Welcome to the first post of 2018 from vR Photography! I hope that everyone had a great festive break, and a very happy new year ūüôā

Over the Christmas period, I was fortunate enough to visit Etosha National Park in Namibia to work on my wildlife photography portfolio, some of which I will share with you in this post. Therefore this blog will be more photo orientated, a photo blog, rather than technique based.

The Etosha National Park is a vast open space, famous for the large salt pan that makes up the majority of the park and can also be seen from space. There is an abundance of wildlife that can be found here, and a great destination for both experienced and first-timer photographers. The big 5 can be found here, except for the Buffalo, and with the ability of self-drive from sunrise to sunset, you are able to create lots of opportunities for yourself.

Drinking Lioness

On my very first day in Etosha, I was fortunate enough to photograph a Lioness drinking at a waterhole. It was on the drive from Okaukuejo towards the Newbrowni waterhole that I spotted a large herd of Springbok and Zebra standing about 50-100m away from the waterhole, staring towards the waterhole.

This could mean only one thing to me. A predator.

EXIF Info   |   f5.6    |   1/3200s   |    ISO 400
As I approached the waterhole there is a little mound that you are not able to fully see the waterhole at first. As I drove slightly closer I could see the muscular form of a yellow behind and the adrenaline started to sink over me as the rest of the Lioness’ body was revealed. Her body crouched down, tongue scooping up water and her eyes peeled all around her. All that I could wish for at this moment in time was that she was not finished drinking.
I quickly positioned my vehicle with the driver’s side towards her, rolled down my window just enough to place my beanbag at the correct height, grabbed my camera and started picking out the shots. I was the only person there with her for about 10 minutes before the next vehicle arrived. It was incredible.

Panoramic Elephant Bull

The photo of this young Elephant bull has another little story behind it. I was driving towards Halali, when on the winding road in between the thicket a small herd of Elephant were walking in the middle of the road. There was another vehicle in front of me, so photographically speaking there wasn’t much to this encounter. The herd¬†were also very quick to move off into the thicket, with only the sounds of branches breaking left to know of their presence.
I was then stuck between the thoughts of whether I should continue my journey towards Halali to see what I can find there, or turn around and find a turn off further down where this herd of Elephant could potentially come back out of the thicket. I took my chances and went with the latter.
The turnoff that I took was ironically called Olifantsbad, which in Afrikaans means Elephant’s Bath, and was the place where this thicket that the Elephant went in to would open up again to this road. Not too far down the road, was a lone young Elephant bull, peacefully grazing on the side of the road. With this young bull only being around 15m away from me, I decided to do a close-crop panoramic photo, as discussed in my previous blog post¬†to still be able to capture all of the fine detail, along with a wide view and shallow DOF.
EXIF Info   |   f5    |   1/1600s   |    ISO 250

Gemsbok On The Horizon

It was almost exactly a year since I took a similar photo to this, also with Gemsbok (Oryx) and in exactly the same place! I set out this year to recapture this kind of image as I wasn’t happy with the quality of the image from the previous year, and I think I managed to capture exactly what I was looking for. Gemsbok, to me, are one of the most striking Antelope with their beautiful face masks, their¬†aggression and toughness, being one of the few Antelope that are able to stand up to Lions. Being able to capture them in this peaceful manner on the edge of the Etosha pan with this beautiful backdrop and soft pastel colour sky is perfection.
EXIF Info   |     f5.6  |     1/800s    |    ISO 200
Over the next coming weeks, I will post a Part 2 of my Etosha trip, as I would like to give further in-depth stories of some of the photographs without making a single post too long, so be sure to be on the look out for the next part!

Thanks.

Carel