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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:48 pm 
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Caught up again........ :wink:

Wow you had some great days!!! And really nice sightings!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Love all the extra bits in your trip report, really interesting reading!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:06 pm 
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Day 4 continued...

As I continued on my merry way, I looked again for some unique shots of common sightings. The springbok had little bundles bouncing around with a mixture of excitement and trepidation - one moment they were running amok, the next hiding behind Mommy. This made for some attempts at family scenes (a general note to anyone looking to get into stock photography, family and related issues make for successful sales). But, I had to get the timing right to make sure that I could get a special moment, that split second that is the difference between a record shot, a nice shot, and an emotional shot - it is all in the pose and interplay between the family members. If ever you wondered why it is said that photographers need patience, this is one example: having found the subject, I now needed to wait with a plan, and wait, until the angles were right and the eyes of the subjects spoke to my viewfinder. Click. While the next few examples are of the same animals (think they were exactly the same, but certainly the same herd and without me changing my position in the car - same window, same angle, same idea - the emotions in them are not identical: each looks to offer something different. While browsing, think how each makes you feel, as in the initial unplanned reaction (of course if you are not really into photography, this exercise is probably futile - the idea is to think what you want to see, but to capture the moments that make you feel something; by practicing seeing and feeling at the same time, as corny as that sounds, one can learn to practice when to push the shutter button and thereby get an image captured that later will take you back to the wonder/amazement/happiness/fun/shock/whatever of the sighting, rather than a mere reminder of what species you spotted). Wow, that was a longwinded aside, apologies, but I like long sentences (but I am not allowed to use such in my real job).
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Ostriches are a pain. The amount of contrast present makes it a real challenge to get them well exposed while keeping detail in the feathers, particularly the males. Anyhow, when I get it better I will share how, for here, I was just looking for a nice record and hopefully a noteworthy pose. Take an extra 2 minutes with a subject and look for something different; the guy with the same camera as you in the bakkie right next to you may have the same pictures, but if you wait, sometimes, something special or at least different, happens that will make your shot more special and better to share or look at yourself later).
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Follow my solo KTP photographic and birding TRAVEL TALE

Photograph all moments of beauty not to forget, but treasure them in your heart to remember


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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:54 am 
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Awesome MxM! I don't mind long sentences! :thumbs_up:

Beautiful Springbok pictures .... love the little one! :clap: :clap:

Great shot of the Ostrich too! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:03 am 
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Beautiful sightings and pictures that you only get in KTP :clap: :clap: .

Thanks for sharing MxM :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:58 am 
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very nice pictures, MxM :clap: :clap:

looking forward to seeing more of the lion and honey badger and cheetah :popcorn:

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KTP 23.09.-08.10.2014
TR KTP 2013 In search of honey badger, porcupine and whistling rat
TR KTP 2012 It is almost time to go back to KTP
TR KNP 2013 Gatita's KNP - will we visit a green park again? March 2013


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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:29 pm 
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Love the ostrich photos!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:28 pm 
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I have just heard that one of the images from this trip has been selected as a finalist in the Getaway Gallery! Yeay. My first competition finalist placing.

The image in question is from Nossob, a few days on in this report. Let's just say that life vs death is explained in one frame.

Thanks for the comments and following until now, I appreciate the efforts. I will keep the pages coming now that we can move forward. Oh, but there is still so much to share on this trip!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:16 pm 
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Congratulations MxM. Will hold thumbs for you. Looking forward to see this photo.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:37 pm 
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Day 4 continued

Next up came the excitement. I almost want to share the 3 sightings at once. But they were around 20 min apart, so I will divide the feedback accordingly. Next came my first lion sighting, at Kij kij (after this came 2 cheetahs and a honey badger with little else between the 3 sightings).

But oh boy this sighting was the ultimate, I mean the real thing. Well, eventually. There I was, minding my own business driving north in the Nossob river bed, when I saw something large lying on the left of the road, so I slowed down. As I got closer I noticed that it was a male lion. Yeay. Finally, it was as if my KTP trip had arrived. What an amazing sight. However, he was lying facing away from me, but at least in the sun and not under a tree. I took about 3 photos after which I realised that they were really boring shots of the back of a lion, whoopy. Looking ahead to the waterhole (about 400 m ahead), I noticed that there were 2 cars (or maybe 3, not sure anymore), so I made my way to the traffic jam to see what I was missing as I was certain they must all have seen the giant lying not 20 m from the road.

As I got the waterhole, I noticed that there was nothing. Well, there was one thing, Hannes Lochner and his super kitted out photo vehicle. So I decided that I would pretend like I knew what I was doing and wait for the big guy to make his way to the water, surely, at some point, even if only midday, he would walk to the water, or do something. Added to that, if the legend that is Hannes Lochner is waiting here, it cannot be such a bad idea.

