required more effort.

    cheetah-portrait-3118-XL.jpg

    The caracals, our guides found, required us to spend all evening waiting until they finally climbed out of the grass well after dark. Our guide had only seen 8 or 10 caracals in a 20 year career as a guide in Kenya. They are small carnivores, about the size of a house cat, and so hide in the grass very easily. Under exposed ISO 3200 on a 7D, dark enough that autofocus was beginning to fail.

    Caracals-7604-XL.jpg

    The environment you describe in Tanzania is completely at odds with that we saw at Amboseli, which was a large dry lakebed with animals scattered about on their way to watering springs.

    Amboseli-playa-8580-L.jpg

    wildebeests-from-the-air-8322-L.jpg

    wildebeests-from-the-air-8297-L.jpg

    ellies-from-the-air-8618-L.jpg


    The noisy varmit you mentioned sounds like a hyrax, we listened to them one night at the Ngong house in Nairobi.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,982Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    kdog wrote: »
    Super images, Jim. clap.gif Somehow I missed this thread when you first posted it. The moving Zebra is really special. thumb.gif thumb.gif

    The 70-300L seemed to work very nicely for you.

    Yes it did, Joel.

    It is not fast at the long end, but it does seem to be nice and sharp with good contrast. And it is pretty small, easy to handle, and light.

    I would love to be able to use a 300mm f2.8 IS L and a 500mm f4, as well as a 70-200 f2,8 IS L, but the weight is a real issue, and one does not want to be swapping lenses in the Land Cruiser as it can get pretty dusty at times.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • martinjp2martinjp2 Big grins Posts: 28Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 31, 2011
    Your Smugmug gallery is breathtakingly beautiful! The herd of elephants as sunset is amazing, as are all the cats. The hippo straight on in BW is perfect. You definitely got your money's worth.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,982Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    Aw shucks...... :lurk

    Uh, what hippo shot in B&W?? You mean my rhino, maybe ?
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 1, 2011
    Great to read your very informative reply Jim, thanks! You've done a top job with the caracals pic under those circumstances! While the big familiar animals understandably steal the show for many viewers and establish one's credentials in the safari club, for me the caracals shot is worth more. Interesting that like me you also seem not to consider super teles critical, especially since the "accepted wisdom" goes that you can never get enough reach on safari. I don't know quite where that is coming from.ne_nau.gif A lion's head filling the frame could be in a zoo, but the caracals in your shot, and the elephants below them, certainly are not! So I think the magic in magic safari shots is in the ability of the photographer to put such "common" animals as lions and elephants and giraffe etc, and uncommon and less charismatic animals, both, in that very special and distinctive ambiance that is Africa. Not something that super teles can always do, apart from other considerations as we have mentioned.

    You might be right that the unfortunate animal that contributed to the panther's dinner that night was a hyrax. Its screaming was so primal, though, that it could have been coming from you or me!

    At Ruaha we also had the benevolent protection of armed Masai to and from our bandas after dark, but armed with spear and flashlight only. That is trust!mwink.gif

    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • schmooschmoo word nerd Posts: 8,468Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 1, 2011
    pathfinder wrote: »
    Uh, what hippo shot in B&W??


    lol3.gif

    These are terrific, Jim! I'm loving the aerial shots in particular. It sure looks worth getting in an airplane when you have a good photographer behind the lens!
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,719Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 1, 2011
    NeilL wrote: »
    t! So I think the magic in magic safari shots is in the ability of the photographer to put such "common" animals as lions and elephants and giraffe etc, and uncommon and less charismatic animals, both, in that very special and distinctive ambiance that is Africa.
    Neil


    15524779-Ti.gif

    I have been totally immersed in the processing of my images since our return from Africa. I've looked at thousands of captures so far. I have a goodly number of close-ups of the various animals and they are OK and fun to look at but I could easily get the same results at a zoo or park.

    The images that really invoke a response from me and bring me back to the experience of the trip are the images showing the subject in its setting.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • canon400dcanon400d Banned User Posts: 2,826Banned Major grins
    edited November 3, 2011
    Harryb wrote: »
    15524779-Ti.gif

    I have been totally immersed in the processing of my images since our return from Africa. I've looked at thousands of captures so far. I have a goodly number of close-ups of the various animals and they are OK and fun to look at but I could easily get the same results at a zoo or park.

    The images that really invoke a response from me and bring me back to the experience of the trip are the images showing the subject in its setting.

    What a fantastic set of images Pathfinder. It really was a pleasure viewing them. Like the rest the Zebra really is an eye catcher. Well done.
    Cheers
    Bob
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,982Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 3, 2011
    Harryb wrote: »
    15524779-Ti.gif

    I have been totally immersed in the processing of my images since our return from Africa. I've looked at thousands of captures so far. I have a goodly number of close-ups of the various animals and they are OK and fun to look at but I could easily get the same results at a zoo or park.

    The images that really invoke a response from me and bring me back to the experience of the trip are the images showing the subject in its setting.

    LIke this one, maybe, Harry?

    cheetah-on-station-3263-XL.jpg

    Bob, I am glad to you enjoyed the blurred zebra.

    Here is a wildebeest in a similar rendering.

    running-wildebeest-on-the-Mara-L.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,719Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 3, 2011
    pathfinder wrote: »
    LIke this one, maybe, Harry?

    thumb.gif
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 3, 2011
    pathfinder wrote: »
    LIke this one, maybe, Harry?

    cheetah-on-station-3263-XL.jpg

    What a corker Jim! Glorious! iloveyou.giflustiloveyou.gif

    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • dlplumerdlplumer Major grins Posts: 7,993Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 5, 2011
    :lurk Keep em coming clap.gif
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