Common Zebra, Lewa Wildlife Conservation, Kenya
I thought a zebra was a zebra was a zebra. But on our safari this past February, I learned that Kenya has two types of zebras … the Common Zebra and the Grevy’s Zebra. Both are endangered species and most of the world’s population is in Kenya. Their populations have drastically gone down in places like Kenya due to poaching and loss of habitat. Each zebra’s pattern is unique, like fingerprints. No two are alike. We came upon this mixed herd of Commons and Grevy’s one morning and they all took a moment to check us out. Once deciding we were no threat, they went back to their grazing. I thought this guy looking at us would be a good illustration for the theme “High/Low Contrast”.
Captured with Nikon 810, 150-600mm lens at 240mm, f/8. Cropped, converted to B&W, and edited in Lightroom.
Bells Bridge/Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Scotland
Often times when I first encounter a big city, I like to use the Hop On Hop Off bus to get an overview and then later visit the sites that interest me. We did this in Glasgow, catching the 2nd bus of the day with only a few people and a good, informed entertaining guide. With only 2 days in Glasgow, I had to pick and choose what I wanted to see and photograph and one particular site was this cool old bridge with the armadillo-looking structure just across from it. We caught a taxi to the site who alerted us that the area across the bridge might be quite busy that evening due to a concert at the auditorium. Lo and behold, it was the Backstreet Boys (I own none of their music!) and the average age of the concert goers was probably 22. We also learned later that evening as we had drinks at our hotel, that the band group was staying there as well! We just couldn’t shake those guys!
I really wanted to get this shot because I loved the juxtapositon of the building from across the walkway. I had to frequently wait as folks came and went across the bridge but finally got this image. I thought it would make a good one for the “leading lines” theme. I used a Nikon 24-70 at 1/160 sec at f/22, ISO 1400 due to the evening clouds and edited it in Photomorphis.
Cape Buffalo, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
On one of our evening drives in Kenya looking for wildlife, we came upon this old Cape Buffalo, lying in the open, alone. He looked tired and lethargic and took no heed of our jeep as we pulled near … just calmly chewing his cud and watching us unalarmed. No other buffalo was around which seemed unusual, since they tend to stay in herds. Our Masai Mara guide explained to us that old bulls, like him, have been kicked out of the herd by younger, more virile males and lead a solitary existence. Unfortunately, without the protection of a herd, old bulls commonly fall prey to lions. I wonder if this ended up being his fate.
June Beetle on Cacti Flower, Selby Botanical Garden, Sarasota
I have done very little macro photography but when we planned our visit to Selby Gardens, I thought it might be the perfect place to experiment. I didn’t take my tripod and I quickly discovered that it’s almost impossible to capture a sharp image without one when doing macro shots. But it was fun … learning and experimenting with the light and my camera settings but I’ve got a long way to go to capture good macro shots!
This was captured with my Nikon D810, 60mm, edited in Lightroom.
Fiscal Shrike in Tanzania Bush
There were so many beautiful birds we spotted on our recent Africa trip and … so many that I didn’t capture on camera. The ones I was able to capture, were not always photo sharp, to my dismay. But still, they provide wonderful memories. I so love birds and hope to get better at capturing their distinct beauty.
“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”
Nature historian David Attenborough
Lioness, Ngala Wildlife Preserve, South Africa
This lioness from the Birmingham pride had just risen from her suckling cubs when I noticed the wound on her nose, probably caused from a scrap with another lion. It’s a wild wild world they live in with no guarantees that they will see tomorrow.
Impalas, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
One wildlife animal that was plentiful on the Kenya plains were Impalas. We saw so many, we began calling them “McDonalds” due to their rear-end markings that looked like the McDonald’s logo. And secondly, because they are the fast food item for lions, leopards and cheetahs. So it became a standard joke every time we saw an impala herd we spoke out “Oh look, there’s some more McDonalds!”
Most baby impalas are born mid-day as this is the safest time to give birth since most of their enemies are resting. Unfortunately, half of newborns are killed by predators within the first few weeks of life. A fascinating fact that our guide shared was that impala mothers can delay giving birth for up to a month if weather conditions are harsh, such as during the wet season. But upon looking up this fact, it is more a myth than reality. It is believed that to cope with poor conditions, impalas may choose to abandon or abort their young rather than risk their own lives to look after a lamb whose likelihood of survival is marginal at best. A sad reality on the plains of Africa.