Biding my time I took some shots of doves flying off the rim of the waterhole (knowing that I would later take many shots of a more special nature at CQ while at Nossob, but hey, practice is good). Next thing I notice, and I do have a new prescription so I should have seen this much earlier, as if out of nowhere, I saw a lioness walking to the water. (The collar was removed in one of the shots, something I rarely do in Photoshop, but this is not a competition type photo, so I prefered to take it out using the healing tool.)
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Thinking that I would take a winning shot that is almost ironic with its focal point, I focused on the background music to the concert that is the lion.

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But then, something amazing happened. All attention swung to the other side of me, no longer was I shooting through the passenger window, as in the distance, as in 400 m of distance, I saw the male lion start approaching.
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You will notice that I have tried to make a number of different crops given the surroundings and action. Have no misconceptions about it, I took hundreds of images in this 20 minutes of magic. The approach of the king was slow but purposeful, the wind blowing in his magical locks, a large black mane and large paws made him a prime specimen. Note also how I have tried to capture him when I can see his eyes and when there is either a sense of movement (shown by the position of his legs/paws) or something different as a behavioural shot.

He kept getting closer... O did I mention, he gave a huge yawn? Like seriously, how perfectly is this sighitng going so far? There were now about 2 extra cars, but there is so much space at Kij kij that we were all assured a spot.
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Seriously, how are those for a set of teeth.

I hope you are not bored by the lion pics yet? Not only are there many left from this sighting, but many other sighting to come.

As an aside, I was using my 500 + 1.4 (on the 1D4) for these shots. Later I switched to the 70-200 lens (on the 60D) as his majesty was getting very close. While he was drinking, I also removed the 1.4 from the 500 and shot with the lens directly on the body - this is the only time on the trip that I changed lenses in the field - I closed all windows, waited for the dust to settle, obviously the aircon was off as the car was off; I set up all that I wanted to move and had the caps for the converter ready - 20 s and I was done, 1.4 removed, 500 replaced and caps on the converter. Btw, please, please please, when changing lenses in the field, switch off the body and wait like 30 s for the charge on the sensor to dissipate as this will lower the static forces that will suck dust in.

Forgot to mention - once the male stated moving, although I had closed the passenger window, I have less than no idea what the lioness was doing.

Btw, the ultimate image from KTP is still coming, and it was at this sighting - the stare of the beast...

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Follow my solo KTP photographic and birding TRAVEL TALE

Photograph all moments of beauty not to forget, but treasure them in your heart to remember


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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:30 pm 
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Stephan31, hilda, barryels, lion queen, gatita - thanks for your feedback. I am still enjoying sharing my experiences on this platform and your comments make it more worthwhile/fun!

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Photograph all moments of beauty not to forget, but treasure them in your heart to remember


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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:37 am 
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Stunning Lion sighting MxM! Your pictures are outstanding! :clap: :clap:

Looking forward to "the stare of the beast"! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:32 am 
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Amazing pictures of the King :clap: :clap: .

There is just nothing more beautiful than a lion amongst the red dunes :dance: .

Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:46 pm 
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More than breathtaking shots here, Matt :big_eyes: :mrgreen:

They are all wonderful :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:03 pm 
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I was planning on more images, but I think that page 16 is full.

So I will write about something that I think does not get the right consideration or proper open discussion. KNP vs KTP for different people.

Before I begin, I refer specifically to KNP when it is not flooding and KTP when conditions are favourable to a visit (roads not in flood). Also, I drive a mid-range SUV (manual CRV 2.4 petrol) and stay in chalets.

There is much said, to what I read anyhow, that KTP is the ultimate and best place to go, no question. But it is not that simple. It is amazing, for sure! The bird life is of a specialised region making it good for those looking for some specials and the flurry of raptors, from the cute pygmy falcon to the absurd looking Boeing of a lappet-faced vulture, keep even the least avid birder impressed. That said, KNP has amazing variety, more bird in total (it would appear) and many are of the colourful persuasion. Thus, birdingwise, I call it a tie.

In terms of animals, I enjoy seeing zebra, elephant, possibly rhino, buffalo and a host of other mammals. However, for predators, especially lions and cheetah, well, there is no comparison, KTP all the way! So here it is a personal choice, and I feel that both win if alternated (although if lions are your focus, this conclusions is moot).

In terms of crowds, I found the 2 similar, although I go exclusively out of holiday seasons. There was a surprising amount of traffic in KTP, especially around Nossob. I attribute this to the amount of desirable road (based both on road available and areas of the road most liked, for example, Nossob to Bedinkt stretch - always packed with vehicles). In the mornings, at Nossob the queue would dissipate and at 50 km/h rush to either Kwang or CQ, which is fine, I guess, but not when I was expecting a tranquil desert. Where there were major sightings (especially two of my lion sightings and the leopards) there were major traffic issues. In Kruger, this is much the same for the southern regions, but north of Satara I did not remember this issue. I could take many a drive and not see anyone for at least half an hour... That said, I expect traffic in KNP.

The road conditions, in my limited KTP experience, were similar - some KNP roads are also really rough or badly corrugated. Although, and dont hate me, sometimes I like a tar road, less looking at the road when you are the only person in the car, and more time looking for things at which to point a camera.

