Our first stop today was the Retima Hippo Pool followed by a journey to the Maasai Kopjes. These Kopjes turned out to be a great bet as they produced two huge male lions and two females with three cubs estimated at 3 months of age. Although the cubs were located deep inside a tangled web of tree trunks, making photography very difficult, they were fun to watch. On the way back to camp, we were treated to a huge herd of herd of giraffes, some 60 strong with many young ones. Zebras were scattered among the giraffes and heading our way is a long line of Wildebeests. An impressive African sunset, sitting around the campfire telling stories from the bush with zebras, hyenas, lions roaring in the distant – it is going to be a noisy but relaxing African evening.
Another magnificent day in the Serengeti. Before we left the camp area, we came across some 50 giraffes and about 100 zebras just hanging out taking advantage of the tall grasses and the lush trees. What a way to start the morning! Last night I received a game report at dinner concerning the migration herd. I made the decision to rise early and make a long drive to the Lobo area in hopes of running into the wildebeest herds. My hunch paid off in spades with wildebeests as far as the eye could see. Along the way we were treated to three cheetahs and of course some wonderful cloud formations that made for some great landscapes. I wonder what tomorrow will hold for us in the Seregenti?
Blogging live from the Serengeti........
We left Rivertrees very early this morning for our private charter flight to the Serengeti. Within 20 minutes of leaving the airstrip located in the central Serengeti, we found a pride of 15 lions all in a huge tree. Several of the young ones left the large tree and attempted to try their skills at climbing a much smaller nearby tree with limited success. Clearly THE SAFARI HAS BEGUN.
Continuing onward, the plains of the Serengeti soon turned green with lush tall grasses everywhere. Before we knew it, we had 4 of the big 5 photographed; now only for the Rhino.
Blogging live from the Serengeti.........
We are serious about photography.
We are serious about game viewing and putting you in the right place at the right time to take awesome photographs.
We are serious about having fun on our safaris.
Join me this September in Tanzania for a photo safari that will change the way you see the world!
Cheers and happy photo'ing
While leading a photo safari for Thomson Safaris, our group followed this large male leopard for nearly an hour has he walked through the tall grass and the undergrowth in the Serengeti. While tracking him, we observed what we thought was a limp from time to time as he walked. After passing up numerous trees, he finally found one that he considered suitable and up he went. Once he took up his perch, we could see a recent wound on the right leg. Thankfully the wound appeared to healing.
Cheers and happy photo'ing
It will be early to rise when another great safari with Thomson Safaris rolls around in May. The photograph below was taken just after sun rise as the pink clouds when nuts while I was looking down the row of tents in one of our camps the the northern area. Tanzania is a magical county and the scenes from the Serengeti unfold right before your eyes hour after hour.
If a photographic safari has been on your bucket list for some time, now could be the time to make it happen. Take a look at this fascinating itinerary including the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Plains, and Gibbs Farm to mention a few.
Ok, it’s time for the annual 2014 wrap up and a glimpse of what’s happening in 2015, so here we go.
2014 had me spending more time in Africa and on the road than I did at home, at least it seemed that way. The year kicked off in February with one of my favorite Thomson Safari adventures in Tanzania – the wildebeest calving. This time of the year is always an exciting because we are able to witness and photograph the births of literally thousands of newborn wildebeests. We also see the numerous predators that follow the herds of newborns and their parents, hoping for an easy meal.
Shortly thereafter I found myself in Namibia with Andy Biggs and Joshua Holko photographing the incredible landscapes in the oldest and tallest dunes in the world. This was my fourth trip to Namibia, and when it comes to desert landscapes, Namibia is absolutely numero uno! I will be returning in March 2015 to lead another Namibian landscape experience.
June found me back in Tanzania for the wildebeest rut safari, again with Thomson Safaris – and if you ask whether I like the calving more than the rutting, well, I just couldn’t say because both are incredible! With predators following the herds as they migrated across the plains to Kenya, we were afforded plenty of photographic opportunities then shared wonderful stories around the campfire as we recounted our daily adventures. I will be repeating this trip again in the May-June time frame of 2015.
August found me leading a photographic expedition to Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Trying to describe the landscapes of this island is simply beyond words. Check back after the first of the year for a new collection of photographs from this adventure. If Iceland is on your bucket list, I will be leading another expedition (or two) to Iceland in 2016 so stay tuned and let me know if you are interested.
In September I returned once again to Tanzania for the incredible great migration. During this trip we witnessed multiple wildebeest river crossings – always a spectacular event – and had numerous opportunities to photograph lions and leopards. The energy that surrounds the chaos of a river crossing must not be underestimated and it is one that must be experienced first-hand. As the wildebeest cross the Mara River, it is truly survival of the fittest as they face rapid river currents, angry hippos, and hungry crocodiles. Many of the wildebeests do not survive the mayhem.
