Pictures from 2014 Tanzania Photo Safari

Posted November 25th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

This year’s Tanzania Photo Safari was one of the best we’ve ever run. We photographed just about everything possible during our adventure and had a blast along the way.

My kit this year included the brand new Nikon D750 and I’m proud to report that it performed like a champ. This camera is a winner as far as I’m concerned and I kept commenting to my participants how much I enjoyed having it along on the adventure. Highly recommended.

Here are a few pics from the trip. Enjoy!

Lion in tree

Young female lioness in a tree. Tarangire NP, Tanzania. Nikon D750, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

Hippo waking up from a nap. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Hippo waking up from a nap. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Lion cub

Lion cub in the morning light. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

night herons

Flock of black crowned night herons. Ngorongoro Crater. Nikon D750, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

White rhinoceros

White rhinoceros in Ngorongoro Crater. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

Leopard cubs.

Baby leopard cubs at sunrise. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

Lion at Sametu

Male lion at the Sametu Kopjes, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Drinking lions.

Pride of drinking lions at the Sametu Marsh, near the Sametu Kopjes in Serengeti National Park. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Blue Monkey in tree

Blue monkey in tree. Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

Maromboi tent

One of our luxury tents at Maromboi camp, Tanzania. Nikon D750, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Tawny Eagle Camera Gear and Processing Info

Posted January 28th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Wildlife  |  Permalink
Tawny eagle

My new favorite bird in Tanzania is the tawny eagle. Read the story to find out why.

I received a lot of questions on the details surrounding the photography of the tawny eagle featured in the January 2014 newsletter. Here’s one of the questions from a reader and my answers.

QUESTION:

Mike,
I attended your lighting class in Houston last November.

Could you please tell me how and with what you shot the birds below? In particular, what lens, camera, settings, venue and degree of post-processing?

I am evaluating a new Nikor 70-200 f4, to see if it gives sharper focus than my 70-300 f 4-5.6. I have made some indoor and outdoor shots at 200mm for camparison and can discern a very slight improvement with the 70-200 f4. I am torn between returning it to B&H (I’m within 30 days) and applying that money toward a 200mm or 300mm prime. Of course, that would mean lugging more glass around. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Chuck

ANSWER:

Hi Chuck –

The pics were taken with my Nikon D800. I used a Nikon 200-400mm f/4 with the Nikon 1.4x TC II-E teleconverter. I processed each of these in Lightroom 5 and only adjusted five sliders:
1. White Balance (shot was originally a bit cool because of the overcast lighting conditions)
2. Highlights (down to keep information in the white feathers)
3. Shadows (up to pull out detail in eyes and under wings)
4. Clarity (up to add a small amount of local contrast)
5. Vibrance (up to give the colors a tiny pop)

Total time in Lightroom 5 was probably 30 seconds or less.

Regarding lens choices, if you are serious about doing bird photography, then you’ll need to get out to 500mm or longer. Most serious birders use 600mm or 800mm or longer. If you go with a prime 300mm, then I recommend the 300mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 2.0x TC III-E model. That will get you out to 600mm and still be somewhat affordable and somewhat portable.

Here are links to the lenses I refer to above:

Nikon 300mm f/2.8

Nikon 200-400mm f/4

Nikon 500mm f/4

Nikon 600mm f/4

Nikon 800mm f/5.6

Nikon TC-14E II

Nikon TC-20III E

NikonLens200-400mm





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.





Pileated Woodpecker

Posted August 20th, 2011 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink
Pileated Woodpecker. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC, Gitzo CF tripod.

Pileated Woodpecker. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC, Gitzo CF tripod.

Last night my family and I were enjoying dinner on the back patio when my son exclaimed “woodpecker!” I’ve seen a group of three woodpeckers hanging out on my land for the last few weeks and have wanted to get a decent photo of them.

I grabbed my Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4 and 1.4x TC and snapped 30 or so photos before this beautiful bird flew away into the woods. Out of the 30 shots, this was the only one sharp enough to work with. All the others had significant motion blur from the fast movements of the bird.

Since I’ve been preparing for a shot of the woodpeckers, I’ve left my camera and lens set up on my tripod. As Ansel Adams said, luck befalls the prepared photographer!





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.





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