In terms of accommodation choice, sorry, KNP all the way. Well, unless you fork out for the wilderness camps in KTP which offer something special. But choice of levels and prices of accommodation makes it easier to have fancier parts of a trip balance with simpler parts to balance a trip budget, or use a cheaper few nights to make money available for a night drive. I did like the accommodation I had in KTP though. I just think that having the option to have a chalet with no private bathroom but rather requiring the use of an ablution block at nearly half the price makes sense to me. Maybe not to others. But it is nice to have options. So see this more as yeay for KNP than boo for KTP.

In terms of shops, KNP. Done. (Please do not see this as a negative criticism on KTP, the location and circumstances, especially of Nossob, make the simpler shop necessary. But it is like comparing two people running the 100 metres and thinking something odd of Bolt beating the u/14 colours meet second place guy - KNP just has the ability to have better shops. KTP does their best and a good job under the circumstances).

In terms of location, KNP wins. Let me explain. Were you to need a doctor, dentist, hospital, Honda garage, you know, it is easier if you are in KNP, the southern region especially.

Now for 3 big deciders - general feel and family compatibility and photography.

For variety and the number of really good images, KNP. For winning shots of predators, KTP. Birds and green backgrounds, KNP; new bird species and Autumn backgrounds, KTP. Landscapes, duh, KTP all the way, especially when there are some clouds. Startrails or night photography, KTP. So, here it depends on what you want. For the less serious, I would rather recommend KNP as you get to practice more and use the camera more. For someone looking for a shot he does not yet have or wants a good clean foreground and soft background far behind the subject (which will most likely be a lion), KTP. So I call this a tie. I like both.

For family, well, KNP I think. KTP can be hot, which if you are from the Boland, does not matter. KTP can be cold, which if you are from the Karoo or Secunda, does not matter. KTP can be boring - smaller kids may not like this, but boy, the excitement of seeing so many lions up close and their first cheetah (my SO is still hoping to see her first cheetah), perhaps worth the long duller hours. So it depends on your family, their age and interests and personalities. I, personally, do not like the idea of kids under 6 around the scorpions and snakes and super giant murderous killer malevolent evil wasps of KTP. Although, there are also mambas and mosquitoes in KNP. I would prefer KNP for the dangerous critters though, personal choice. The ground squirrels in camp with many points for KTP while Letaba's bushbuck wins something back for KNP, but the squirrels are so amazingly cute I would give it to them rather. So, until my little one can handle understanding that getting near a scorpion means an emergency drive of much speed to Upington, I go KNP in the winter and remain indoors from like 1900.

General feel, hmmm, all will say something subjective. I love KNP, always have, it is the original family holiday place for me. It is where I nurtured a love for taking pictures. KNP is holiday for me. KNP is also closer than KTP for most of SA people. But the unmistakeable silence and serenity of KTP is, well, KTP - English has yet to discover a word for it. Driving along at 30 in both, window down, 2 hours after sunrise: KNP is filled with anticipation of what will happen next; KTP, who cares, I am in KTP, this quite open calm land that is KTP. So for me, 2 out of 3 visits will be KTP, if just about me. There is just something about the dry heat mixed with the dunes mixed with the quiet mixed with nothing, lots of nothing, mixed with anticipation - the anticipation in KTP is for something mindblowing to happen next, or perhaps something really seemingly insignificant to catch your attention for that day whereas KNP is anticipation of what I will see next.

So I guess that is it. KTP is feeling. KNP is seeing. You choose. I will stick with 2 of 3 in KTP.

The idea of this long summary (prefer this to thesis) is that there is nothing wrong with being a KNP person in a world that seems to tout KTP. KTP is great if the weather is less of an issue, driving extreme distances (both to get there and in the park) is no worry, lower volume but higher value sightings are sought, no medical or other emergency needs nearby are of concern and if you like open areas with calendar vistas every 5 minutes. KNP is great if you are looking for less stress (knowing that if you forget tomatoes you can get; a dentist is an hour away), greater choices for accommodation types and costs, starting a bird list or have kids that like seeing lots of animals, even if it is just to tally the number of impala sightings on a day (I, on 1 trip to KNP, diarised EVERY sighting, with time of day, what was seen and how many, for EVERY sighting - kids like these things; guess I did it as i couldnt drive anyhow being like 12).

So choose your preferred one, but try both, then decide on a third visit. But dont let others convince you that one is so better than the other that only one is worth your leave. Btw, for the sake of brevity, haha, I did not include in the discussion places like Addo ENP, the Karoo NP and MZNP which are all seriously worth visiting.

Have a pleasant weekend and start checking availability at a new park for your next holiday.

John

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Follow my solo KTP photographic and birding TRAVEL TALE

Photograph all moments of beauty not to forget, but treasure them in your heart to remember


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 Post subject: Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:28 pm 
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wonderful pictures of the yawning lion, MxM :clap: :clap:

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KTP 23.09.-08.10.2014
TR KTP 2013 In search of honey badger, porcupine and whistling rat
TR KTP 2012 It is almost time to go back to KTP
TR KNP 2013 Gatita's KNP - will we visit a green park again? March 2013


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