This Week At Angama #85

20 September 2019 | This Week at Angama |

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This week has been dominated by the Mara’s golden morning light. It can be so rewarding to wake up early and head into the park before the sun makes its appearance

The early Mara mornings are nothing short of breathtaking. This week, for three days, I went out before sunrise and was able to spend some time surrounded by elephants as I waited for the highly coveted golden hour. [f 5.6, 1/800, ISO 400  -1.67 ]

Mara Mornings

During this time, I was able to capture some lovely images. I was keen to move around with the elephants, while switching between the telephoto lens to get close ups, and the wide-angle lens to get greater perspective. [f 5.6, 1/800, ISO 400  -1.67 ]

Elephants at sunrise

[f 5.6, 1/800, ISO 400  -1.67 ]

Close up of elephant at sunrise

[f 5.6, 1/800, ISO 400  -1.67 ]

More elephants at sunrise

[f 5.6, 1/800, ISO 400  -1.67 ]

Orange sunrise with elephants

[f 5.6, 1/2000, ISO 400  -2.33]

vibrant purple, orange and blue colours.

During the short wait for the sun, the rays reflected on the clouds, creating vibrant purple, orange and blue hues. [f 5.6, 1/125, ISO 400 -1.33]

Elephant silhouette

Shooting this early, I usually tend to go for silhouette shots. However, in this instance, I decided to increase the exposure to reveal the interaction between these two elephants.

[f 5.6, 1/400, ISO 250  +0.67]

sunrise on top of the trees

The beauty of shooting at dawn is that, even when you find yourself without a good subject, you can take pictures of trees and the end result is likely to turn out well. [f 5.6, 1/8000, ISO 400  -2.33]

 Orange skies

[f 5.6, 1/8000, ISO 400  -2.33]

Sunrise with tree silhouette

[f 5.6, 1/6400, ISO 400  -1.67]

Red skies and zebra

Ideally, I wanted to get the sun right around the zebras face, but with the topography it was impossible to achieve without disturbing the zebra. [f 5.6, 1/2500, ISO 250 -2 ]

Oribi Pair

A pair of oribis silhouetted in the sunrise. Since the sun was already high, I opted to do a portrait-style orientation in order to fit them in the frame. [f5.6 1/1600, ISO 400 -1.67]

Oribi in the morning light

The soft morning light is perfect for portraits. Here, I had the sun behind the oribi, but since the light wasn’t too harsh, there were no vivid shadows. [f 6.0, 1/250, ISO 200 -1.67]

Lion pride

One of the Angama Pride females basking with her cubs. It has been a while since I last saw the Angama Pride, so it was a thrill to be reunited with them this week. [f 5.6, 1/1250, ISO 200 -0.33]

Lion roar

We heard a lion roar in the distance and set out to follow the call. Even though it went quiet for a while, Guide Alice was able to spot the lion and we waited until he roared again.

[f 6.0, 1/2000, ISO 320 -0.33]

Male lion roaring

The big male shows off his powerful jaws in a mighty yawn. [f 6.0, 1/2000, ISO 320 -0.33]


At the hippo pools, I saw an opportunity to shoot through a little opening in the bush that framed the basking hippos quite well. [f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 250  -0.33]Wildebeests

Wildebeest are still roaming the Mara Triangle in their hundreds of thousands. Scattered all over, it’s difficult to convey in a picture just how many there are. Here, one of the herd members plays lookout as the others graze.

 [f 5.6, 1/2500, ISO 320  -0.33]

giraffe and wildebeests

A herd was starting to build up at one of the crossing points and it was looking quite hopeful that they would cross from the Mara Triangle to the Greater Mara.

They roamed along the river for close to two hours and interestingly, this giraffe followed them the entire time, even to the edge of the river as though he too intended to cross. [f 5.6, 1/2000, ISO 250]

Giraffe running and zebra between it's legs

Zebra framed within giraffe’s legs. [f 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400] 

 Zebra on the move

After hours of waiting, the wildebeest and giraffe headed to a rather awkward point from which they had to go through thick bushes to get to the riverbank and cross. [f5.0, 1/1250 ISO 400]

river and cars

The location from which they crossed was impossible to access. We therefore had to manoeuvre to a point where the river curved in order to get a glimpse of them as the headed out of the river.

[f5.3, 1/1600 ISO 320]

More wildebeest

A herd ended up staying in the area after the crossing was interrupted by cars on the other side. We waited, hoping they would be tempted to join the others on the opposite side, but they decided not to budge.  [f5.0, 1/3200 ISO 200]


This is a male ostrich in mating plumage. I really like how I was able to position the iconic Mara tree behind the ostrich, creating an interesting background.  [f5.6, 1/1250 ISO 400]

 Cheetahs sleeping in the shade

I caught up with the two Border Brothers right after they had fed. As expected, they were quite lazy, only lifting their heads once in a while to scan for danger. [f5.6, 1/1250 ISO 400]


A Cape buffalo posing elegantly for a photograph. [f6.3 1/500 ISO 250 -1]

Zebras in the distance

A beautiful array of zebras going about their business along the escarpment. It was interesting to see that there was not a single wildebeest amongst this herd. [f5.3 1/4000 ISO 250-0.33]

Juvenile Martial Eagle

My first sighting of a juvenile martial eagle. The plumage has not yet developed completely.

[f7.1  1/800 ISO 400]

Elephants shadows and contrasts

Shadows and contrasts. [f5.6  1/2500 ISO 400  -0.67] 

Black and white elephant in the distance

With heavy clouds and dramatic skies, the Mara landscapes have been so beautiful this week that you I couldn’t help but stop to capture a few images. [f5.0 1/2000 ISO 400]

[f5.0 1/3200 ISO 400]

Blue skies

[f5.6  1/8000 ISO 400  -0.67]

Grey skies moving in with rain

[f5.0 1/2500 ISO 400]



Elephant Tusk

This week last year, Adam took this photograph! I just love this photograph and the way the tusk seemingly appears out of the darkness. Very little editing was done, only slight ‘burning’ or darkening of the trunk and some clever cropping. [f 6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400 -0.33, photograph by Adam Bannister]

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.

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