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 Post subject: Morkel777(A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure-June 2010)Sep11
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:35 pm 
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I have been putting this off, mostly because I was behind on my trip reports for trips prior to this, and being the peculiar person I am, I tend to want to do everything in sequence as it played out in real life :D :doh: :big_eyes:

We had fallen in love with the Kgalagadi again after our September 2009 trip...and didn't hesitate to book another as soon as we could, and this time opting to stay a bit longer...

The itinerary was as follows:

1 & 2 June - Twee Rivieren (chalet)
3 June - Grootkolk (looong drive, I know)
4 & 5 June - Gharagab
6 & 7 June - Nossob (camping)
8 & 9 June - MataMata (camping)
10 & 11 June - Rooiputs (camping - we wanted to experience this side of the park for a change too)

We set off on the 1st of June with great anticipation. I had planned to leave home at about 3am to make some headway...but by 12am I was wide awake and decided to let the wheels start rolling and rely on Wimpy coffee to keep me going on the way 8)

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:14 am 
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Day 1 (part 1):Twee Rivieren to Leeuwdril and back

We arrived in Twee Rivieren around 1pm after stopping in Upington for a brunch and some additional supplies.

After settling into our chalet and lying down for a short siesta, I chased SO up and we got ready for our first afternoon drive of the trip...we decided to head towards Leeuwdril as the new road was now open up to the waterhole.

Our first sighting was a Secretary Bird...

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Followed by the obligatory springbok...

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Close to Leeuwdril we found our first Crimson-breasted shrike, a bird I am always happy to see.

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It was a quiet drive, and on the way back the most interesting sighting was the same secretary bird from earlier.

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We sat around at Samevloeiing to see if anything of note would happen at sunset, but it was also quiet apart from the normal doves hanging around.

After arriving back in camp, we made our first fire and got the braai on! :whistle:

I linked up with Hannes Lochner who was coincidentally staying in a chalet close by for the night. We had a good chat about the park and about photography and his work. He informed me about a female cheetah with 4 cubs who had been seen the previous day on the Leeuwdril road and apparently was frequenting the area. I made it my mission to find her and her cubs the next day!!

...and boy, what a day it would turn out to be...
:thumbs_up: :whistle: :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:36 pm 
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Thanks so much for joining the train that takes you back on this trip with me Flying Cheetah, Gavin, Flutterby, icurrie, Elsa, Lion queen, Meandering Mouse, billyf, PNF and Katja :D :clap:

Day 2 (part 1):Twee Rivieren to Leeuwdril and back

I decided to stick to the Leeuwdril road in the hope of spotting the family of 5 cheetahs...so our first stop would be Samevloeiing anyway...

The air was crisp on this winter morning, and the sun was just beginning to peak over the dunes. We were first out of the camp, and the cold seemed to have held many back in their beds.

We reached Samevloeiing and the waterhole was eerily quiet...but as I looked across the plain on the opposite end in the direction of Botswana...was that a springbok coming for a drink? It was so far, but something in the way it moved told me otherwise!!

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Cheetah, baby!! :dance: :big_eyes:

He was coming closer at a fast stroll...I assumed he would come to drink...

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As he came closer to our vehicle he increased his pace...

In the excitement I placed myself so that I could get the morning light nicely on him, but he changed direction and I didn't bother moving the car again.

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And then he was past us...and it looked like he was not going to drink at Samevloeiing! :(

He was in a hurry, and half-stalked for a few paces before trotting up the Auob.

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And then he was gone...and we were the only car there! :dance:

I thought he would carry on up the Auob and decided to get on the dune road in the hopes of him ending up at Houmoed.

This herd of gemsbok were soaking up the morning sun:

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We got across the dune road to the Auob river...but no sign of the cheetah...we waited for a few minutes, and then decided to head back to the Nossob to search for the other cheetahs.

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We stopped for a few minutes at the Leeuwdril waterhole, with some doves flying about but nothing else. The moon was still out...

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On the way back, we saw 2 cars parked! Nothing around, but then the one driver tells us we JUST missed the 5 cheetahs! They had come across the dunes and chased the ostriches I posted earlier, then disappeared over the Rooiputs access road :( :evil: aaargh!

