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This week we will conclude our Namibia tour series with ten more images from the final days we spent in the Etosha National Park and the reserve at our lodges just outside. I also have a recording from our amazing guests that I’ll play for you at the end of this episode. As I mentioned last week, to avoid overloading you with Namibia, by talking in full about both tours, for this second tour, I am trying to pick images that were special to the second tour, skipping the ones that are similar to the first tour.
The first image that I wanted to look at is one of my favorites from the trip, as two young White Rhinos walked across a dusty plain that matched their color palette perfectly. They were walking towards us with their bodies almost in line, but I waited a few moments until we could see part of the face of the second, enabling us to see better what was happening. It’s great to see these animals with their horns, and it was also good to see this year that the Rhino Rangers increased in number and seem to be getting better equipment to track poachers and prevent them from achieving their evil goals. Unfortunately, I read that the reason for the ramp-up in protection was because of a spurt of rhino deaths last year, which is, of course, not good news.
The following day we had an excellent elephant encounter with some young. The herd was around 35 elephants strong, so I was happy to get this family singled out, almost like they were posing for a family photo. The youngster that we see in this photo was incredibly cute and boisterous, running around and jumping into the water, almost like a human boy that had been taken to the fountain or pool in a park on a hot day.
A group of zebra kicked up lots of white dust as one chased another around, biting his neck and generally giving the other zebra a hard time. The dust adds a lot of atmosphere to the shot, and the dirt being kicked up by some of the hooves is nice too. I cloned out some of the larger helpings of elephant dung, as it was distracting, but otherwise, it was an ideal situation to capture these beautiful animals in.
I mentioned in my updates from the previous tour that although I’d been hoping for a chance to get some nice Dik Dik shots for many years, I was somewhat disappointed by their rodent-like noses when I finally got a chance to get some of those photos. This shot, though, I think, shows the nose, so you can see what I’m talking about, but also, thanks to those beautiful big eyes and the lovely surroundings, it holds up as a shot, so I’ve included it in this update.
Another elephant shot shows a large herd approaching a water hole from between the trees. There is always something magical about a large herd of elephants, and they walk without making a sound other than the occasional trumpeting of a large male or excited youngster. I cloned more than just a little elephant dung from the foreground of this shot, as the bottom of the frame was probably 90% dung. I’ll probably prefer cropping this down to a panorama when I display it, but I have left it in the native aspect for now to give myself options.
Here is another Lilac-breasted Roller shot, which I couldn’t resist leaving in. I’m not a huge fan of smaller birds, but when you pack this much color and that beautiful tail into a bird, its size becomes irrelevant. As we pulled up to photograph these birds, it was always fun to see who in the vehicle would get a shot and who would recall that I’d recommended setting your shutter speed to over 1/3200, ideally to 1/4000 of a second to capture the detail as they took flight.
During the morning, we found a beautiful cheetah with two cubs relaxing under a tree, but it was very far away, and the haze from the heat was stealing any detail that our lenses and sensors could otherwise muster up. We waited with them for a little while but decided to go for lunch and wait for the heat to subside. When we returned in the afternoon, the family had moved closer to the road, and the heat wasn’t so harsh, so we got some sharp images. We spent the entire afternoon with these cheetahs, and I will share four images of them to finish, as it was a very special encounter. First of all, here is the mother as she checked us out. She spent most of the time down in the grasses, so this was a nice opportunity to photograph her proud stance, even though it didn’t last long.
For this next image, I photographed three frames horizontally so that I could stitch together a panorama, showing the mother lying under one tree as her cubs frolicked under another. They didn’t seem to feel threatened at all, although a Jackal moving around in the distance caused the mother to become more alert for a while.
I love this next image, as one of the cubs put its cheek against its mother’s neck and they seemed to synchronize their gaze for a while. I increased the shadows slider a little in Capture One Pro to open up the shadows, but didn’t want to overdo it and make the images look false.
This is the final image from the trip, and probably my favorite image from this tour, as the mother bowed her head to let the young cub place a paw on her forehead. The bond between the two animals is obvious here, so I was really happy to capture such a special moment.
OK, so as I mentioned, we recorded a comment from each of the group members on our final evening together after returning to Windhoek before flying home the following day. It was an amazing group, with three of the participants having traveled with me before, and the other two quickly showed that they had a great sense of humor, so the group got along famously, making the trip even more special to me. If you listen to this guys, thanks for making this such an awesome trip!
<< PLEASE LISTEN TO THE AUDIO TO HEAR WHAT EACH OF THE GUESTS SAID ABOUT THE TRIP >>
Next year’s tour is already full, and I’m thinking to put the Namibia tour on the back burner after that for a while, but if you’d like to join me for a Complete Namibia experience, feel free to drop me a line from our contact page and I’ll see what I can do.
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