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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Safari! - part 1: Ngorongoro Crater

In November we went on safari in Tanzania. This was our first time on Safari, and we timed the trip to also coincide with our 1st wedding anniversary.

We had a wonderful time, and had plenty of luck with the weather and animal sightings. In the next few posts, I'd like to share some photos I took while we were there. We visited three main locations, namely the Ngorongoro crater, Serengeti National Park and Tarangire National Park - I'll make a separate post for each. In a later post, I'll also describe what I took with me in terms of camera equipment, and how that worked out.

After a long journey, we arrived at our lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater (in fact an extinct volcano) about an hour before sundown. This first shot is taken looking over the rim, into the caldera. It's difficult to get an idea of the scale looking at this. To give you an idea though, those lines criss-crossing the foreground are dirt tracks.

The following morning, we drove down into the crater, which is inhabited by most of the animals you might imagine you would hope to see on safari (Giraffes are an exception to this, as they cannot scale the steep side walls!) One of our first encounters was with this pair of Warthogs with their piglets. 

At lunch, we stopped near a small water hole, along with many other vehicles. The local wildlife were well aware of the potential for scraps at a site like this, and in particular there were about a dozen Black Kites swooping back and forth the whole time we were there. An excellent opportunity for some BIF photography! I dont think I have ever been able to get so close to a bird of prey of this size in the UK - the shot below, which is cropped only slightly, was taken with a 300mm lens on a Nikon D300.

After lunch, we continued our drive in the crater. The side walls of the crater are very distinctive - they stretch across the entire horizon, and rise steeply from the flat basin of the crater floor. In this next shot you can see the crater wall in the distance. In the foreground are flamingos gathered in a salt lake.

We didn't witness any kills while we were in Tanzania, but we did see plenty of predators, including Cheetahs and Lions.

This Cheetah spent pretty much the whole day sitting in this spot sleeping. Or yawning.
The Lions in this next shot are picking off some scraps remaining on a carcass (according to our guide, these two fall pretty low in the social order, and hence eat last!), while also fending off the attentions of Jackals, vultures and Hyenas.

The rest of the pride had already moved on, but we caught up with them a little later.

Next time some shots from the Serengeti!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Couple More Squirrel Shots

I'm a complete sucker for these guys! They continue to visit on pretty much an hourly basis, and I've taken plenty more photos of them over the weekend. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Coming up soon, I'll be posting a few entries on our recent Safari in Tanzania!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

My entries for WPOTY 2012

Each year I enter a couple of competitions, usually the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) and the British Wildlife Photography Award (BWPA). I've been shortlisted a good few times in the BWPA, but never got anywhere in the WPOTY. I'll keep trying - and here are a few of my entries for 2012.