South African Wildlife Photography – 2011

2011 proved to be a great year for my wildlife photography with some great memories and sightings despite fewer trips  to the bush. Two trips  to the Kruger were undertaken,  The first in July 2011 with Tom and  Doug and the second  in October with Joy, Tom and  Anna for 10 days, commencing in the middle of the Park commencing in Letaba, then Satara and  Skukuza… both  very  different seasons. The former trip in the south of the Park (Crocodile Bridge Skukuza and Berg En Dal) resulted in my closest sighting of a black rhino as it  was about to cross  the road in dense bush as I passed (to within 5m) .  Needless to say both of us back-pedalled to eye each other out. Most of my experiences of  black rhino is that they are  obscured by the bush  and in the  distance (50m+)but not in the current  scenario. Why I was  shooting ISO 1600  on one of my cameras is a mystery and a mistake.  I also had a great leopard  sighting that same day on the tar road from Skukuza to Malelane.  The Leopard was sitting on a koppie 30m  into the bush and decided to walk to within touching distance of my landy, totally ignorant of me and clearly on the hunt.  This year saw  me  experimenting with a new  suction cup mount   attached to the door of my landy and secured  by  tie  downs as well as a  roof top  hide allowing the kids and I to pop out at opportune moments.   Missed opportunities  included getting stuck in a traffic jam   during a leopard  sighting when I new  of a  little  known road along the river just a bit further …I got there too late only to see  the  tail of the leopard head into the bush  3m away.  I must say I was tempted  for the first time to get to out of my car  but common sense  prevailed .  I also phoptgraphed a recently  born young elepghant ( a few days at most). I was surprised as to how placid its mother was as I passed within  5m of  them both..sadly the light was poor and I was nervous .  As to the most amazing photographic  moment..it was a fish eagle at Nsemani dam, which dived  from flight and dragged and swam with its huge prey of a barbel catfish to the shore, a distance of  6m .  A series of  40 odd photos of this amazing sequence was taken. Talk about being in the right place at the right time..  If only I had a   longer lens..the perpetual  cry of a wildlife photographer.

Phil

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