They also showed us an African Wild Cat which also crossed the road and was heading that way.

Image (this was very far!)

We patrolled the road up and down in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the cheetahs on the far side...

These were some of the animals/birds that shared the road with us:

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Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eaters:

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Wildebeest against red sand:

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Red Hartebeest:

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White-browed Sparrow-Weaver:

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Some LBJ (Little Brown Job - any takers on the ID here? I guess it's some kind of flycatcher?):

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By 11am we decided to head back to camp...no sign of the cheetah family. We knew they were still around here! Maybe they would come out of hiding in the afternoon??? :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:11 am 
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Wow thank you so much for the wonderful response and the small crowd that has built :dance: :thumbs_up:

Good to have you on board Fotomaljohan, Anne Catherine, Welsh_Ash, Pooky, Pumbaa, Norms, Tobieo, WillemK, Scouter... :clap:


Day 2 (part 2):Twee Rivieren to Leeuwdril and back (AGAIN!! :big_eyes: )

So I was obsessed with finding that cheetah mother with 4 cubs (we found out later from Gus Mills that her name was Charlize and she had reared the cubs mostly on the Botswana side in the dunes). After taking a nap in the hottest part of the day, I was up again by 13h30 and promptly chased SO out of bed and told her to get ready, we are heading out again in search of those cats! :| :doh:

The obvious choice was to patrol the road to Leeuwdril and back, particularly where they disappeared into the dunes, and hope to spot them. We started driving very slowly and scanned every shrub, rock and tree... :hmz: :sniper:

The road was quiet at the start. Eventually, when we were about 5km from the Leeuwdril waterhole, we came across a strange sight: 2 lone springbok lambs...no herd in sight :hmz:
I pointed out to SO that this is strange and warrants some investigation. Were they abandoned?

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We stayed with them for a few minutes, but nothing strange seemed to be going on. I decided I want to see if the cheetahs might notice them and target them...but there's always that nagging feeling that they might be thirsty and drinking at Leeuwdril. We decided to quickly check out the waterhole which was a few kilometers ahead and come right back here.

The waterhole, alas, was quiet. There was a lady parked there who had parked across the length of the available parking space with her camera in hand, so we decided to turn around. On the way back to the springboks we encountered a few ostriches, a Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk and a traveling jackal.

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We moved ahead again...and as we came around the next bend...something was moving in the road...SPOTS!!! But what were they doing???

:big_eyes:

Would you believe it...they had caught one of the springboks!!! And I did not follow my initial hunch to stay with the lambs!!! :wall: :wall: :wall: :doh: :doh: :doh:
(note to self: LESSON LEARNED! Always stick to your hunch when it comes to nature) :rtm:

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Mom was still choking the springbok! It couldn't have happened more than 2-3minutes before we got around the bend... :evil:

I was groaning as I realised I could have photographed an entire hunt! And the mother probably let the cubs play with it for a while before finishing it off... :wall:

My SO told me to focus on the opportunity at hand and not bemoan what could have been...wise words...

We were the only vehicle around as far as the eye could see...this was our sighting! (at least for the moment) :dance: :cam:

I was trembling with excitement! :big_eyes: :tongue:

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Charlize glanced around quickly to see if there was any danger, other predator or scavenger approaching...then tucked in herself...

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As soon as it looked like they got comfortable and totally focused on their meal...I risked moving closer very slowly...

I will stop this episode here...many many more pictures to come! But they might not all be for sensitive viewers, so be warned :rtm: :naughty: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:31 am 
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Thanks for joining and following along everyone! Next installment ready
:dance: :cam:


Day 2 (part 3):Leeuwdril cheetah kill

So as the cheetahs started feeding I crept forward slowly so as not to disturb them, but to get in a better position photographically... :cam: :cam: :whistle:

I won't be adding too much text here, the photos should speak for themselves...they finished the whole kill right next to our vehicle :big_eyes: :clap: so I focused on close-ups, and eventually dispersed into the surrounding area which made wider angles possible.

The most other vehicles with us at one time was about 5 or so (gotta love the Kgalagadi, if this was around Satara or Skukuza it would have required a KNP official to direct traffic for 2 hours).

