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MxM's solo photographic and birding tour. KTP, Oct/Nov. '13

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MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:59 pm

Finished my test of my new 6D today. Happy with high ISO performance (3200 compares to 400 on 1D4!) and overall IQ. Got to learn how better to use the simpler autofocus (quite slow in comparison to a 1D4 - no surprise). Is a really nice light body! I plan on writing a practical review (low in normal figures, more real world use, especially from a car or morning walk, perspective) after my KTP trip, will better feel what it does by then.

Also got a monopod, going to need to learn some new technique here, feels weird to me still (somehow not the halfway between handheld and tripod as I was expecting). Also got 2 new 32 GB cards, so have enough space for my trip :hmz: I hope... (3x32 + 2x16)...

If there are any questions, particularly regarding practical use/feel/opinion of any of my equipment (or something similar), please let me know. If there is something that I should test to help someone decide on a body later, please post the questions here before I go that I can make sure to think of the answer as I use my gear.

Now to start packing - 3 work weeks, 2 weekends, it's almost here... :whistle:
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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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MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:30 pm

Today I realised that tinned food is more expensive that I thought, I now need to better think what food to take - this is not meant to be a major part of the trip, food is less important that cameras, so long as there is enough food, what it is should not matter. But at least I have 4 nights/days of standby left and 5 normal working days until Friday upon which I will go on leave (finally got it approved). Some family time before my solo trip will be good. Currently getting my other stock photos in order and on the sites as I am expecting 1 or 2 new ones after the trip. Just got accepted onto a nice new site, so uploading stuff there too, boy, jobs... At least the one that takes me to KTP is :thumbs_up:

So now I am planning on staying in VZR as I can leave a lot earlier the Friday. Already chosen the overnight stop and started scouting on google maps for sunset and sunrise photo locations.

Tomorrow I plan on getting the tyre compressor, puncture repair kit, muscle relaxers (guessing I may need them with my kit and don't want to sit with stress headaches in that sun). Oh, and I just ordered a spare battery for the one camera. Oh, and tomorrow I also need to get a second spare tyre and am going to put in a bigger car battery (taking the current smaller one as a spare). Boy, lots to do tomorrow. And I wanted this trip to be low on admin...

So 5 working days, 2 weekend days of meetings and plant inspections, 1 week off with the family, then I go :dance:
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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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MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:51 pm

5. Food planning

Well, I have worked on my menu. Don't hold your breath for something special though... I will not be saying what I will have one what days but rather what my overall planning is. I will decide on the day what to eat.

KTP section:
2 days oats (instant just add boiling water variety) + biltong
2 days pronutro (premixed with sugar and powdered milk) + biltong
2 days eat at 2R restaurant
2 days instant noodles and can (of something, either basil pesto tomato sauce, creamed corn, who knows) + biltong
3 days braai

Augrabies section:
1 or 2 nights in restaurant (depending on menu and how good the 1st night is)
1 or 2 days oats or noodles and sauce + biltong

A few thoughts on why I have done it this way:
- I am going for the photos and the enjoyment of the serenity, not to spend time making food.
- I am not really a big boozer (I understand that this is odd for us South Africans, but as I am going alone, it is just weird to have a drink by myself - and no, I am going to be alone for a while so mixing with others is not really on my planned list of activities. On the other hand, I may put a single malt it, if there is place in the coolbox, just in case at Grootkolk I get all googly-eyed about my surroundings and want a celebratory nightcap).
- I enjoy food, eat a lot of it, but much of the time it is there to sustain me not entertain me.
- All biltong and meat will be bought at the relevant park shops - I like to support them. I understand that there may not be a huge selection, but as I have not predecided selection, anything I find will be good. Also, we do not really get venison this way so anything I can find will work. If I wanted chicked or pork I would take it myself rather than complain that a shop does not stock my special stuffed chicken breasts.
- I like the SANParks restaurants. Particularly the venison on the menus. I know many have different opinions, but while KNP was not great, Addo was decent, but boy, MZNP and Karoo NP were beyond amazing! The service was prompt and friendly, the menu varied with some really interesting dishes, there was lots of local style food (not just cheeseburgers, but a sweet mutton curry for example), the prices were decent (particularly when you take the amount of expected traffic through a restaurant that is not open to the public from outside the park at night, cost of labour this far out of normal civilisation, cost of getting all the ingredients to these parks - and when I talk of cost it is both money and effort), the quality was good, and most of all, for the restaurants run by SANParks, the animals end up with the benefit. Ok, plus then I don't need to pack the food, carry the food, cook the food or clean up afterwards.
- I really enjoy cereal. I don't really eat it at home these days as I get up and go straight to work to be there at 0710 these days, not going to waste time eating when I could be sleeping.

