Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Red, White, Yellow, and Green

A little change of pace today. We will get back to Africa soon enough but I had the chance to take a whole lot of pictures at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this past weekend. Of course, if I am going to a botanical garden I will have my camera and often take lots of pictures. Sometimes I get some good ones and other times not so much. This was a good trip in that I managed to get 4 or 5 ones that I really like. This one was fun because I didn't think I had captured the picture so I didn't really remember/note it. When I was going through the pictures that night I came across thsi one and was pleasantly surprised! Always nice to find one that you didn't think was going to work. I like the focus and the subject of course, and the diagonal line of the stem is a nice entrance to the picture. What I like best though is the delineation of the color. The red, white, yellow, and green are all such strong colors, especially against the blurred, dark background, and they are so tightly restricted to small, distinct areas. Me like!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where the Deer and Antalope ROAN

Oh give me a home where the deer and the antelope Roan (Groan!). As mentioned in previous posts, there are many an antelope throughout Africa of many different types and by the end of the trip they were all kind of blurring together :) The Roan antelope is not the most common, but is a truly beautiful animal and it was very nice of this male to pose in both portrait and profile. He was actually quite a distance away so these were taken with my telephoto on max. We saw a few of these throughout the trip--not nearly as plenty as impala! I find the markings on his face to be very striking and I love the line of his body as he starts to take a step in the profile picture. The sweeping antlers are a favorite.
The Sable is another beautiful antelope with somewhat similar facial markings and is also very striking. Unfortunately the Sables seemed to be particularly camera shy for me though others in our group got to see them well. Here are the best shots I was able to get and a link to Wikipedia to show you what it is supposed to look like :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Purty Sunset

I think that the title says it all. Another purty sunset!!! This was taken in Chobe National Park from the dinning platform in our camp. The sun was actually setting across the Chobe river and there was a fisherman on a traditional Mokoru passing in front of the sunset for this even more incredible shot:

It was very nice of the fishermen to pose like that for us! :) I love how the light of the sunset is reflected in the slow wake of the Mokoro. If you click on the second shot you will see it even better :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Plethora of Pretty Flowers

On our Africa trip we went through Victoria Falls several times as a central hub to the other countries. On one of those layovers we stopped by the Ilala Lodge to drop off some luggage and have lunch before heading out to Hwange National Park. The lodge had a great view of the Smoke that Thunders (the smoke part) and many a pretty flower. We were actually visiting in the middle of their winter so there was not much in bloom on the trip, but we did find a few pretty flowers along the way. And if there are flowers then I must take pictures!!!! Enjoy!! And don't miss the cool African bee in Picture 5 :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

10 Little Bee Eaters All In A Row

It can be cold on those African mornings! Or, at least cold for them :) The mornings were around 45 degrees and many of the locals were huddling together for warmth including some of the birds and animals. These are Little Bee-Eaters and every morning these guys lined up on a branch just under the dining area and huddled together for warmth. It was actually fairly dark and they were hard to see...yea for the new camera and image stabilization. The next day they were lined up again, but not all in the same direction.
As a bonus, here is why they are called Bee-eaters...

The guides were describing a behavior of these birds that I wish I had seen. When they catch the bees they slam them against the branches on either side of them to kill the bugs before eating. We did see that and it is quite something to watch. However, if the birds eat the bee and it isn't quite dead, the bee-eaters will fly themselves into branches slamming their tummies into the branch to kill the bee inside them!!!!!! I guess it is a learned behavior and the parents will pass it on to their offspring. Weird!