The light was challenging as they were in the shade of a tree, and on top of that the sun was setting behind them so I would be shooting into the sun.

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The cubs were very photogenic and cooperative. I avoided too many photos of Charlize because I detest how the radio collar makes them look :? yet I know how valuable it is in the research and monitoring of their numbers and health. :hmz:

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And a mug shot of a supermom (raising 4 cubs to this age in the Kalahari is a super feat indeed! :clap: )

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Two of the cubs succeeded in 'stealing' a leg each and headed in different directions to go and enjoy their 'prize' :thumbs_up:

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The light was getting nice now as it was later in the afternoon...

I think these are enough pictures for now...more to come in the next installment! :wink: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:22 pm 
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Thank you kindly Delene and Norms! :shock: :D

Did I mention they eat blisteringly fast?? Obviously for fear of losing their kill to other predators or to strong scavengers like hyenas...

Here is a short video clip taken at the sighting with my DSLR showing how they gorged into the buck...NOT for the faint-hearted but take note I did not adjust the speed here - this is AS SHOT :big_eyes: :)


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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:14 pm 
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Thanks folks!
:dance:
I love all the new travelers we have on the journey with us...thanks for joining and hang on to your seatbelts! :thumbs_up:


Day 2 (part 4):Leeuwdril cheetah kill

If you don't mind, I will keep boring you with images from this sighting (I am also using this TR to filter through the images and delete those I know I'll never end up using). Please tell me to stop if you are getting bored :wink: :tongue:

I loved the spot pattern of the cheetahs around this cub, and thought a black-and-white or sepia conversion would do it justice:

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These shots were taken with an ultra-wide-angle lens and will show you how close they were to the car...

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The cubs were now starting to interact with each other a bit more...

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This one wanted a piece of its sibling's meal...

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These 2 moved a little way off and started grooming each other. It was difficult to decide where to focus my camera with everything going on around me! :big_eyes: :hmz: :cam:

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The strong back-light was challenging photographically but also provided some nice opportunity for moody images.

"Can I have some too? Pleeeaaaase?"

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As the sun started to set, Charlize got up and moved towards the dunes. The cubs soon followed suit and they disappeared from sight.

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We sat for a moment and just basked in the enjoyment of such a truly magnificent sighting... :shock: :clap: :k

Yet we couldn't sit long...the Twee Rivieren gate wasn't going to stay open much longer...so we moved on towards camp. After a sighting like this you almost feel like you could pack up and go home - but then you realise you still have 10 days to spend in this magnificent place and you feel even more rejuvenated to head out again the next day... :lol:

Well, we honestly thought our day was done, it couldn't get any better than this and we probably wouldn't find anything on the way back to camp...

...and were we WRONG!! :hmz: :whistle: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:14 pm 
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Thanks Pumbaa!

Pumbaa wrote:
What could be better than this cheetah sighting


:hmz: Well, very few things can beat this sighting...but what I was trying to say was the "day" was not finished yet! :thumbs_up: :wink:

Day 2 (part 5):Leeuwdril to Twee Rivieren

We started to head back to camp. Nothing much seemed to be going on for the most part. We got so Samevloeiing...spent 5 minutes but it was 'deathly' quiet... :tongue:

Heading back towards Twee Rivieren from Samevloeiing - we saw some cars stopped up ahead...which direction were they looking??

Left!

No...surely not ANOTHER one?? :big_eyes: :clap: :mrgreen:

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By now the sun was gone behind the dunes so the light was fading fast. This was a lone female cheetah :hmz: .

She was staring intently at something on the dune to the right...

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I scanned the dune...a steenbok was grazing, oblivious of the cheetah! Were we going to see that kill now?? :doh: :popcorn:

She started to stalk...

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Eventually she crossed the road between the vehicles and started to stalk up the dune...

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At the next moment - the steenbok must've caught her scent! She gave chase for a brief moment but the steenbok was away over the ridge.

What an exciting end to the day!

We drove into Twee Rivieren and settled down at our chalet. I lit the fire and put some lamb chops on the braai, satisfied with a wonderful first full day in KTP!

