Tough Papa Lion and Cute Cubs

Posted December 20th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

It is amazing to me that the cutest, most adorable baby animals on earth come from some of the toughest looking parents. For example, take a look at this lion pride and their current dominant male father. The lion cubs are absolutely adorable. The father? Well, let’s just say his better days are behind him. This guy has a broken tooth and a droopy lower gum line that looks like it was torn in a recent fight.

We photographed this pride of lion in the central Serengeti just after they had killed a wildebeest. All the lions were resting lazily in the deep grass, so capturing clear shots of the group was difficult, even with our long lenses.

Awww. Cute baby lion cub. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Awww. Cute baby lion cub. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Here's papa. He must have been a good looking guy in his youth. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Here's papa. He must have been a good looking guy in his youth. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Another youngster playing with papa lion's tail. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Another youngster playing with papa lion's tail. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

A slightly older cub fighting off the pesky flies. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

A slightly older cub fighting off the pesky flies. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

This youngster is just about to pounce on papa lion. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

This youngster is just about to pounce on papa lion. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Don't you find this guy adorable with his broken tooth and torn gum? Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Don't you find this guy adorable with his broken tooth and torn gum? Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Two baby lion cubs finishing off what's left of the wildebeest meal. They were hidden underneath a low bush and we managed to squeak out a few images. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.

Two baby lion cubs finishing off what's left of the wildebeest meal. They were hidden underneath a low bush and we managed to squeak out a few images. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC E-II.





How Close?

Posted February 17th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

When I talk to people about what it is like on an African photo safari, one of their first questions is wanting to know how close the animals get to the vehicles.

The answer?

CLOSE!

The thrill of having a leopard walk by your front bumper or a lion lean up against your door is undeniably cool. The first time you get that close to a big, beautiful, dangerous animal is absolutely amazing and you never forget the surge of adrenaline.

Here are some shots from our last safari in Tanzania that show how close the animals frequently come to our Land Cruisers.

Leopard in the Seronera region of the Serengti. Nikon D90, 24-70mm f2.8.

Leopard in the Seronera region of the Serengti. Nikon D90, 24-70mm f2.8.

Zebra in Ngorongoro Crater.

Zebra in Ngorongoro Crater.

Lion and license plate in Ngorongoro Crater.

Lion and license plate in Ngorongoro Crater.

Serval and vehicles in Ngorongoro Crater.

Serval and vehicles in Ngorongoro Crater.

Two lions taking a rest underneath the safari vehicle.

Two lions taking a rest underneath the safari vehicle.

Leopard watching people in safari vehicle. Tarangire NP.

Leopard watching people in safari vehicle. Tarangire NP.

Leopard by front bumper in Tarangire NP.

Leopard by front bumper in Tarangire NP.





Life on the Mara River, Tanzania

Posted January 13th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

At the northern end of the Serengeti in Tanzania lies the Mara River. The annual wildebeest migration crosses over the Mara river as it heads to the Southern grasslands in Tanzania. The Mara River is an intriguing place because over 1 million animals have to cross the river, and there is a huge predator population lying in wait for tmeals. In November 2010, there was drought in the Southern Serengeti, so many of the wildebeest and zebra were still north near the Mara river. In fact, there were large herds of wildebeest that still hadn’t crossed the river.

It is incredibly fascinating to watch a herd of wildebeest survey the crossing and decide whether or not it should cross. We watched a large herd for quite a few hours and finally gave up since it never decided to cross. They were looking for crocodiles!

Crocodile on the Mara River, Tanzania. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Crocodile on the Mara River, Tanzania. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

When the urge to cross becomes too great, one wildebeest will jump and then the rest of the herd will come surging through. Most make it, but a few unlucky animals don’t.

Wildebeest skull. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Wildebeest skull. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Below are a number of other photographs from the Mara River. The captions tell the rest of the story.

Zebra looking for an opportunity to cross the river. Hippos don't worry about the crocodiles. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Zebra looking for an opportunity to cross the river. Hippos don't worry about the crocodiles. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Wildebeest and zebra mill about, waiting for one of the animals to muster up enough courage to cross the river. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

Wildebeest and zebra mill about, waiting for one of the animals to muster up enough courage to cross the river. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

The Mara region is beautiful. Blue skies for as far as the eye can see. The river is murky and brown and hides all kinds of hidden dangers. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.

The Mara region is beautiful. Blue skies for as far as the eye can see. The river is murky and brown and hides all kinds of hidden dangers. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.

Hippos are always fighting and arguing with each other. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

Hippos are always fighting and arguing with each other. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

Predators are everywhere in the Serengeti. After the wildebeest cross the river, lions are waiting for them to cross their territory. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

Predators are everywhere in the Serengeti. After the wildebeest cross the river, lions are waiting for them to cross their territory. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

This young male lion was with a pride of 15 - 20 other lions. He poked his head out of the bushes to look around, then went right back into the shade for a nap. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

This young male lion was with a pride of 15 - 20 other lions. He poked his head out of the bushes to look around, then went right back into the shade for a nap. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

Jackals hang around the lion prides, looking for leftover scraps. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Jackals hang around the lion prides, looking for leftover scraps. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Baby ostriches with their father. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Baby ostriches with their father. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.





New article on Africa

Posted March 12th, 2010 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

hagen_081120_0555_lionsky

Just finished up writing a new article on photo safaris for the Nikonians eZine. Check it out!

http://blog.nikonians.org/archives/2010/03/ezine_45_space_shuttle_commander.html#more

or

http://www.niknians.org/ezine/eZine45.pdf





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