Happy Monday! Thought I’d post one more treatment of a male lion portrait from Tanzania. This fella was overseeing the plains about 50 yards away from his “brother” who had an equally windblown look. There were also a couple of females with juveniles a few hundred yards away. I tried to make it another artsy portrait by processing it in a sepia tone and once again emphasizing the amazing eyes these animals possess. Hope you like it…..have a great week!
While I sometimes take “street photos” around home, I am much more likely to focus on the street life while away from home. Here are a few from various places we’ve been in the past few years…..
This first one is during a downpour in the little town of Rapallo, Italy – we shared this small tunnel for a few moments trying to keep out of the deluge…..
This next one is from Nice, France. She caught my eye as I thought she might be a little underage….. Her father came back to the table a little later and I felt better about her future!
I captured this image while we going down a highway outside of Delhi, India. The man’s pensive look caught my eye first but I also wanted to catch the colorful adornments of the trucks passing by…….
This young lady was just relaxing next to her bike on a sunny afternoon in Katmandu. I thought the scene captured the native dress, and a little of the local flavor with the hindu shrine next to her…..
This last colorful scene is from the floating islands of Lake Titicaca where the Uros people live. It was a still morning with tranquil people in a very beautiful place.
I was going through some of the Africa photos I hadn’t processed yet and found this one that I thought I’d do a little differently. I made it into sort of a dark black and white and then restored the natural color to the lions eye. This was one of the three male lions of the large pride that we spent some time with in the Northern Serengeti. He had just rolled over from part of his nap while the “women-folk” were out hunting. Happy Weds!
My moments of reflection are triggered by our immersion into nature. Those quiet times when we get to witness some of the real wonders of the world and reflect on how lucky we are to be able to be there. As the challenge says, these are important times to ponder how you fit into greater scheme of things by where you have been, what you have done, and where you are going. We had many such opportunities for reflection in Africa. I say “we” because we shared those moments with some wonderful friends and we all came away changed by our experiences there. I could have chosen any of hundreds of photos that convey that thought to me but I chose this one because of the grand panorama of morning on the Serengeti and the quiet presence and pensive stares of the two amazing animals sharing the moment with us.
I’ve already “let the cat” out of the proverbial “bag” in previous posts but we spent some incredible time with numerous Cheetahs while in Tanzania. As we were setting up our trip I had told our guide Ethan (http://www.ethan-kinsey.com) that we had not seen a cheetah in the wild on our previous african trips and hoped that we would find some on this trip. On our second day, there we were out in the prairie with all kinds of animals around when Ethan looked down in a valley to the left and said “hmmm…. there isn’t any animals down there – I wonder why….?” Off we went to see what was happening and we were rewarded with an introduction to a female cheetah and her young offspring. They were on a worn down termite mound and were harassing a large (about 5′ long) Monitor lizard who was protecting her eggs. After a while, they wandered away with us following them pretty closely. They finally found a tree to relax under and we shared the shade with them as they took their nap. As they started to stir, the daughter started exploring the nearby surroundings and gave us some good photo ops . This photo gives you a good look at the sleek body and also the claws – which are not retractable like other cats. The reason for that is that the Cheetahs use them as “spikes” (like on track shoes) to gain traction during their hunting sprints.
We eventually left them for a little while but returned to find them near a bushy area where they had found a gazelle. We sat nearby as they completely devoured the small animal. While it wasn’t really pleasant to watch, it was fascinating to share their mealtime in close quarters as they kept scanning the plains for potential danger – the Cheetah are not at all aggressive and would abandon their prey at the first sight of any other predator. Here’s a photo of Mom before she cleaned up from the meal.
We actually saw this same pair of cheetahs several times and spent some nice time with them – including our first “boarding” of our safari vehicle by the young one that I discussed in my post https://scottseyephotos.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/weekly-photo-challenge-object/.
I don’t think that I’ve mentioned that we had that same experience two more times during our trip. I’ve never posted a video before but our friend Mike took this one of a different female a few days later – I think it does a real nice job of showing you what that experience was like. First she jumped on the hood, then up on the roof (and yes the roof hatches were all open) with nothing between her and us. She finally jumped down as she was startled when her tail hit the radio antenna! I hope you enjoy….we sure did (and do – every time we look at the photos and videos). Also – suggest you show it full screen to get the maximum effect….
We took the 2 hour ride out to the El Centro Air Show last weekend to catch the first Blue Angel show this year – if you follow aviation, you probably know that most of their shows last year were cancelled due to the infamous budget sequestration that our congress thought was good governance (question – how would THEY know anything about governance). Sorry – just had to throw that in. It was a nice show with most of the performers (except the Blues) being civilian – the military is still cutting way back on their support for these shows. The worst thing about trying to take photos of the jets in a desert setting is that the background is almost always plain blue skies with no clouds or vapor trails from the planes. In any case here are a few of my photos from the show…..