How awesome was that? 3 separate cheetah sightings in 1 day...7 individual cheetahs...
:dance: :mrgreen: :thumbs_up:

Stay tuned for 10 more days of Kgalagadi magic... :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:42 am 
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Thanks very much everyone.
Sorry for not speeding this along...it takes some time to work through the images and unfortunately I cannot do this all day long, although I want to :wink: :doh:


Day 3 (part 1):Twee Rivieren to Grootkolk

We got up early as we knew we had a stiff drive ahead of us! No spending too much time on small sightings - it was going to be a day of just enjoying driving in a wonderful place. :naughty:

Our day got started by a Wildebeest in awesome morning light...

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And eventually another one...loved how the light touched the grasses so went for B&W here...

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The road was very quiet this morning! No sign of our cheetahs... :cry:

This crimson-breasted shrike came out to console us...

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But this Verreaux's Eagle Owl paid no attention to us as it slept off the night's chaos...

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Anyone to help me with identifying this LBJ?? :hmz:
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Our first Lanner Falcon of the trip sat right next to the road:

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I hoped he would take off in a pleasing direction - but it was not to be...

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It seemed like it would be a "birds only" day... :|

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I wanted to drive the stretch between Kij Kij and Dikbaardskolk since this would be my only chance on this trip to see this area...

Northern Black Korhaan as we got onto the dune road from Auchterlonie to Kij Kij.

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We were still driving and enjoying the view...this dune road in particular has awesome scenery IMHO :P (with the red dunes and camelthorn trees) when all of a sudden I spotted ears! :big_eyes:

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Our first bat-eared foxes of the trip! 2 of them in the late morning sun...they were quite shy though :cry:

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After that shot they moved away in the long grass... :( ...but we were happy to have spotted them!

...to be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:00 pm 
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Morkel, I hope you don't mind but I was so intrigued with your LBJ that you had asked for help with, Image that I posted it in the Bird ID thread and the answer came back from one of our experts

Niall wrote:
It is the subcoronatus subspecies of Common Fiscal. They have a white eye stripe, and this is probably a young bird, hence the brown edges to the primaries.


I have never heard of this before so definitely something learnt today! :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:43 pm 
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Thanks very much for the comments and compliments, folks!!

Elsa wrote:
Morkel, I hope you don't mind but I was so intrigued with your LBJ that you had asked for help with, that I posted it in the Bird ID thread and the answer came back from one of our experts

Niall wrote:
It is the subcoronatus subspecies of Common Fiscal. They have a white eye stripe, and this is probably a young bird, hence the brown edges to the primaries.


Thanks very much Elsa - very interesting! I am very interested in birds but to put it quite bluntly, I would rather bang my head against a rough brick wall than make an in-depth study of LBJ identification methods :wink: :lol:

Tomorrow is my birthday :dance: :mrgreen: so I better get another post in before I get sucked in by all the celebrations and activities :think:


Day 3 (part 2):Twee Rivieren to Grootkolk

Next we saw a secretary bird...

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The dune road delivered very little after the bat-eared foxes but I still enjoyed the scenery. As we turned north from Kij Kij towards Melkvlei (and eventually, Nossob) we saw some wildebeest and lots of general game.

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At some point we stopped next to a massive herd of springboks. The next moment, they got a massive fright and started running! Was it a predator nearby??

I was hoping for a chance like this as I wanted to capture a motion-blurred shot of them running using the panning technique with a slow shutter speed.

What do you think of my results??

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They stopped suddenly...and I saw what had startled them...a lone black-backed jackal that came over the far dune! :lol: :wall:

This piece of road is hopefully up for the next phase of upgrading as it REALLY is badly
c-o-r-r-r-r-r-u-g-a-t-e-d!! :wall: :big_eyes:

We stopped at Dikbaardskolk for a quick meal of boerewors rolls (I had grilled the wors the previous night on the braai).

Here's moi enjoying the lunchtime!

