Elephants 4 – Watched by an Oryx (Mono)

This is the fourth post in this elephant series and again, I have gone straight for the monochrome treatment.  I may post the colour version if anybody asks for it, but at the moment I feel drawn into presenting B&W elephants because I think this treatment really works for them.

I think that the elephant framed between the watching Oryx and the Zebra herd seems to work quite well but it is a pity about the Zebra back growing out of the Elephants neck.  Should I have cloned it out?  I couldn’t do anything about it when shooting, since I couldn’t move the vehicle that we were in.  This photo was also taken at the same nearly dried up water hole in the Etosha National Park, Namibia and is another example of the Etosha White Elephant.  Perhaps that might have been clearer in a colour image.

White Elephant, Oryx and Zebra in Etosha National Park

I haven’t mentioned it in the other elephant posts so far but, by today’s standards, these are a bit ‘pixel limited’ by the Sony DSC-H1 and its 5 MP resolution.  I don’t think it shows too much though.  More elephants will follow, but if you haven’t seen the earlier ones they are easy to find from the list of recent posts.

Elephants 1 – A dusting of White Elephants

Elephants have always been a favourite wild animal for both my wife and myself.  Recently, two of my favourite bloggers, Helen and Adrian have produced posts featuring elephants, which can be found by following their links.  Since I love elephants, their posts have prompted me to start a series of posts of my own, which may be ongoing for some time.  This is the first.

We have all heard of ‘pink elephants’, though perhaps not expected to see them unless in a drunken stupor.  We may also have experienced ‘white elephants’ at some time in our lives, almost certainly wishing that we had not.

Real elephants can come in a range of colours, though of course most people expect them to be a ‘greyish/brownish’ colour.  Their apparent colour actually depends on the environment in which they live and the lifestyle that they like to adopt.  They love bathing in water, which I guess is good for turning them their natural ‘greyish/brownish’ colour.  They also like to use the natural ‘cosmetics’ of the wild by wallowing in mud and/or ‘dusting’ their wet bodies after bathing with whatever powders they can find.  The reasons seem to be mainly to do with protection from the sun and parasites.

This first post in my elephant series features the elephants of the Etosha National Park in Namibia.  These are real, wild, white elephants, created as a result of their behaviour.

The photo shows a family of elephants coating themselves in dust on the Etosha Pan.

When I saw in Adrian’s post, how well elephants could come out when given a monochrome treatment, I thought that it would be good to experiment a little.  Please keep a look out for some B&W ‘white elephants’ in future posts.

More Cheetah

Over a year ago, after I started my series on Vietnam, I dropped in a photo of a Cheetah, which I captured in Namibia in 2006.  I still haven’t finished my series on Vietnam, which I consider to be a terrible failure, so this post drops in a few more Cheetah photos, just to keep the blog moving.  Please don’t be too critical of them as they were all taken with a humble 5MP camera.  How cameras have moved on.

These pictures were all taken at the Africat Foundation at Okonjima, in Namibia.  We stayed here for a couple of nights during our tour.  As we were walking into the lodge, we met the well known celebrity and TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, who had just been filming for a TV programme screened a little while after we returned toi the UK.  She had a few words for us as we passed, saying with a smile, that we ‘would enjoy it here’.  We certainly did.

Cheetah Feeding Time
Lying around!
Yawning.
Waiting for supper.
Sleep walking?
More lying around.
Prowling around.

My earlier Cheetah post can be found here.

Hopefully, one day I will get around to posting some more from Namibia.  I just hope you can wait!

Botswana – Day 3 The Okavango Delta (Part 3)

In the last post, we were about to stop for a ‘coffee break’ on an island in the Okavango Delta.  This post picks the story up during the coffee break, which as always in Africa was taken in a very civilised manner.

Okavango Coffee Break

Part of our island.

Picnic Island

A nice spot in the shade.

Okavango Coffee Break

Although we were on an island, we still needed to remember that the delta is full of wild animals, and that we had no vehicle to retreat to in the event that a dangerous animal turned up.  This fact was easy to forget as it was so peaceful and some of us did wander maybe 30-40 metres from the coffee table and consequently were chastised by the guides.  The photo with the termite mound was such an occasion.

Termites and us – On an island in the Okavango Delta

After coffee it was back on the water for the mokoro journey back to the camp.

Mokoro
Mokoro

This elephant gave us a good view of his backside as he climbed up onto a reed covered island.  He soon disappeared completely from sight.  This gives weight to the notion that there is a lot more wildlife there than meets the eye.

Elephant in Okavango Delta
Mokoros return to Pom Pom Camp

Back at the camp, we were of course late for lunch, due to our late start.  This sign, pinned to the notice board in the dining area, amused everyone.

Love Africa!

After another excellent lunch, though I can’t remember what it was now, we had time ‘at leisure’ as they say.  We couldn’t go back to Kasane yet anyway, as our pilot had ‘gone fishing’, so we sat and admired the view and the ‘local’ wildlife.

View from the Pom Pom Camp

A Pied KIngfisher also admiring the view, or more probably watching for his lunch.

Pied Kingfisher – Ceryle rudis

A Pygmy Goose drifting past.

An African Jacana wandering through the lily pads.

African Jacana – Actophilornis africanus

A Burchell’s Glossy Starling hopping around the camp.  The iridescent blue of this bird is beautiful.

Burchell’s Glossy Starling – Lamprotornis australis

And another unknown Dragonfly.

Dragonfly – Pom Pom Camp

Here comes our pilot, back from his fishing trip, so we should be off to Kasane soon,

Our Pilot coming back from fishing

but only after he has presented his catch to the staff of the camp for supper tonight.

Offerings to the Camp Staff

One aircraft ahead of us, kicking up a good old cloud of dust, and then it is our turn to take off.

Part 4 of this day’s story will be in the next post.  Please come back for a look.

The beginning of the story can be found here.

Botswana – Day 2 (Part 1)

I’m afraid that there has been a bit of a delay with this Botswana story.  My only excuse is that I have been really busy with other things. Future posts may also be a bit sporadic for a while.  I hope that readers will be patient.

During day 2 of our time in Botswana we managed to fit in both morning and afternoon vehicle borne game drives, so here are a few photos from that day, quite possibly not in chronological order.  I can remember that the first drive started pretty early and we saw the sunrise, but other than that my recollection of the day has had to fall back on the photos.

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Botswana – Our first River Safari (Part 1)

I bought my Olympus E-520 as a kit, with 14-42mm and 70-300mm lenses especially for use on this holiday to Botswana.  I had shot previous game drives in Africa with a Sony DSC-H1 ‘bridge’ camera, and had found it ok, but not really responsive enough.  Although I knew that I had a bit of a learning curve to ascend, I hoped to do better with the E-520 and had high hopes of some good images.

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Zambia – Elephant Back Safari

This is the final post from Zambia before we set off for Botswana.

Dee and I had the opportunity to go on an Elephant Back Safari.  The decision to go was not made lightly.  Firstly, I always thought that African Elephants were big, dangerous, wild animals, and although baby elephants were rather sweet, their mums and dads would probably kill you if you went anywhere near them.  I knew that Indian Elephants were often domesticated working animals, and that they could be ridden, but I wasn’t so sure about the african animals.

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