As I said, I shoot just about anything. So when you’re on vacation, the camera is always out. It’s on my shoulder, in my lap, or in my hand. And it doesn’t much matter if we’re riding up a bumpy road at 50 mph or flying in a plane with tinted windows. I’ll take a shot. Sometimes you win out. Of course there are ways to make your odds better. When flying I like to look for patterns. I can never understand when people have the window seat and they never look at the scenery. Flying across Tanzania, we had plenty of opportunity and especially because we were not flying so high.
The hard thing is getting birds in flight. If it was easy everyone would have great shots. And if you get them in flight, you’d like to see more than a dark dot on your image. Otherwise the big vultures and such are easy to capture when they sit and eat. No try catching birds in flight. It’s focus and shutter speed….and a bit of luck.
After the first, I saw this species many more times. They are almost like iguanas in that they stop when you approach. They wait to see if you are a threat and then move off if you come closer. With a big lens you can actually get a pretty good close-up.
Once we saw a lion and I got my fill of shots, the goal was again to capture some unique behavior. It’s not like every moment a lion is yawning. They mostly lie about and sleep. There aren’t really any predators above them in the food chain. So eat, sleep and then get up to hunt again.
Look, there’s a croc sunning on the island in the middle. It’s not that fast, I think. And it’s easy enough to see. And you could walk up about 10 yards along the riverbank and cross there. And then you wouldn’t be eaten. No, they are all gathered here. They will cross here. And they will be lunch … or not. Dumb?
When we arrived in the Serengeti, it was the tail end of migration season. There was still crossing of the wildebeests going on but you would never know it. Here’s how it goes. For as far as the eye can see, there are wildebeest filling the landscape. Thousands upon thousands are grazing on both sides of the river. To look at them you don’t know if they are coming or going. And while we were there they moved in both directions. And only a few moved at a time. The reason that it is dangerous is that there are crocodiles in the river, which will take down a wildebeest and eat it. Compared to a few crocodiles there are thousands more wildebeest. Still there is a built-in fear of river crossings. They (wildebeest) don’t look, they just gather courage and then run across the river. It’s not too hard to see the crocs, but they all run. It gets even sillier when they leap and run across puddles. Ok, so this is one quintessential shot of migration that I did not capture. But I suppose that it’s ok that a croc went hungry and a wildebeest lived to leap another day.
There are some animals in abundance. Zebras are seen everywhere. They are cautious enough. One sees herds numbering in the hundreds. So taking a shot is pretty easy. It’s the idea then to get something that is other than a cute portrait or close up. You looks for patterns or groupings that are different than the hundreds of zebra pictures you have shooting each day. You never know when or if your image will show up. So here we came up on a couple of zebras wrestling. And after a few hundred shots, you have to pick one.
We found this pride near a river. The group of females and young came down to the riverbank to sun. It seems that everyone had fed recently. We laughed because this little one looked so low and heavy.
The big five… if you look them up, they are on the list of every big game hunter. We actually saw them all within one day on this trip. Amazing! Rhinos are special. We saw a few. We were fortunate. Our guide was staring off in the distance and then suddenly we tore off bouncing and throwing up a big tail of dust. They (rhinos) don’t see too well. But they don’t feel to threatened by a vehicle. So we were able to get some close-in shots before he trotted away.
I suppose that when birds eat fish whole, it makes sense to them. Eagles tear their food apart. But this guy was going to swallow lunch in one gulp. He spent quite a while attempting to get this done. First the fish had to be turned head first. It doesn’t go down tail first easily. It (fish) kept flopping so it would be lost if the bird lost its grip. And there were other birds waiting just to grab this fish if there was any mistake. Yes, he did swallow it whole. Didn’t mom always say to ‘chew?’