This first one is the diamond formation coming out of a loop and diving towards the ground and the audience – a beautiful sight to see.
The second is one showing the diamond formation up close. They advertise that the distance between the wingtips and the canopies of the other planes is as close as 18 inches – this photo would seem to bear that out!
This last one is the two solo pilots doing a pass in front of the stands – one inverted and one “right side up” – both with their landing gear and arresting hooks deployed. Again, without clouds or anything in the background they appear to just be hanging there. It was fun seeing the “blues” in action again – hope you enjoy these highlights.
Whats that inside that tree? I am always amazed at a safari guide’s ability to spot the invisible behind the foliage or other camoflage. I took this photo specifically to show just how difficult that can be. This leopard at times completely disappeared into the leaves of the tree – seemingly inside his own private compartment.
I figured I needed a beach fix this morning so I took my coffee to the pier in Ocean Beach and watched the surfers for a little while and then took some longer exposure shots of the surf on the rocks. This young lady reminded me of the old beach boys song….
While watching the surfers I noticed the waves crashing on the rocks nearby so I thought I’d try to capture some of the waterfalls running off the rocks between waves. I don’t shoot long exposures very often but this one didn’t come out too bad….
As I said in my last African episode, it was time to catch a flight from Rwanda to Tanzania. After a stop to clear customs (very quick and easy), we landed in the Kogatende strip in the Northern Serengeti. We immediately met our new guide and new bestest friend, Ethan Kinsey, a freelance guide http://www.ethan-kinsey.com who is a native born Tanzanian but who also spent his college years in the states. Ethan had convinced us to come to the Northern Serengeti first because he said there would be fewer people as the migration was further south this time of year – we would have the animals to ourselves in this area. That was the gospel truth as we very rarely had anyone join us at our fantastic sightings. As we packed the safari vehicle at the airstrip for our ride to the Sayari lodge, Ethan told us it was about a 20 minute ride but would take longer if we had any good sightings on the way. That was prophetic: when we stopped for some zebra who were running across the road (still on airport grounds), he heard an “alarm call” from a nearby monkey meaning there was a predator nearby. We proceeded over to where the monkey was, expecting to find a lion (as the most common predator). To our surprise, Ethan spotted a Caracal in the bushes. We had never seen one before and Ethan told us that they are rarely seen. We not only saw this great looking cat, we got to spend a good 20-30 minutes with it as it wandered through the bushes and pounced on a lizard for lunch.
Caracals can range from 15 to 40+ pounds and are very stealthy and sleek as they move around. We finally decided it was time to leave “our” caracal and continue to the lodge. As it turns out, we saw MANY more animals on the way to the lodge and the 20 minute ride turned into 2 hours. That was to become a recurring theme – we were late for every meal and “return to base” during the week because of our tremendous wildlife sightings. When we finally got to the lodge we were immediately blown away by the Sayari Lodge http://sayaricamp.asiliaafrica.com/Home.aspx facilities and the hospitality of the staff. Our individual “tents’ included wonderful porches looking out across the rolling hills toward the Mara river (always with animals visible) and amazingly decadent bedroom and bathroom suites including a huge marble bath-tube set in front of the view toward the river.
We had a wonderful lunch under the trees, got settled in a little and then headed out on our first real game drive. I’ve already described part of this drive in my post https://scottseyephotos.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/weekly-photo-challenge-threes/ so I won’t repeat that description of the incredible pride of lions that we spent time with that afternoon. What I didn’t say in that post is that on the way back to the lodge, we ran into another of the African cats – a leopard comfortably watching the sun go down from a perch atop a large boulder.
We only spent a few minutes with this wonderful cat as were once again quite late for dinner and in danger of violating park rules. I hesitate to tell you “the rest of the story” for this incredible day as our wildlife sightings were just amazing for our first day in Tanzania. I’ll just finish by telling you ( I couldn’t get a photo) that as we were at our dinner table that night we were all treated to the largest fireball meteor that any of us had ever seen. It streaked across the entire sky, was large enough to see pieces of it burn off, and it came very close to impacting the ground. Other than that, it was just another day…….
Cropping can turn an ordinary photo into something much more interesting. The first photo is the one the result of a crop. It is intended to focus on the heads of the Zebras in the photo but more importantly form kind of an abstract photo of the patterns formed by the different zebras. I should state that I took this photo with this crop already in mind…..
The second photo is the original photo – nice zebras but not a very interesting composition. I always find it important to visualize the crops that you have available when taking a photo – then try to capitalize on them in the post processing. Hope you enjoy!