Behind the lens

My Photo
A Dentist. Conservationist. Wildlife photographer. It all started when I was very young playing with point-and-shoot cameras at home. We were travelling a lot, and I captured moments on camera and the love for photography became a passion - especially wildlife photography. My drive is conservation, to use photography as a tool. Hope you enjoy the images!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Special moments

Wildlife photography can sometime surprise us with not-your-every-day moments.  

In the picture below, I photographed a red billed ox pecker as it was getting cosy on a warthog's head...all this while the warthog was on the move.  Strange, yet special to get close and get the "different" images we all want.  All we need is patience, time and some luck (:


Have a great day!

J


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Intense and Simple

The African Wild dog.  What a beautiful animal to photograph.

Today's short post is about simplicity in photography.  Photography takes you on a journey from beginner to more advanced...yet sometime we just need to get back to basics and remember that a simple picture can be powerful.  

When I took the photo of the wild dog as shown below, it reminded me about this:  one subject, homogenous background, powerful message with strong connection.  This was a picture taken at Zimanga game reserve in South Africa.


Techs:  1/500sec, f/4.0. 
ISO 4000, Focal length 500mm

Have great weekend!

Best,

Jaco

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Birds on Take-off!

How spectacular can birds be!  How colourful and photogenic!  

As a wildlife photographer, I only recently started to focus more on bird photography and a whole new world opened up.  The colour and variety blew me away.  

I want to focus on four photographs taken at Zimanga game reserve in South Africa where the birds were snapped just before take-off, and gave four totally different, yet striking compositions.  Obviously the reflections added a lot extra because of the great design of these hides as described in a previous blog post.

Hope you enjoy them! 

(*Click on images for a better view*)


Techs: 1/8000sec @ f/5.0
ISO4000, Focal length 500mm

Techs: 1/8000sec @ f/4.0
ISO4000, Focal length 500mm

Techs: 1/8000sec @ f/4.0
ISO6400, Focal length 500mm

Techs: 1/8000sec @ f/4.0
ISO3200, Focal length 500mm


Until next time folks!

Best,

Jaco

Friday, 25 July 2014

Zimanga Part 2/2 - The Wildlife

As promised I want to give a quick overview on what's going on outside the bird hides on Zimanga in this second part of two.

The highlight of the first game drive was without a doubt a cheetah female (Scarlet) with a kill, and we had beautiful afternoon light, picture below.  I couldn't get enough of this cat and we spent about two hours with her.


Scarlet
Techs: 1/4000sec at f/4.0
ISO 1600, Focal length 500mm


Techs: 1/2500sec at f/4.5
ISO 1250, Focal length 165mm



As seen below, we also had a magnificent sighting of wild dog that emerged from the thicket and into the open next to the lagoon.  We had great opportunity to take a few ground level shots.  The soft background gave us a beautiful backdrop with the rising sun.



Techs: 1/400sec at f/4.0
ISO 4000, Focal length 500mm


Techs: 1/3200sec at f/4.0
ISO 1250, Focal length 160mm


Besides cheetah and wild dog, we also had great sightings of hippo, vervet monkeys, elephants and general antelope species to name a few.    Below a few moments we had with them.


Techs: 1/8000sec at f/2.8
ISO 3200, Focal length 160mm


Techs: 1/400sec at f/4.0
ISO 2000, Focal length 500mm


So if there's ever a question about going to Zimanga or not, I believe the pictures speak for themselves, making this a prime photographic destination and a first dedicated photographic game reserve.

Until next time!

Best

Jaco


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Zimanga Part 1/2 -The birds and the hides

For years I have been fascinated with birds and how to photograph them.  This can be very challenging and quite a mission to get the perfect image in place.  What makes bird photography challenging must be the fact that birds are shy, present with erratic movements and sometimes out of reach to get nice and close.  

I recently saw a post on social media about a lodge opening with the option to photograph birds from hides.  I checked some of the pics and was amazed at the opportunities and results!  This is Zimanga Private Game Reserve, and the man in charge Charl Senekal.   The hides were designed by him and award winning photographer Bence Mate.  

I decided to go have a look, and was pleasantly surprised!

At this stage there are two hides, one perfect for morning sun and a bit in open space (Mkhombe hide), and another perfect for afternoon sun and in a dense vegetation (Bhejane hide), and the Bhejane hide is where you will find the elusive pink-throated Twinspot.  

There are plans in the pipeline to have more hides up and running very soon.

Below are three images taken from these hides with great guide and photographer Brendon Jennings.  

As you will see, the light, background and focal distance were all things considered while designing these hides, and the results can be exhilarating! All you need is a little patience...although sometimes the hide was so busy we didn't know what or where to shoot! 


Blue waxbills, Green winged pytilia, Golden breasted bunting
Tech specs:  1/1600sec at f/8.0  Focal length 500mm.  ISO 3200

Crested guineafowl
Tech specs:  1/100sec at f/13  Focal length 500mm.  ISO 1000

Yellow weaver
Tech specs:  1/500sec at f/13  Focal length 500mm.  ISO 3200



And this is just a teaser.  

I took about 6000 shots during my four day trip and the best of all is the Game drives combined with Bird Hide sessions.  The game drives produced just as much magic as the hides!  I will give more insight on this in Part 2 coming soon!

Have a good one!

J.




Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Namib desert

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to visit the Namib desert on the Namibian coastline.  We were exploring the desert on 4x4 and the old mining towns of Saddle Hill.  We started the journey at Luderitz and from here drove about six hours into the desert heading west to the coast line. Stark contrasts and raw earth, as if unfinished and incomplete.  

I was surprised in the way it touched me.  The way a barren landscape like this can be that beautiful.

Below are a few pictures from this trip.  Although this wasn't a photographic safari, I managed to take a few shots from this magnificent country.  







Above: A Brown hyena, also known as the "Strandwolf" locally.

Above: Gemsbok

Above: Gemsbok



Thank you again for checking in and taking the time to browse my work!  Hope you enjoyed a small glimpse of the Namib desert.

Have a great one!

Cheers for now...

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

There's a wolf on the beach!

 On a recent dune adventure trip to the famous Saddle Hill mining village near Luderitz (Namibia), we were driving along the vast sand highways of the desert and saw something rushing past the vehicles from our left.  The outlines was that of a larger mammal.  

We turned around and saw a full grown brown hyena kicking up sand as it was running along the dune mountains of sand.  We decided to give ourselves two minutes to photograph it, before letting it be.  Peaceful and undisturbed.  These few moments were all worth it!  What a sighting! I had a gigantic smile on my face as the hyena disappeared into the distance.

These elusive animals are the rarest of the hyena species and can be very difficult to find, even more in a stretched out desert wilderness around the Sperrgebiet National Park on the Namibian coast line. 

Brown hyena are active at night and seek refuge during the day.  On the Namibian coast line the also feed on Cape fur seals, mostly the pups.

The Brown Hyena Research Project is a non-profit organisation based in L├╝deritz in the southern Namib Desert in Namibia.

In the Afrikaans language, these animals are referred to as a "Strandwolf" ("Beach wolf").  Below are three images from the sighting:






Thanks for checking in, see you soon!

J