This Week At Angama #45

13 December 2018 | This Week at Angama |

Reading Time: 7 MINUTES

Maasai Mara, in just one day

To get great wildlife sightings you usually have to be in the Reserve for a few days. But every once in a while, when the Mara is extremely generous, it only takes a day. This was one of such days as every image in This Week at Angama was shot in 12 hours.

The day started early with a 4.30 wake-up before setting off on a balloon safari. I had been on a hot air balloon once before, but I was too excited to take any decent photographs. This time, I went prepared. [f 54.0, 1/320, ISO 500 +0.33]

View from the balloon

The view from up there was breathtaking, seeing everything from an elevated perspective really made me feel so small. The way the colours blended in the golden hour and the sun rays breaking through the clouds made it all the more special. [f 4.0, 1/500, ISO 200 +0.33]

Zebras viewed from the balloon

Like ants, zebras scattered across the plains, delivering breathtaking views. [f 10, 1/800, ISO 200 +0.33]

Zoom Blur

A few minutes before landing, I tried to capture a zoom-blur effect. It’s basically zooming the lens out during a shot and when it works gives the effect of motion and the image seems to be moving. [f 10, 1/50, ISO 100 -1]

Lion Portrait1
After breakfast, we headed off to look for animals, and minutes later we stumbled upon three lions. There were two young males and one young female lion. From the way one of the males had distanced himself from the rest, it was clear that this was a mating pair. [f 5.6, 1/400, ISO 200 +0.33]

Lion Portrait2

As we waited for them to mate, I could not resist taking a few portrait shots of this young handsome boy. He, on the other hand, was not too keen on posing for me. [f 5.6, 1/320, ISO 200 +0.33]

Lions Mating
After a 15 minute wait, the female lion got up and instinctively the male followed. It was an interesting sighting but since they faced in the opposite direction, they weren’t all that great to photograph. [f5.6 1/500 ISO 200 +0.33]

Lion Feeding
As the mating couple laid down, the other male walked away and we pursued. We found him finishing off a buffalo kill. It was a sizable buffalo and we were impressed that these young lions were able to take it down. [f 5.6, 1/400, ISO 200 +0.33]

Hyena Portrait

Never far from a kill, a cackle of hyenas waited their turn on the periphery. [f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 200 +0.33]

Even though the clan was big enough to chase this single lion off the kill, they made no attempt, their mouths ever salivating in anticipation. [f 5.6, 1/400, ISO 200 +0.33]

Gazelle mating
We headed off looking for more big cats. Nature is always unpredictable and as we were scanning for cats, we happened upon this mating pair of gazelles. This was a first for me.  [f 5.6, 1/1250, ISO 250 +0.33]

Martial Eagle
Driving along one of the lesser used roads in the Reserve, we found this big martial eagle confidently standing his ground, never taking his eyes off of our vehicle. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that he had a tracker on his back, mounted by the Mara Raptor Research Project in order to monitor his whereabouts. [f 5.6, 1/320, ISO 250 +0.33]

Martial Arts
Martial Arts? The eagle decided to show off his balancing skills by standing on one leg the entire time. [f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 250 +0.33]

Comfortably laying on top of a termite mound, we found three cheetahs, a mother and her two subadult cubs.
[f 5.6, 1/1000 ISO 250]

Cheetah Scan
The three seemed hungry and kept on scanning their surroundings for potential prey. So we waited for a hunt.
[f5.6, 1/1000 ISO 250]

Cheetah yawn
After close to thirty minutes of waiting, the sun was now at its hottest and it was clear that they would not attempt to hunt. [f5.6, 1/1000 ISO 250]

Seeing as luck was on our side, we decided to head into leopard territory, and maybe, just maybe, we’d see one. In the search of a leopard, we found this big bull who was hard to ignore, lifting his nose high as if to warn us not to get too close. [f 5.6, 1/320, ISO 250 +0.33]

Leopard in tree
Lucky as a leprechaun, a few meters from the buffalo, a female leopard rested well concealed in a tree. I simply could not believe our luck. Minutes later she started calling. She climbed down from the tree and into the lugga to her tiny cubs, and they all disappeared in the bushes. [f 5.6, 1/200, ISO 250]

After a day of epic sightings, we decided to slowly head back to the lodge along the River Road and saw this adorable hippo calf. [f5.6, 1/200 ISO 250 -0.33]

I truly am a sucker for portraits, but with models such as these, I can’t help myself. [f5.6 1/640 ISO 250]

Two male topis engaging in a playful sparring contest. [f5.6, 1/200 ISO 250]

Vulture black and white
In my time in the Mara, I have learned that vultures are definitely the most interesting birds to photograph. They command attention. [F5.6, 1/640 ISO 640]

Storm approaching
As the clouds gathered it became evident that a storm was approaching and we had to head back to camp, but I had to take one final shot. [F6.3, 1/400 ISO 250]

Guide Jackson
A day like no other, thanks to the Mara and our amazing guide, Jackson. [F5.6 1/500 ISO 200 +0.33]

AUTHOR: Jeffrey Thige

Hailing from Nairobi, Jeff’s younger years were spent watching Big Cat Diaries with his mother. Images of wild animals roaming across the savanna inspired Jeff to travel the country, study wildlife management and move into photography. Jeff aims to use his camera to become an ambassador for conservation. He joined Angama Mara as an intern in 2018 and is now employed full time as assistant photographer at the lodge’s Photographic Studio.

Francis Bagbey
December 14, 2018

Mr. Thigh, given the portrait/close up nature of many of these photographs, what lens or lenses were you using? Thank you.

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