torsdag 2. januar 2020

IMPRESSIONS FROM MAASAI MARA, KENYA, NOV - DEC 2019


Impala sunrise
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 1400

I've had many stays at the Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp in Maasai Mara Kenya lately. My latest project was 2 weeks in Nov / December 2019. This is the beginning of wet season in the Mara, everything is lushy, lushy green .... and extremely wet ! Too wet in a way .... since streams grew to uncrossable barriers and rivers grew to roaring monsters and limiting our action a bit. The good thing about the wet season apart from the incredible lushy green is soft light and colourful clouds.

One of the dramas that I witnessed in the Mara this time was the buffalos fighting their life & death battle. These pictures have been presented on my previous blogpost and are not shown in this post.  

This was my project no 31 in Eastern & Southern Africa, so apparently I have become addicted !! I have 3 upcoming African adventures in 2020, of which the Maasai Mara project in Oct still have a couple of vacant seats. Fyi.

Thanks to Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp & John Siololo. Also thanks to Dario Mesonero Romanos & Jokin Uriarte for inspiration and great company.


Impala Sunset
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1600, ISO 220


Cheetah Mom with 7 cubs .. must be world record !! I was lucky as the female came walking towards us and layed down on the overgrown mound right in front of us. Cubs walking behind came up ... one by one ... and finally they all posed with their mother for some magic minutes. Out of 500 picture only ONE had all 7 cubs` faces visible and mother looking my way !! One cub is later reported killed by leopard. This is inevitable in Maasai Mara. 6 cubs still alive and well (to my information).
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/800, ISO 800


Cheetah Mum & cub
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/500, ISO 720


Cubs has been eating from a Thompson gazelle kill ... in the rain ... and mother is cleaning up the mess afterwards
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/7,2, 1/1000, ISO 1100


A patient ... but tired ... mother !!
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1000, ISO 450


Cheetah cub playing and practizing running and hunting skills. Cub approx 2months old.
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 640


I told her a joke ... and she laughed her heart out !!
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1000, ISO 450


Semi adult cheetah in hunting position
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 560


I love doing this kind of shot : A simple composition with 2 interacting elements : Hyena & buffalo skeleton, of course a bit glouish & macabre ,,, and with an endless green blur around with no disturbing elements.
 D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/4,0, 1/1000, ISO 360


Many animals die as they try to cross Mara River in the rainy season, and become food for scavengers like this hyena & the Monitor Lizard. The hyena had more respect for the lizard than opposite. The zebra was probably a smelly dish !!
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/7,1, 1/1000, ISO 640


Hooded vulure
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/640, ISO 900


Bateleur Eagle, a beautiful eagle with the characteristic red beak & short tail
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/640, ISO 2500


A common bird on the savannah : Blackbellied Bustard (male)  ... in light rain
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/160, ISO 160


Saddlebilled stok portrait
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1250, ISO 1600


Secretary Bird portrait
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/800, ISO 450


The very smallest of all gazelle species on the savannah : Kirks Dikdik
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 320


A newborn Grants Gazelle`s first unstable steps 
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/800, ISO 2000


The two male Topis had a wild fight .... for a long time
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 560


... and at some stage there was a winner ... and a looser !
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm,  f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 640


The lioness was leading her small family across the meadow from one bush to the other. One of the cubs were too small to make on foot. I took many pictures in this situation, but only once did she meet my eyes.
 D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/1250, ISO 450


Flirting lions
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 2000


Nature can be totally unsentimental, ... but I see a certain beauty in the un-sentimentality ... 
and love to work with this as a photographer
D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/800, ISO 3200


... once again the unsentimental beauty (?) ... with the young male lion working on the carcass, buffalo skeleton with the glow of morning sun through the red ribs and the skinned skull ... almost smiling.
 D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/640, ISO 640


... and more of the glouish / macabre aspect
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/640, ISO 2200


The lion pride had taken down a buffalo in the dark, it was raining and the lions had just managed to chew a hole in the buffalos stomach. The wild growling sounds, the smell and the atmosphere in the dark ... was special. Picture shot from the light of a headlamp.
D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/250, ISO 10 000


Pride of lions chewing a zebra
D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,2, 1/800, ISO 2500


A group of young male lions with zebra kill
D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/800, ISO 2000


Two buffalos fighting a life & death battle !! 
Many pics fro this drama is presented in my previous blogpost. This picture not shown before
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/1250, ISO 1100


... and finally : A group of Maasai cows on the way to spend a safe night in the village enclosure ... with a vanishing thunderstorm above.
D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 1000

tirsdag 10. desember 2019

A DEADLY BUFFALO FIGHT


MAASAI MARA, KENYA, EARLY DEC 2019

African Buffalos are huge, rough animals and big bulls can weight up to 850 kg ! Old males often form small groups separate from the main herd and they have a reputations to be grumpy, especially in the wet season when food is plenty and they are in good shape. I've seen them fight several times, but never as dedicated and deadly as this fight. They were already fighting when we arrived, don`t know how long they had been going and we watched the fight for at least 30 more minutes .... before it dramatically ended in the ditch. The raw power, the loud groaning noise and the aggressive attitudes of these dinosaurs, full of muscles, hormones & adrenaline, was simply amazing .... and a little frightening ! We had to pull back several times or they would simply have demolished the car.   

