Shamwari Photographic Safari

Let There Be Light ...

We have spent the last couple of days on a Shamwari Photographic Safari.  These are led by Ryan and his Dad Iky (Iky’s Photograhpic) who, with the impressively expert help of Frank our ranger and driver, patiently showed us how to get the very best out of our cameras and capture the beauty of this wild and fascinating place.

The photographic safari added greatly to our overall experience of Shamwari and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone interested in photography – whether inexperienced amateurs like us looking to invest some time in learning more about the art – or experienced photographers looking to share their passion and enhance skill.

You need to be sure to book your trip well in advance. Walking safaris are another option to enhance the experience – but again, advance booking is required.

The French wish themselves “Bon Appetit” (for which, interestingly, there is no English translation). Budding photographers wish for good light which this morning eluded us.  It had been a damp night and this morning broke cold and grey.  These 5am starts are an effort in these conditions.

Shamwari Photographic Safari Giraffe against a blue sky

Despite the poor light, we still had a good morning.  Patience was required as we tracked lions, amusing ourselves by photographing a giraffe (resolutely munching rather than facing us); a very obliging drongo; cute little warthogs (not so cute if you met one close up though and they were running around the lodge last night! and some beautiful blue plumbago.

Shamwari Photographic Safari Drongo
Shamwari Photographic Safari Warthogs
Let's Hear it for the Warthogs?!
Shamwari Photographic Safari Blue Plumbago - Blue Plumbago
Shamwari - Blue Plumbago

Eventually, the lions showed up and we were able to take some nice shots.  I was becoming to get reasonably comfortable around these creatures (with the experience of the guides to rely on) until, one of the lions went into a pounce position. At this point, the starter motor went again, and I think my heart stopped too for a second. Fortunately, both kicked in again and we powered off back up to the road again.

Shamwari Photographic Safari Give us a Cuddle Shamwari Lions - Time for a cuddle!
Time for a cuddle ...!
Shamwari Photographic Safari Shamwari Lions - On the prowl ...
On the prowl ...
Cheetah Going in for the Kill Shamwari Mother Elephant and Calf
Mother Elephant and Calf

One of the best tips I accumulated  in the Shamwari Photographic Safari was to focus on the most interesting aspect of your subject rather than try to photograph the whole thing.  In this case, the lion’s beautiful ears were what really fascinated me.

Shamwari Photographic Safari Lion's Ear
Photography Tip No. 1 - Focus on the most interesting aspect of your subject!

On the evening game drive, we saw zebras and learned how to tell the difference between male and female zebras: The females are black with white stripes; the females are white with black stripes – thanks for that Brian (spoken in his third language (nonsense) I think?!).

We also saw a bat eared fox, had another starter motor stall in front of a white rhino and finished the evening looking at a family of fat bellied lions relaxing after dinner.

I had some great video of the baby playing with Dad’s tail, but managed to hit the wrong button (frozen cold fingers not working too well!) and delete it on the way home.  A memory I will just have to hold in my head rather than relive now, sadly.

Unfortunately, the light was too poor for a really great photo, but you get the idea.  It rained hard all the way back home and the poor roads turned to a mud slide.

Shamwari Photographic Safaris Lions at Play
Come on Dad - Play with me - Pleeeese?!
Shamwari Photographic Safari I'm so full Shamwari Lions
I'm soooo full - but I still want to play!
Shamwari Photographic Safari Bat Eared Fox
Bat eared fox
Shamwari Photographic Safari Zebra
How do you tell the difference between male and female zebra? Read the blog ...(?)!
Shamwari Photographic Safari Zebras - in Fading Light
Zebras - in Fading Light

Glad I Packed

A raincoat.

Wish I had packed : Windscreen wipers for my glasses?!