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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bird silhouettes at sunrise or sunset are often simple but fun and pleasing photographs to capture.
I couldn’t pass up capturing this little microcosm in the early morning light – one of an infinite number of tiny worlds often overlooked.
The five images above are not exceptional, but illustrate just how beautifully the sun illuminates subjects when low on the horizon.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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