Coot Chicks

These little chicks are coot, you might say. I saw them, on the vlei at Marievale, far out on the water, at the furthest reach of my 500mm telephoto, and even then I had to crop the images severely. The teeniest chicks, interestingly, were the furthest out – mere orange-beaked fluff,  beside the black hulls…

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Bird on a Wire

Here’s a good one. A prisoner in a Turkish prison goes to the prison library, and asks for a particular book. The prison librarian replies, ‘We don’t have that book. But we do have the author.’ Signs of the times, you might say – the modern dystopia. History has not ended – in fact, it’s…

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Against the light

From the corner of the hide, you looked out across the water, directly into the light, where the coots were squabbling and giving chase, and I knew at once that this was an image made for black-and-white. I took several photographs, aware of how tricky the light was, and struggling with the heavy lens to…

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Photography Analogue and Digital

The world I was born into was analogue. That meant film: in my case, mostly Kodak Tri-X, or Ilford FP4. Tri-X for when you wanted to “push” the film speed, where the light was low, or where you wanted a contrasty, journalistic effect or – I shall come back to this in a moment –…

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Squacco Heron lift-off

Now here’s a thing.  Going through my photos from Marievale, I came across a nice sequence of images of a squacco heron marching through the reeds. You can almost hear the martial music – tum ti tum ti tum ti DUM – as it crashes onwards and finally, clumsily, launches into the air. I was…

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White-Throated Swallow

This little fellow, I think, has the confidence to speak for himself. Photographed from a hide at Marievale, with the Nikon D500 and Nikon 200 – 500 mm lens. The more I shoot with it, the more I love this combo!

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Life goes on, and then it gets better

It has been a busy week. Last weekend we were in Cape Town, Rob and I, staying in Constantia with my mom: high tea at the Cape Grace Hotel, on a perfect afternoon at the V&A Waterfront, was a treat for us all. Sunday it was brunch with old friends Ian and Pam at the…

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Spotted Eagle Owl

We were returning from the far side of the Madikwe Game Reserve, after dark, after a long drive to see the wild dogs. As we neared our lodge the ranger shone his light on this owl – a Great Eagle Owl, he said. I checked the SASOL Birds of South Africa yesterday, after processing this…

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Rhino Scatalogical

From the sublime (black-shouldered kite stooping, early morning, sunlit) to the frankly scatalogical: rhino pooping. Like many of us, I have seen more rhino poop on my many game drives over the years than you can shake a stick at, as the saying goes – but I have never actually caught one of these beasts…

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Kite Stooping

We were out early one morning, in the open Landcruiser, on a game drive in Madikwe, when suddenly I saw this black-shouldered kite stooping, hovering over one spot, then moving away a bit and stopping once more to hover, the rising sun under its wings – a moment of real beauty, edged with menace. I…

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Cheetah hunting – twenty one images

We spent about two hours, I guess, that bright winter morning in Madikwe, waiting our turn to see the two cheetahs, and then moving with them, in careful stages, as they worked their way through the tall grass in an easterly arc around the flank of an approaching herd of grazing zebra. It seemed at…

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Madikwe Elephants – Seven Images

Towards the end of our game drive, one evening at Madikwe, we pulled up on the opposite side of a large waterhole, across the water, and watched as a herd of elephants with their babies trooped in, and frolicked and drank, and then, on some invisible signal, turned and filed off again, as the sky…

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