October put me in Ethiopia photographing the tribes of the Omo Valley. This was one of the most humbling experiences of my photographic career because of the challenging roads, logistics, weather, and the people. However, I also am excited to repeat as soon as I can, so again, stay tuned. I can’t begin to describe what it was like to photograph these wonderful and caring tribal people of the Omo as they went about their daily lives. Being given unrestricted access to these people and invited to photograph and take part in their daily rituals made memories that will be with me for a long time. I can’t wait to return to work with these tribal members again, and I need to give special thanks to Piper MacKay for introducing me to these seldom-visited areas.
From October to late November I led two safaris into Botswana and co-led another safari with Grant Atkinson. As always, Eyes on Africa provided expert logistical support for two of the safaris and a new provider, Unlimited Safaris, provided the support for my first private camping safari. All three safaris produced wonderful photographic opportunities for leopards, lions and wild dogs. The highlights of these trips were seeing the gorgeous leopards and the packs of African Painted Dogs in full action as they hunted with the precision of a well-trained military unit. It was intense, high speed photography as we followed the dogs on chase after chase.
My third Botswana safari as co-leader with Grant Atkinson started in Maun with 17 of us taking a bush plane flight and landing at Nxabega. Our two days at Nxabega were filled with dogs and dogs and dogs. The African Painted Dog is a formidable killing machine. Usually hunting in both the morning and evening, they sport an 80 percent success rate in their chase to kill ratio. On our last morning before taking another bush flight to Sandibe, we witnessed the dogs make 7 antelope kills in 2 hours. They only missed once when they tried to chase a large kudu. I will be returning to Botswana next October for another photographic adventure sponsored by Muench Workshops.
A big highlight of the year was being invited to join the team of Muench Workshops, a small collection of very experienced professional photographers that lead workshops throughout the world. I think their tag line “one-of-a kind photography workshops at the coolest places on the planet” says it all. I am honored to be affiliated with David Muench, Mark Muench, and Andy Williams, and their wonderful team of photographers.
2015 will be another full year with highlights that include two safaris to Tanzania and Botswana, the landscapes of the Palouse, and the chimpanzees and mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda. I also will be joining Joshua Holko in July as we journey far north into the Arctic to photograph polar bears. In addition, I am currently planning a very small expedition-type adventure into Ethiopia’s Omo Valley in November, once again to photograph the seldom-photographed Suri Tribe. Details and booking information on all of these trips can be found on my website blog. If you don’t see me leading a trip to an area that interests you, please drop me a line and I will share with you what I have planned for the future. Likewise, if you are interested in one of the trips that are fully booked, I will be happy to place you on a waiting list – you just never know.
As for equipment, I am still shooting Nikon and Hasselblad and recently invested in the Profoto B1 portable flash head for my work in Ethiopia. I also invested in the new Nikon 400 f/2.8 FL series lens and man, what a beauty it is!
Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2015.
Join me on an adventure of a lifetime as we make incredible photographs along the way.
2015 Workshop / Travel Outlook –
Iceland – By Winter – February 11-18 (private safari)
Namibia – Overland Landscapes – March 12-22
Tasmania and New Zealand – April 2015 (Private Safari)
Tanzania – The Rut Migration – May 27-June 7
Washington State – Muench Workshops Landscapes of the Palouse – June 11-17 (limited openings)
Uganda and Rwanda – Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas – June 25 – 4 July 2015
Norway – Polar Bears – July 22 – 4 August
Botswana – Pure Botswana – September 2015 (FULLY BOOKED)
Tanzania – The Great Migration – September 19-30
Botswana – Muench Workshops Botswana Adventures – October 10-20
Ethiopia – Omo Valley Adventure Series – October – November (please inquire if interested – limited to 4 guests only)
2016 Teaser: Italy, Iceland plus many more.
Safari Day 4,5 and 6, 20-22 Sep 2014
Weather: Partly cloudy with clearing skys in the afternoon
We moved from Ngorongoro Crater today to our central Serengeti camp, Robanda. Along the way and while at Robanda, it was lion central with lots of adult and cub lions. Our first morning, we hit the jackpot with tons of Wildebeests within 5 minutes of departure. Having briefed everybody on panning techniques the night before, everyone had plenty of opportunities to practice panning with the Wildebeests running all around us. We all had our dose of hippos at the Retima hippo pool for the classic hippo shots, complete with lots of gaping mouths and nasty water. After three wonderful days at Robanda, it will be time to move to our northern camp tomorrow. Sorry for the short postings, but the days are very long and the nights are very short. Early to rise tomorrow for more photography in the great Serengeti with Thomson Safaris ‘Thru the Lens Safari’
Cheers and happy photo’ing till I get another chance to post again.
Sitting here in lounge at Dubai after a lengthy and uneventful 20 hour ride from Seattle. With a 12 hour layover, I will soon start my last push of two plane rides to my other office, Tanzania. Although it has only been some three months since I was last there, it seems so long ago. Sure am looking forward to seeing all of my friends and wonderful folks at Thomson Safaris and those lovely sights and sounds of Africa.
Cheers and looking forward to posting from the bush.
I’m currently in Iceland leading a photography workshop; however, it is World Lion Day and it would be a shame not to celebrate the majesty of lions. Hats off to the lions of Africa……..