Also, I take lots of little snacks with me. My dear mother made a huge care package with some treats, including my favourite nougat (I know I have mentioned it before, but this is some special nougat!). Along with the car package, I take lots of not-so-messy sweets, like jelly sweets and other items that remind me of my childhood from where my love for SANParks started. My SO usually packs special little containers with a different selection for a day's drive each evening before, but as I am going alone, I will just start with one packet and move on to the next. As biltong and droewors are so insanely expensive here, I will buy lots of it to support the animals (not for me, it is all for the animals, somehow) and eat as I drive or sit at waterholes.

So, now that that is decided, I can start to focus on the :cam:

John
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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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MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:49 pm

Only 5 more hours at work tomorrow, then I am free. 1 week to relax and then this time next week I will have packed all I plan to take in the dining room ready for the off at 0420.

Have printed my bird lists, packed my daily itineraries, printed the confirmation letters for both Augrabies and KTP. Got my spare 1D4 battery in the post today (found a new retailer online that has proven to be helpful and reliable, and cheap - pm me if you wish to know who), charged it, will test it the weekend.

Oh, as I will now not be working the morning before I leave, I will be able to make my preferred stopover. As they are having a staff function that night, I was requested, and have, ordered my supper already. Springbok shanks preceded by a garlic cheese roll and followed by malva pudding with custard and ice-cream. As the hotel's prices were so good, I have ordered a pair of venison pies, a chicken pie, a piece of quiche and a vetkoek en mince for take-aways. I will simply pop them in separate containers to have the first night in TR as supper, the pies being the second day's fare. What a treat!

Its almost time :dance: :roll: :dance:
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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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MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:26 pm

All done. No more work. Just relaxation time with the family before I go. Well, have a studio shoot to do tonight and then one outdoor and one studio tomorrow, but as this is a paying hobby more than my salaried job, it's all fun.

Bought my new braai grid today and some fresh blitz + charcoal.

0400 22 Nov :big_eyes: :whistle: :big_eyes:
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:46 pm

Watching the webcams today, I have learnt 2 things:
- it is really nice that the sun sets so much later than at home
- there are leopards drinking at Nossob camp
- ok, there are 3 things, there are millions of secretary birds drinking at Nossob (still really want a good shot of one for my list)

So close...

Can smell the dust already...
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:26 pm

Today I bought new lip ice (with SPF 15, yummy cherry flavour), spray-on SPF30 for my arms/hands while driving, small bottle of bacteria-killer (guess that if I really needed a big one I would be on my way to a hospital where they would have a bigger bottle anyhow), some easy-breathing T-shirts (have some but really needed to get new ones as some in my closet are from 15 years ago and others just no longer to my taste/fit - planning on taking the decent older ones with me as part of the clothing drive), got in a good gym and sauna, checked prices on my preferred biscuits before buying tomorrow and read more about the waterholes (in the magazine that has come to be my text book).

I am really looking forward to documenting certain obvious but difficult to find information. Like taking a general arrangement/view shot of each waterhole (my planning allows me to visit all of them at least once) as well as providing and indicator as to what minimum focal length is required for a gemsbok and a sandgrouse - if at all possible. Me thinks this will help future travellers on lens selection and road/waterhole choices.

