HOME Blog This Week At Angama #152

This Week At Angama #152

As the Angama team greets the new year at dawn, Tyler Davis took the opportunity to explore the incredible sunrises and sunsets that the Mara delivers on a daily basis
The first Mara sunrise of 2021

Welcome to 2021! Here’s to a new year full of beautiful imagery from the Maasai Mara.

As the sun sets on one year and rises on the next, I thought it’d be fun to focus this week’s blog – the first for 2021 – on exactly that: sunrises and sunsets, and the resulting golden glow. Happy New Year!

Giraffe Mara panorama f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO 400

A stitched image to create a panorama, this was the only way I could capture the spacing and different actions of these giraffe in one image – getting a wide enough angle to get them in one frame would have resulted in too much sky and foreground, forcing me to crop the image significantly, which would in turn reduce the quality. I also tried to balance the image with a tree on the right side – ideally this would have been another giraffe!

A giraffe poses for a lovely silhouette f/5.6, 1/8000, ISO 400

A lone giraffe adorned with oxpeckers made for a lovely silhouette. Ideally, I would have liked to be lower than the giraffe, and without the brush in the way, to capture more of the silhouette above the horizon.

Hippos sparring in lovely morning light f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 400

I found these two hippo gently sparring shortly after entering the park one morning, and enjoyed watching them for a good fifteen minutes as they play-tussled. It was a real challenge in the low light to capture the interaction well, so I positioned myself angled to the rising sun such that it illuminated the water’s surface while also hitting the hippos just enough so they weren’t completely backlit.

Balloons drifting along the Mara dawn f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 400

Hot air balloons drifting on the light breeze typical of a pre-dawn Mara always make for a scenic photo. This panorama is a stitch of three photos.

A pair of Malachite Kingfishers

I thoroughly enjoyed watching a pair of Malachite Kingfishers, little jewels that they are, actively fishing a flooded field right alongside the road in the early morning. They can be frustrating birds to photograph, as they’re often just skittish enough to maintain a distance that is a little too far away to make for a compelling photograph – but these two seemed to be too interested in food to care much about my proximity, and allowed me to study them for a good half an hour.

Guinea fowl silhouette f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO 400
Shrike silhouette f/7.1, 1/8000, ISO 250

Bird silhouettes at sunrise or sunset are often simple but fun and pleasing photographs to capture.

A microcosm of mushrooms f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 200

I couldn’t pass up capturing this little microcosm in the early morning light – one of an infinite number of tiny worlds often overlooked.

A jackal captured in the morning glow f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO 200
Impala stops for a quite profile shot f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO 200
An elephant illuminated f/7.1, 1/800, ISO 200
Lilac Breasted Roller lapping up the light f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 250
Whydah caught mid flight f/7.1, 1/1600, ISO 200

The five images above are not exceptional, but illustrate just how beautifully the sun illuminates subjects when low on the horizon.

An Oxpecker feeding on a host of flies f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO 200

I captured this Yellow-billed Oxpecker perched atop a grumpy old buffalo a bit later in the morning (still before 9am). The sun was angled such that it lit up the bird beautifully, and even highlighted the buffalo’s omnipresent host of flies.

A beautiful sunrise panorama
A sunrise panorama of 3 High Dynamic Range images

These two panoramas represent two different methods of trying to capture the sunrise. The first is a simple stitched panorama that I then tweaked a bit in Lightroom to increase the contrast a bit and enhance that layered look. The second panorama is actually a stitch of three HDR (high dynamic range) photographs, which involves taking five of the same photograph at different shutter speeds, then combining them into one such that no areas of the resulting photograph are markedly over- or under-exposed.

A dirt track at sunrise welcomes a year of discovery and adventure f/5.6, 1/5000, ISO 200

Let’s end the first “This Week at Angama” of 2021 with this photograph: a dirt track full with the promise of discovery and adventure, winding its way towards the dawn of a new day – and a new year.

This Week A Year Ago

A leopard doses happily on a warm afternoon in the Mara - Adam Bannister

This Week A Year ago was a very special “This Week at Angama” – our 100th edition. Adam summarized the previous 99 weeks with the best 35 photos of the year.

This Week Two Years Ago

This Week Two Years Ago, Adam did a study of low-angle photography and came up with some amazing shots of lion, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and even a water monitor.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Maasai Mara , Mara sunrise , Mara sunset , Mara Triangle , mara wildlife , Sunrise , Sunsets , Wildlife , Wildlife Photography

About: 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.

Browse all articles by Tyler Davis Meet the angama team

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