Photo Safari Report: Colin & Jackie Morris | Flatdogs Camp | 15 - 17 June 2016

20th June 2016
I raved about this time of year in my last trip report of Arun & Reeta's safari. And I was very pleased to be able to guide Jackie & Colin from Flatdogs Camp last week and enjoy more of the beautiful early season in Luangwa.

So, in a rough order of appearance, here are the stars of our safari from last week.

We started our first morning with some wonderful giraffe antics along the main river. Giraffes are never in a hurry to drink - as they seem to be disproportionately fearful of crocodiles! - so we had plenty of time to enjoy them on the golden sand.


Some silly zebra behaviour kept us entertained for a while as the evening light softened and we discussed side-lighting as compared to the usual "put the sun behind you" approach.


Following some puku who appeared to have spotted something scary in a nearby gully, we approached carefully and found this leopard patrolling the bottom of the drainage channel. She is well known to us and gives us great sightings on an almost daily basis.


She carefully raised her head above the edge of the gully, checked around and discovered that most of the antelope had moved off.....


.....so she hopped up on top to survey the plain for hunting opportunities!


Part of the joy of photographic safaris is the chance to make beautiful images out of ordinary situations. This impala was standing proudly against a dark green background. A camera would normally over-expose such a scene, destroying the effect, but with the suggestion to under-expose slightly, the images came out beautifully.


Many photographers seek a clear view of their subjects - and there is certainly merit in this - but occasionally it is good to include some of the foliage/environment in front of the subject. It adds depth and context to the setting and offers a new perspective.


We enjoyed watching a flock of Lillian's love birds feeding on seeds on the broken ground. Occasionally, they would explode from the ground in a dazzle of green so I suggested slowing down the shutter to between 1/125 and 1/320 to get a shot that showed that movement.


Getting a shot of large mammal in front of the sunset is always a joy, but this is challenging in several ways. Balancing the light is tricky, and because of the limits of the sensor's dynamic range, often the foreground ends up very dark, or the sun loses all its colour, or both! By putting the sun behind a tree, you can cut some of its brightness without losing the colour entirely. This makes it easier to balance the bright sun with the dark foreground.


Our final day gave us some outstanding sightings. We stared with a leopard who ran across a river bed, but didn't hang around, and then we found a young female leopard who had recently killed a young male impala. She had dragged it into a tree and was beginning to feed.


Later that afternoon, we scouted around the same area to seek out the leopard's cub and found him resting on an exposed branch in the afternoon sunshine!


Later that evening, the two leopards came out from their hiding places and wandered towards where we were waiting. We'd had to be patient to see the two together but it was well worth the wait!


Our final sighting of the day came when were having a drink along the riverbank at sunset. One of our two pride males appeared out of the bushes and wandered out into the open. He was observed from all sides by pukus who whistled incessantly!


This is a magic national park with wonderful sightings to be enjoyed. If you would like to visit, consider contacting me about a group or private safari. I had a great time with Jackie & Colin and hope that our paths might cross again one day!

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