This Week At Angama #21 - Angama Mara

This Week At Angama #21

29 June 2018 | This Week At Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

Getting creative in the face of photography challenges brought some exciting results

The joy of photographic challenges continues this week as we wait for the arrival of the Migration, the grass remains tall, and sometimes you find yourself with an uncooperative subject. We also revisit the idea of the “record shot,” this time for a sighting of the avian kind we twitchers refer to as a “MEGA” (more on that later). This week was also a good reminder to stay positive – what started as a “weak” week, photographically-speaking, ended up being exciting and rewarding.


A typical morning in the Mara, highlighted by hot air balloons serenely floating through clear skies over the Balanites-accentuated open savanna, creating a lovely sense of place. [f 4.5, 1/800, ISO 400 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


I am always on the lookout for a comedic photographic opportunity, and a hippo returning from a night’s foraging coming up behind a Thompson’s Gazelle created an absurd sense of the hippo stalking an unwitting gazelle in the open grasslands. Made me chuckle. [f 5.6, 1/400, ISO 400 Photograph by Tyler Davis]


How a hippo doesn’t topple over while on land baffles me. [f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 400 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


The golden early morning light not only highlighted this male Thompson’s Gazelle, but also strands of spiderweb in the grass – and between the Tommie’s horns! [f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 400 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


This shot presented itself as we were driving head-on into the sunrise, and I liked how the sun was highlighting the savanna ahead and casting a nice glow on Guide Robert. [f 2.8, 1/3200, ISO 200 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


When I noticed these adorable francolin chicks, I tried to quickly get a shot of them as we passed by. I missed, but liked the image of the family trotting down the road together and converted it to black and white to focus attention on the birds. [f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 200 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


With the departure of the rains, birds that once dispersed widely across the Mara are now beginning to concentrate on remaining marshes and wetlands. I came across a flock of herons, ibises, and storks cooperatively hunting frogs right beside the road, and enjoyed a number of good photographic opportunities. [f 5.0, 1/640, ISO 200 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


I tried to capture a Sacred Ibis in flight but missed. However, the composition with the ibis in the bottom right corner, and a conversion to black and white, made for quite a nice abstract image. [f 5.6, 1/6400, ISO 400 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


Success for a Sacred Ibis hunting frogs beside the road. [f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 800 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]



I thoroughly enjoyed watching this Yellow-billed Stork hunt mudfish beside the road, patiently waiting with bill immersed and agape until the tickle of something tasty prompted it to snap its bill shut on its quarry. [f 5.6, 1/1600, ISO 800 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


This Grey Crowned-Crane nest is readily observable in an area close to Angama known as Maji ya Ndege.  Here, I endeavoured to highlight the incubating parent while also showcasing her environs. [f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 800 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


This photo is as simple as the fact that I liked the unique perspective of seeing an elephant on a relatively steep slope. He was also entirely motionless for several minutes, which made it look like he was having a conversation with the bird (a Northern Fiscal) perched just above his head. [f 5.0, 1/400, ISO 200 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


What’s a TWAA without a Lilac-breasted Roller portrait? [f 5.6, 1/160, ISO 200 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


I loved how this Lilac-breasted Roller lined up with the elephants in the background. I used a wide aperture to make the elephants blurred but recognizable. [f 4.5, 1/250, ISO 200 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


Sometimes the wildlife of the Mara is too accommodating for viewing, which actually means they are uncooperative for photography. This hyena was on the road and refused to move as we drove by, so its proximity forced me to think abstractly about how to capture it. I ended up enjoying this photo, because until now I’ve never really appreciated how thick their pads are. [f 5.6, 1/400, ISO 400 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]


This goes in the category of “terrible photos of amazing birds,” and is a great example of a “record shot” – something that is deserving of documentation, even if the photo itself isn’t anything special. In this case, this is what we twitchers call a “MEGA,” as in “mega-rarity.”  This photo is East Africa’s second record (the last was in 1990) of a South African Cliff Swallow, which I recently found associating with a large flock of Rufous-chested Swallows over the open grasslands in the centre of the Mara Triangle. [f 5.6, 1/4000, ISO 400 – Photograph by Tyler Davis]

Elephant Headbutt Blurr

This is a great photo by Jeff Njuguna, the Angama Photographic Studio’s intern. I like how the image comes alive with the blurring effect, which reflects well the subject and content of the image:  two sparring bulls. [f 8.0, 1/20, ISO 100 – Photograph by Jeff Njuguna]

Crocodile Circle

To think that in no time at all, these enormous, languid crocodiles will be jumping into action, actively hunting and feasting on the wealth of wildebeest due to arrive in the next few weeks. In the meantime, they wait patiently – and so do we. [f 5.6, 1/250, ISO 100 – Photograph by Jeff Njuguna]

ABOUT: Tyler Davis

As on-property regional director, guide and birding fundi, Tyler is one half of the regional director couple that leads the team at Angama Mara. Being the birding extraordinaire that he is, he has been known to let his attention wander during meetings. The trick to keep him focused is to place him with no direct view of anything feathered. Tyler ensures that we are a grounded and well-rounded team. He also sometimes forgets to take his binoculars off at dinnertime.

Penny Skehan
June 29, 2018

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to seeing these photographic collections each week. They are truly beautiful! I also appreciate the time taken to make comments on them. I hope to visit Angama Mara someday – sooner rather than later! Best, Penny

    Steve Mitchell
    July 1, 2018

    Thank you Penny, we so appreciate your feedback. We hope to see you at Angama Mara soon 🙂

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