21 May 2013
Sunrise 0615 (heavy cloud cover)
Crater Camp (Tembo B) Elevation 7494
Crater Floor Elevation 5651
Another early rise this morning as we prepared for our last day in the Ngorongoro Crater. Off the rim top at 0625, we were faced with heavy clouds that had moved in over the night. As we began our descent, the clouds began to part and the heavier clouds began to rise right before our eyes which provided us with some very interesting landscape shooting. I had previously worked with my clients on evaluative metering when the meter is not all that accurate, so this was a perfect application of our previous discussion. Today, was all about photographing the wildebeset rut activities as well as zebra interactions. However, we did see one very interesting animal behavior that has been seldom seen and rarely documented. Early on, we came upon a fresh wildebeest kill by a lone female lion. As she was eating her way through the Gnu, two hyenas appeared and were soon sharing the kill with the lion. Normally, lions will not tolerate hyenas, let alone sharing their kill with other animals. Further perplexing, was the fact that they hyenas were not calling out for their partners to join them on the kill. Usually they would be yelping and making sure that the rest of their pack knew that were was a kill and they should join in the feeding opportunity.
Focusing on the rut for the rest of the day proved to be really interesting and these guys provided us with some hilarious viewing and shooting opportunities. The fighting action between the males happens very quickly and with lots of fake charges. All of this makes for some fast focusing requirements, and in make case, I missed several shots. With the action going on all around us, everyone was participating in spotting the fighting males.
Using a Sony NEX-6, Coogan captured the below images. I really love this camera. Her version of the descent looking out of the truck and into the sun.
On the floor of the crater, she captured the clouds opening up and some lovely god rays with some rim light on the grass.
On the way back to camp, we were treated to a wonderful close up show by a very large bull elephant. More photos of this animal in the next posting. What a great day it was. Tomorrow, we are off to the Serengeti in search of the great migration herd and cats.
Cheers and happy photo’ing. Blogging live from Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park.