Memorable Wildlife Moments
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." MAYA ANGELOU
My photography journey so far, has given me many breathtaking moments that I will cherish forever ...
"Olive" - Kenya June 2010
A well known leopard in Kenya's Masai Mara provided me with my first leopard sighting during my first Kenyan safari. It was during an early morning game drive from Kicheche Bush Camp in June 2010 when the grass was long and lush after the rains. As we passed close to the Ol Kiombo airstrip and stopped the vehicle, we noticed a movement in the grass and then hushed tones from the guide and "here she comes!". A flick of the tail and then there she was ... a beautiful leopard in her prime, blinking in the early morning sunlight and behaving like a catwalk model, sashaying to within a foot of the vehicle. She stood obligingly amid a rattle of camera shutters. I held my breath. She was so close that I could have reached out and stroked her like a domestic cat! I saw her on many more occasions but the Ol Kiombo morning will always be special.
"Midnight Bear", Svalbard 2011
As the title suggests, it was shortly before midnight and I had returned to my cabin onboard the Academic Sergey Vavilov ready to go to bed, when an announcement came over the ships radio "Polar bear, starboard side!". My room mate Sue said she was too tired to get up and would sit this one out. Hastily putting all my layers back on and grabbing my camera bag and tripod, I hurried out to the deck to find a good vantage point. Everyone was there, both crew and guests alike and it was like trying to find a spot on a crowded beach! I was just attaching my rocket launcher 500mm lens to the camera when I glanced over the side saw a huge male polar bear climbing out of the water onto the nearby ice flow. He was so close so no need for the big guns, unless I wanted a close up of his nostril! I grabbed my wide angle lens while the bear walked towards the ship. With my heart pounding, I pressed the shutter just as he stood up on his hind legs and looked at all the assembled ships crew and photographers. I knew I had the shot. I watched enthralled as the bear explored the ice flow before slipping silently into the water, taking one last look back at the ship and swimming away. Time just stood still. I returned to my cabin and Sue said "Was it worth it?" ... "Definitely" I replied, "You made the wrong choice!".
"The other Salisbury Plain" A morning spent on Salisbury Plain, South Georgia during a snow storm, made me feel like a real wildlife photographer! I had so many layers on to keep out the cold and was hunkered down behind my 500m lens. I know it maybe not everyones idea of heaven but I loved every minute! As I focused on the adult King penguins returning to the wooly coated chicks in the rookery, with the mountains as a backdrop, for a brief few moments the sun came out and flooded the scene and gave me one of my favourite shots of the trip. To me the photo just screams "SOUTH GEORGIA". I can't wait to return!
Keywords: Academic Sergey Vavilov, adventure, Africa, Antarctica, bear, expedition, Georgia, ice, Kenya, penguin, photography, polar, South, Svalbard, wildlife, Zimbabwe
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