Africa Live 2016-02: 04 #2, Mixed afternoon

Hi all. Picking up where we left off  last time.

After our birding spree we slowly made our way back to camp as the heat was rising and breakfast wearing off. About 10 minutes from camp we passed our regular watering spot with the small herd of Elephants making their way closer.

Not wanting to miss a trick we parked up ahead of them and waited. The sun was really starting to beat down but a deliberately underexposed shot with a contrasty B&W process in Lightroom can work wonders. A polarizer and even yellow filter on your lens really can help here too.

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As we were already here when they arrived they were relaxed and approached us in a very close and chilled pattern.

 

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Grazing on the abundant long grass.

 

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Even when relaxed the young ones are kept sheltered by the adults.

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Cooling off in the lunchtime heat.

 

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Disturbing the hidden Hamerkop.

 

After a relatively brief session we left them to it and made our way back to camp to cool off for a few hours.

Later like clockwork Charles was down to us with the vehicle for 16:00 and we piled in and headed out.

Charles had heard where the Cheetahs had moved to so we raced to their location and luckily enough they were still there and looking hungry…

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On the look out but one of them suddenly jumped up and scared the potential meal away.

 

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After the failure to hunt they found what little shade was nearby and rested. I had been kindly lent the new 10×33 binoculars from Leica to review for this trip, here I am giving them a good workout. More on that later.

With out Cheetahs resting and no prey around we decided to head out to try our luck with Fig. A few hours of searching her local patch later and we made her out in the long grass. Just! We slowly made our way towards her, taking our time as it was very rocky. She was resting but not asleep so we made the decision to sit and wait as the cub was also nearby and we predicted movement in the next few hours.

We didn’t have to wait that long this time thankfully as she began to walk along a gully and up onto the bank right where we were! The sun was still pretty bright but getting softer by the minute. Very tricky for exposing and our maneuverability was very restricted so crafting how the light fell on the scene was almost impossible this time.

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The light warming up as the sun dipped lower in the sky.

She had chosen a very awkward spot (as she often does) with little room to maneuver into position and lots of brush in the way. As always leaning, standing stretching and the rest of the contortion show was called for to get some useable shots.

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As you can see, as she moved in relation to the light the scene changes entirely. This is a combination of how the camera and lens deal with the light’s angle to the sensor.

 

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The cub, more playful than mum, made brief use of the tree stump right next to the car. Look at those claws!

 

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Clearly curious towards us and not afraid as we are a well behaved, quiet bunch the cub decided to turn the tables and observe us for a change!

 

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Taken on my very wide lens, here you can see the car door. Eye contact with any of the cats is a real treat but a short stare out with a Leopard cub is really something!

Then, as the light faded the pair sunk down into the long grass and it was time to head back to camp. Another wonderful day in the Mara and we couldn’t wait until tomorrow to see what the plains have to offer. Check back soon to see what we found! New posts announced on facebook and twitter as always!

Thanks as always, Rich.

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