This Week At Angama #75

12 July 2019 | This Week at Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

With giant herds in the Mara and guests aplenty honing their photographic skills to capture the magic, this week’s update is a joint effort by Tyler Davis and Jeffrey Thige. Make no mistake – peak season is here!

It’s official – peak season has begun and is in full swing. This is heralded by two indisputable facts: the wildebeest are in the Mara by their tens of thousands, with hundreds of thousands more on their heels, and we are running at top speed at Angama.

This week’s review is a collaboration, with Jeff supplying all the photos and yours truly providing the commentary. Why? Well, besides the fact that everything we do at Angama is a team effort, Adam was away this week and so Jeff was mostly flying solo in the Photographic Studio, and was wrapped up with photography lessons, editing sessions, camera rentals, crafting prints, and guiding two photographic safaris – testament of how big of a role photography plays on each and every safari, and how fortunate we are to have a dedicated studio for our guests.

The fun in this for me is twofold. Firstly, I get to live vicariously through Jeff, as I was also swamped this week and didn’t get out on safari (woe is me!). But secondly, being able to look at, think critically about, and comment on another accomplished photographer’s work is an exercise every aspiring photographer should practice, if given the opportunity.

Wildebeest Pano
The ‘beests’ go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah… Jeff provides an interesting perspective of the approaching wildebeest by breaking the photo into thirds: equal portions of sky, approaching wildebeest, and grass. [f/7.1, 1/640, ISO 200]

Wildebeest jump
A nice action shot captured by Jeff. Shots like this take forethought, not only anticipating an animal’s movements, but also ensuring one’s camera is prepared with the right settings – in this case, making sure the autofocus is on AI Servo. [f/7.1, 1/ 500, ISO 200]

Short-tail walking
I love this photo of Short-tail walking towards the camera, with the smoldering gaze and the one paw being brought forward in step, creating a sense of motion even though the subject is frozen. [f/6.0, 1/50, ISO 200, -0.33]

Mating Fight
Lions in the throes of passion are full of drama and intensity. Great capture here showing the expression on both lions’ faces as they square off in a post-coital spat. [f/5.0, 1/640, ISO 320]

Lioness collage
It’s fun to try and capture lions yawning, capturing those big teeth. Even better to capture a sequence of two or more photos, as Jeff has done here. [f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 320]

Giraffe abstract
We’ve said it many a time throughout this blog series – giraffe are among the most challenging of subjects. I love Jeff’s abstract approach here. [f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 500]

Ostriches, like giraffes, can be tough subjects – they either need to be a small subject in a large landscape, or do as Jeff did here and focus on a feature of the body to create something more abstract. [f/6.3, 1/60, ISO 320]

Ox peckers on giraffe
Stunning colors in this photo of yellow-billed oxpeckers enjoying a ride on the neck of a giraffe. [f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 500]

Balanites sunrise
Sunrise – the best part of the day for a photographer. Jeff captured a beautiful image of a quintessential Mara landscape just as the sun dawns on a new day, with rays of light reflecting through dust in the air. [f/4.0, 1/ 500, ISO 125, -0.33]

High Key Male Lion
Jeff showing off his editing skills with this one – a stunning shot of a male lion converted to a high-key image, drawing attention immediately to the lion’s visage by decreasing the clarity elsewhere, creating an ethereal scene. The semblance of a prey animal in the background fits perfectly. [f/6.3, 1/160, ISO 125, +0.7]

Male Lion in sunrise
A male lion at the break of dawn is like striking gold for a photographer. I love this image, with just a bit of sun peeking out from behind the lion, creating wonderful rimlight on his mane, while still being able to just make out the features of his face. [f/6.0, 1/250, ISO 125, +0.33]

Male Lion in sunrise 2
This is the same lion with a slightly different angle of the morning sun, bathing the lion with that washed-out-sunrise effect. [f/6.0, 1/320, ISO 125]

Elephant calves
A heap of ellies… a fun capture of young elephants of various ages wrestling. [f/6.0, 1/320, ISO 125, -0.67]

Elephant trunk
Like the giraffe and ostrich above, elephant are great experimental abstract subjects. I love the initial sense of “what’s going on here?” followed by an appreciation of the unique way the younger elephant’s trunk is framed. [f/6.0, 1/320, ISO 125, -0.67]

Cheetah BW
Jeff had a brilliant week with big cats, including this cheetah on the hunt. The conversion to black and white works well, and keeping the contrast low in post-processing, combined with the cheetah’s posture, elicits an apprehensive feeling of something about to go down at “high noon.” [f/6.3, 1/800, ISO 250]

Even luckier than the cheetah sighting, was a pair of mating leopard. Here the female watches the male intently from her aerial perch. [f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 250]

Elephant face
More great work by Jeff taking an abstract approach with this elephant, focusing on the eye, trunk, and tusk. [f/5.6, 1/200, ISO 200]


Lions Mating
Coincidentally, this week a year ago was Jeff’s very first contribution to Leaving Out the Dull Parts. As a further coincidence, that blog had many parallels to this one, including an abstract giraffe shot, oxpeckers hitching a ride, and this pair of impassioned lions. [f .5.6 1/160, ISO 200]

AUTHOR: Tyler Davis

Guide and birding fundi, Tyler was also one half of the regional director couple that lead the team at Angama Mara for the first five years. Being the birding extraordinaire that he is, he was known to let his attention wander during meetings. The trick to keep him focused was 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.

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