Category Archives: ASP News

Motswari Private Game Reserve, Timbavati, Kruger

Male pride lion at night, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Male pride Lion at night, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

I think myself very lucky to have travelled extensively in Africa and have based myself in some amazing locations.

At the end of last year I was fortunate enough to stay (although only briefly for three nights) at the multi-award winning Motswari Private Game Reserve, which is located in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, itself part of the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy and some six hours drive from Johannesburg. However, on this trip, to maximize my time, I opted for the internal flight from Johannesburg to Nelspruit (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport).

Pearl-spotted owlet at first light. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Pearl-spotted owlet at first light. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Thanks to the management of David and Thea, I believe that Motswari gets the balance just right between having the essentials for a comfortable stay; friendly, helpful and experienced staff and great game viewing. It’s extremely relaxed and non-pretentious. It’s luxurious enough for those who seek the finer things and down-to-earth enough for those who love to get up and get out before sunrise and return after sunset.

If you’re serious about your wildlife photography and you’re lucky enough to meet up with resident guides Keith Connelly or Chad Cocking, then you’re in good hands. Not only are they knowledgeable guides and excellent company, they’re also accomplished photographers with a wealth of experience that they’re willing to share, to help you make the most of the days you have.

The staff at this family run lodge are committed to service excellence in all aspects of day-to-day running of their business. From African wildlife conservation and environmental management, to the high level of quality of their cuisine. Responsible Tourism is a key principle in their operating philosophy and all their employees are very much treated as members of the family.

So, the lodge is all I could have asked for, but what of the game viewing? Well, I know they have the best of everything, as I’ve seen the evidence in Chad and Keith’s portfolios, but I did have a couple of things going against me, which to be honest I had already accepted upfront. These were a) I was only there for a very short time b) I wasn’t on a dedicated photographers trip or self-drive, so had to ensure I was always as sympathetic to the needs of my fellow travellers as they were to mine. So, I was hoping that luck would be on my side.

Female leopard, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Female leopard, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

The sun had gone by the time we spotted this female Leopard. Really pushing the camera’s limits. Might be time for an upgrade!!!

Female leopard, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female leopard, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Young male lion hunting, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Young male lion hunting, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Male pride Lion, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Male pride Lion, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Impala Buck in evening light, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Impala Buck in evening light, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Waterbuck, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Female Waterbuck, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Male adult Kudu, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Male adult Kudu, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Water Buffalo with Red-billed Oxpecker, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Water Buffalo with Red-billed Oxpecker, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Water Buffalo with Red-billed Oxpecker, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Water Buffalo with Red-billed Oxpecker, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

African Bush Elephants, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

African Bush Elephants, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

African Bush Elephant, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

African Bush Elephant, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

African Bush Elephants, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

African Bush Elephants, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

A face only a mother could love!! Hyena’s do tend to get a raw deal and are often overlooked by those seeking the Big Five and the more exotic, but I love them and could watch the family interactions all day.

Hyena adult male, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Hyena adult male, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Hyena male, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Hyena male, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Hyena with Buffalo leg, Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Hyena with Buffalo leg, Motswari Private Game Reserve. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

I really enjoyed my time and the experience at Motswari and will definitely be back.

Wildlife Photography Hides

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Getting close to non-habituated wildlife in natural surroundings requires an intimate knowledge of the subject, extensive field craft skills and lots and lots of patience, often in changeable weather.

Of course this is all part of the challenge of being a wildlife photographer and when all the elements come together, it’s extremely rewarding.

However, in recent years, a number of photographers have committed themselves to providing the rest of us with additional opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with wildlife by providing purpose built professional hides for hire in a number of UK locations and with a variety of subjects.

Nature Photography Hides is one such company and is my preferred choice. The company was set up by Danny Green and Mark Hancox about four years ago and has become extremely popular.

I recently spent a day at their female kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) hide in Worchestershire and below are some of the results.

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel using moss to preen.Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel using moss to preen. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel preening. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel preening. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

And then in typical UK style the weather changed from nice bright white clouds to rain and at one point, hail. This is where hides really come in to their own, providing a steady and sturdy platform to continue to work from, as long as you have a willing subject of course.

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel in driving rain feeding on a field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel in driving rain feeding on a field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel using wet post to preen. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel using wet post to preen. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

The majority of us would love to have our own permanent hides set up, especially to ensure a element of originality, but the reality is that it takes a lot of investment, in time more then anything, to coax a subject to the point that it makes an appearance on daily basis. It can take a couple of years or more to get to the stage where you have a workable and reliable site.

For those of us that are not full-time professionals, and have limited free time, professionally run solutions such as Nature Photography Hides are a viable option for getting our wildlife photography fix.

Apple announces third gen iPAD

Apple today announced the launch of its third generation iPad, creatively called the New iPad! Don’t know why it’s not being called the iPad3 or iPad HD. Maybe Apple don’t own the domains!!

Confirmed new features are a long awaited retina display, iSight Camera, 1080p HD video recording, 4G and A5X chip with Quad core graphics.

I deliberately held off buying the previous two versions in the hope that Apple would eventually release an iPAD with a retina screen, like that in the iPhone 4. The new screen should really enhance the customer experience, not just for improved clarity in general web browsing but also in the presentation of image and video content allowing photographers to really show off their portfolios to clients in all their glory.

Battery life will remain unchanged: 10 hours total, and 9 hour battery life on 4G.

The device weighs 1.4 pounds and is 9.4mm thick but this won’t make it any less mobile.

Launch date in the UK is 16 March (apart from Belgium with a launch date a week later for some reason) and with no change in the pricing structure.

All in all not such a huge upgrade package for owners of the current iPad2, but for first time tablet buyers it’s pretty sweet.

I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the New iPad ….

Lightroom 4 to support video

Lightroom 4 will support native video, giving photographers the capability to play, trim and extract frames from video clips shot on DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones.

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/whats-new-in-lightroom-4-beta/working-with-dslr-video/

Sharing what I first saw from freeroamingphotography.com