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The mongooses were up for a little photography too...(or maybe they wanted in on the lunch?? :hmz: )

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When we got back in the car to move on...it wouldn't start!! :doh: :redface:
Did the mongooses eat through my wiring??
Did the heat fry my engine??
Thoughts of spending the night at Dikbaardskolk started moving through my mind...and the car still wouldn't start...
:big_eyes:

Eventually I did the "manly" thing and opened up the engine hood...only to see that my battery clamps were loose and dangling! The severe corrugations must've caused them to shake loose!! :rtm: :big_eyes:

Relieved, I put them back on the battery and turned the key...there was life...!!
And we were off...

Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk:

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This jackal looked like he wasn't enjoying the heat of the day!

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Close to Nossob we came across a flock (what IS the collective name for ostriches? "flock" sounds weird?) of ostriches who seemed to be doing the Macarena! In sync I tell you!

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We stopped over in Nossob for a quick ice-cream and to top up the petrol tank for the long drive north. We needed enough for the drive to Grootkolk, some driving around the next day and then for a 2-day trip back to Nossob via Gharagab. :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:31 pm 
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Thanks so much for the birthday wishes Bushbuddies, Pooky, Pumbaa, Katja, Flutterby & Micetta!!

:mrgreen: :thumbs_up:


Day 3 (part 3):Twee Rivieren to Grootkolk

We finished up in Nossob and pushed past, knowing it's still a fair way to Grootkolk.

Another juvenile goshawk:

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Loved the look of this line of wildebeest pushing forth toward water in this dry place...

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There certainly were massive herds of ungulates north of Nossob! Large herds of gemsbok, hartebeest and wildebeest were plentiful...yet where were the cats that surely would be following them? :hmz:

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We were quite surprised to find bat-eared foxes out at this time of day...far off into the riverbed...

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The trip north was not quiet, but certainly compared to the cheetahs of the previous day this day was not exciting at all up to this point. Lost of game though, as I mentioned.

As we got past Lijersdraai...I noticed a goshawk on the ground fluttering up...which could only mean one thing...HONEY BADGER!

He was very skittish so the moment I came closer with the vehicle he went off the road into the long grass :cry: :wall:

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He quickly disappeared from view...and we pressed on...

The light was starting to turn golden now...and in this light even a hartebeest looks handsome!

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Like I said...this kind of light just rocks with any subject! Wildebeest in golden AFTERNOON light (as opposed to this mornings one)...

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I just love this area with the dead camelthorn forests in the riverbed...

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As we approached the Grootkolk turnoff - lo and behold - a couple of kudus!

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As we turned off to the camp, the sun was already setting...

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We got to our unit just in time, and I immediately packed off the necessary and got the braai going! (Photo courtesy of SO :mrgreen: )

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...

Stay tuned...some photos of the Grootkolk night sky coming up!... :big_eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:30 pm 
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Thanks for all the comments, folks.

Tobieo wrote:
Morkel, it would appear as if you are enjoying (and get the best from) the equipment on the "other side" :twisted: stunning photo's and I am looking forward to some more. Please don't make us wait too long :naughty:


Thanks Tobie...these images were taken back in June 2010, still with my "old" Canon gear :D

Touareg wrote:
Morkel..great pics and narration as usual. We should start a business and do this full time. Enough passion for the bush and Kalahari between the two of us to go around to last a lifetime :D


Tell me where, when and how, Neal, and I am there!! :hmz: :dance:

...now...as promised...here are some photos of the amazing Grootkolk night sky. I took quite a few images of the Kalahari stars during the trip. These didn't come out so well due to the distance of that big tree by the waterhole (I prefer having some sort of foreground anchor for the milky way, which I then light up with my torch and do some "light painting" on :lol: )...but I can tell you there are some better ones to come later in this TR :mrgreen: :whistle:

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The waterhole was very quiet that night...except for a herd of gemsbok that were lingering about. Not a sound was heard and it was very peaceful...unlike certain "other" people's nights at Grootkolk :evil: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Thanks again for the kind feedback, everyone...glad you liked the star photos as there certainly are more to come!

WillemK wrote:
Just one question and I hope you can remember the details as these photos were taken in 2010 and if you are willing to share it with us :redface: :

The Milkyway photos and painting with light - the setting of your camera especially the shutter speed. As you'll see in my trip report, I also tried painting with light (the famous tree at Bitterpan) but I kept my shutter speed was too long, hence the stars are "stripes" on the photos. :wall:

Sorry for the techinal questions but I just like your style of photography and me being a newbie at photography - just want to learn. :cam:

Can't wait for the better ones!