Tomorrow I plan on buying my super exciting portions of oats and pronutro and cans and noodles. At least there will be biscuits and high sugar sweets as well for during the day as well as trail mix (both packet and SO made). Oh, and as soon as I am on the other side of the big scary city, I am opening my first nougat bar!

Tic toc :whistle:
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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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MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:07 pm

So far I have packed my clothes (not sure I will need that one pair of trousers and one jacket, but my mother taught me to always pack such as you never know), food (kept 1 nougat out for the road), and some general items. Will do the rest tomorrow. Now just hoping to watch some cricket and relax...
Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:22 pm

Well, I am back. Only 8556 images taken, so please be patient while I wade through them before completing a detailed write-up. However, here and there I will post some snippets.

One thing I need to say, I get it, I understand why people drive the 4000 km for 12 days in the park, I get it. The photography of predators is on a different level to any other place I have been. Many of the birds are either unique t the KTP area or easier to spot that other locations. But, and I will elaborate on this later, there are some significant differences between KTP and KNP that I found will make my preferred one a complex decision. But I get the hype, I saw the hype, I felt the hype, I want to one day share the hype with the family - next time...

Major highlights to come, 7 cheetah sightings including an odd incident and a kill, a double leopard sighting, a bat-eared fox, 3 honey badgers crossing the road, more lions that I cared to count, the ultimate (albeit a touch clichéd, having felt it I agree it is the ultimate) KTP sighting as well as experience, 2 brown hyenas, a puffadder just outside my door and a double rainbow.

To whet the appetites and share some spectacular build-up to my arrival at the TR gate, here are a few images from the area around VZR.

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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:56 am

Okay, so I need to share one more, I know I am jumping the gun on some stories here, but hey, when an image speaks to me and demands to be shared, who am I to disagree? This image captures that which my dear mother (yes, the same one that sent along the care package with the nougat) most wishes to see in the desert...

Stare into your soul
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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:34 am

Not spoiling anything by showing this now, I had numerous good sightings of these odd but majestic birds. Just liked the simplicity of this shot.

High contrast bateleur
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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:32 pm

This TR is going to be ridiculously long, I have so many images to share, already over a hundred and only on day 3...

So, as I go along, I will start posting some that are from series of moments that have enough other shots to add to the real story later.

Traffic controller - there were at least 3 of these guys a day to be seen, many in the road.
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Spike-heeled lark (I think - grey waders I can do, larks not so much)
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The king of the royal sighting - this will be described in great detail later
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Sociable sunset in VZR
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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:01 pm

Some more to keep you going, almost halfway with folder 2 of 6...

This series of images from a 30 min period with these beasts pleased me
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Them females be mine - another easy find added to my list, even before CQ
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PCG having a bath - this is how much water was lying around one morning hours after it had finished raining
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Challenge still standing - I will need to return to get a more pleasing image of these magnificent beauties, but at least it is on my list now
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Challenge completed - I just had to find and photography this glaring omission from my list
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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:18 pm

There are just so many images, but I am getting closer, I think. Here are some from the way there and the first 2 days. The skies were amazing!

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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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

User avatar
MxM
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
Location: Secunda

Re: KTP - a solo photographic and birding tour

Unread postby MxM » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:31 am

I note that I have not gotten to the afters part of the report. I am getting there. Still 367 of the 8556 shots to work through. I have around 500 keepers, which was the aim, but I will admin that on my way back I thought that I had fallen way short, but I now have noticed some really nice sightings came my way. I will try and start with the detail in a week or 2, once the photo editing is done (I also need to upload these to the sites where they can start paying for the trip). I have copious notes from each day as well as some interesting realisations about KTP. The camps will come under discussion with how they are placed wrt roads nearby. Also, a commentary on where KTP should fall within planning for trips within the overall SANParks offerings (I have not been to all yet, still 7 to go). However, just to tie you into the loop, here are some more random shots from the middle days of the trip.

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Moments by Mullineux Photography
Photographer, nature lover, birder

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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