At some stage a third bull comes along and inspired by the ongoing battle, he enthusiasticly dives into the fight attacking one of the other bulls from behind. The horns from the third bull rips up big open wounds in stomach and inside of back legs of one of the original warriors and he is bleeding seriously. 

They all battle away on the field having no antennas of where the fight was taking them and suddenly all 3 bulls, one over the other, fall into a deep ditch full of water and mud. Mother earth simply swallowed them, we can no longer see them, but the the groaning noise from the deep was telling us that they were still in fighting mode. One of the 3 bulls managed to get out relatively easily, but the two remaining ones were stuck in the hole and as the groaning noises were decreasing into total silence, it was my assumption that one of them or both were drowning. Hyenas were gathering around and a big male lion was also approaching. 

As the photographer in me prepared for dramatic last act of the ongoing buffalo adventure and I was thinking of a new good story for a picture presentation back home .... the 2 bulls simply climbed out and walked home ! Good for them :-)

All pictures shot with Nikon D5, Nikkor 600mm 4,0, f/6,3, 1/1250, ISO 900 - 2000.

Thanks to Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp           








With the horns locked into each other one bull has managed to force the other to the ground ... 


... and as the opponent is grounded he is beeing attacked with full force !!




A third bull enters the battle ... 


... and attacking the others from behind 


2 bulls down in the deep ditch



As the 2 bulls did not come out, the buffalo herd came to edge of the hole to inspire them to come to their senses and come out. Hyenas can be seen behind (iPhone picture)

søndag 17. november 2019

MAASAI MARA KENYA, OKT 19th - 26th 2019


Elephant in sunset light with local rain shower
D5, 70-200 2,8 / 200 mm, f/8,0, 1/640, ISO 280


Once again I've had the pleasure to have a project in Maasai Mara with Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp. This was my African project no 30 in Eastern & Southern Africa ... so over the years I have earned a certain amount of experience with different camps and photographic networks, and I can say with integrity that Oltepesi is the best solution for ambitious photographers I have ever experienced. The landscapes may be more complex and beautiful in other NP`s, but the wildlife of Maasai Mara is overwhelming and the camp's approach to photography is unique.

I'm going back to Oltepesi in Nov/ Dec and also bringing groups in May/June 2020 & Oct 2020. For those who have already booked and for possible clients in Oct 2020 : this post with 20 pics is meant as a teaser showing what I had accomplished in 7 days shooting. It was difficult to pick out 20, it could have been 20 others ! 


Elephant in same situation as first picture, but later and the colours have changed completely.
D5, 70-200 2,8 / 70 mm, f/8,0, 1/640, ISO 450


Male Elephant with first sunrise and superlow angle
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/250, ISO 10 000


Female Leopard
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 1 600


Female Leopard
D5, 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/800, ISO 1000


Female Leopard
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 1600


Breakfast discussion between mother and cub over last night's Impala kill
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 1600


It was a cold morning ... the warm breath from mom is visible
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 1250


Long shutter speeds is really not my style ... but I tried !
 D5, 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/10, ISO 400


Backlight Leopard
D5, 600 4,0, f/8,0, 1/1600, ISO 5600


Cheetah yawn !!
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1250, ISO 360


Brown eyes and blue eyes ! Cheetah with Thompson Gazelle calf
D5, 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/640, ISO 640


The 5 Cheetah "brothers" of Maasai Mara are famous for bringing down bigger prey ! 
D5, 400 2,8, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 1000


5 "brothers" killing a full grown Wildebeest
D5, 400 2,8, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 2800


Male Ground Hornbill
D5, 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 900


Secretary Bird
D5, 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 450


Male Baboon. I have a big respect for these guys since I was once attacked by one and in a miraculous way avoided bad injuries !
D5, 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/2000, ISO 2000


Spotted Hyena mom carrying a cub from one den to the other. It looked painful for the little one ....
D5, 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 560


Spotted Hyena with topi calf
D5, 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 640


Flirting Lions
D5, 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/800, ISO 2200


Young Lion playing with a Thompson gazelle calf
D5, 400 2,8, f/4,0, 1/2500, ISO 220


Serval Cat
D5, 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/320, ISO 3600


Topis having evening toilet !
D5, 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/640, ISO 360