Thanks


No problem, Willem. The photos were taken in 2010 but I have the same process every time when taking nocturnal photos.

Remember there are 2 types of nocturnal landscape photos...so-called "startrails" and what I call "starscapes". Startrails typically involve long exposures with the camera pointed to the north or south pole. This generates a whirlpool effect due to the earth's rotation around its axis. You experienced some of it in your photos, it seems. Short startrails are rarely satisfactory and more often than not you need to have an exposure of 2.5 hours or so to get the most out of it. In the northern hemisphere they typically point the camera towards the north using the North Star, and in the southern hemisphere we typically use the Southern Cross to determine polar south and then shoot in that direction.

"Starscapes" are my favourite because in this type of nocturnal landscape photo you aim to show the detailed night sky and Milky Way against some kind of landscape. This can be tricky because you need to use high ISO settings on your camera (if your camera can handle it) and also you need to prevent the earth's rotations from playing a part. You need to have an ultra-wide angle lens to get as many stars in the frame as possible, but then you also need to understand how your focal length influences the effect the earth's rotation has on the final image.

Through complicated maths (which I will not go into here), there has been a resulting formula with which to determine the maximum shutter speed at which the stars will begin developing 'trails'. For most ultra-wide angles (10mm-24mm) you need to try and keep the shutter speed to below 30s. I prefer using 25s so I know the stars will be relatively "sharp" and not slightly blurry due to the earth's rotation. You also need to have a lens that can shoot at a very wide aperture, preferably f2.8 (there are expensive), f3.5 or f4. Wide angle lenses normally can achieve sharp landscape results at these apertures, provided you don't focus on something too close to the lens.

My settings for these shots were as follows:

Canon 7D
Canon 10-22mm USM lens @ 10mm zoom (16mm effective focal length if the 7D's sensor is taken into consideration).
f3.5
25s-30s shutter speed
ISO-2500 to ISO-3200 depending on the conditions.

The light painting I did on the tree here is not ideal. The tree was a bit far...in the shots that will still come from the rest of this trip I will give you a better idea how the illumination should look. I normally bounce the flashlight off my hand and then use my hand to selectively paint the tree or rock or whatever I chose to use as a foreground interest.

I hope this helps? Shout if something sounds Latin! :D :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: A Simply Epic Kgalagadi Adventure - June 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:39 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Pleasure, folks!

Touareg wrote:
Morkel. Thanks for taking the time to explain the startrails and stars capes in plain English. I will definitely give it a go in December in Kgalagadi. :thumbs_up:


You better come show some results, Neal! :hmz: :cam:

Day 4 (part 1):Around Grootkolk

We awoke to the glorious morning sounds and light of Grootkolk...had some coffee...checked out the waterhole which was quiet...and decided to do a quick drive before coming back to pack up. We had to move to Gharagab today where we would be spending 2 nights.

Right out of the camp to the north we came across a herd of springbok grazing in this lovely part of the Nossob riverbed.

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At Geinab waterhole there were a few hartebeest grazing and drinking.

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I got a stinking feeling in my stomach that we might be missing something at Grootkolk - so we decided to head back there and pack up.

Friends of ours who were joining us for the rest of the trip were coming up from Urikaruus and we had to spend some time driving down to Polentswa waterhole to await their arrival there before going up to Gharagab.

At the waterhole there were no mammals, but large flocks of laughing doves were milling about and quenching their thirst. I saw a Lanner Falcon far to the left of our cabin, sitting in a tree. I hoped for some Lanner action...and got it! :dance:

If you've ever been to Grootkolk, you can appreciate how much I had to crop these images since the waterhole isn't exactly right in front of the units.

The falcon swooped past our hut and made several passes at the doves, who flocked together to cause confusion for the raptor.

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A dove was actually hit here, but it managed to escape unscathed!

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I captured a few frames as the Lanner returned unsuccessfully.

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He tried a few more times...but no success so I guess he went through the day hungry...I wasn't going to, and wolfed down a few rusks and a piece of fruit before packing the car and heading south...

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