Tag Archives: photography holiday

9 Gorgeous Bird Images from Alan’s Zimanga Photo Safari – Mkhombe hide

An African Brown hooded Kingfisher captured at the Mkhombe Hide during the NaturesLens Zimanga photo safari

I mentioned at the beginning of this series of blog posts that Alan attended our Zimanga Photo Safari primarily to photograph birds. So, it seems only right that I dedicate this final blog post to his visits to the Mkhombe Pool Hide.

For those of you who have read my journey to photograph the South African Wildlife of Zimanga report, you may recall that I mention that this hide almost turned me into a bird photographer! The variety of bird species available to photograph here is simply immense & watching these pretty coloured birds come & go will put a smile on your face.
Alan used a combination of the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM with a Canon EF 1.4x III extender to photograph these stunning birds. It is also possible to use a 500mm lens to get tighter portrait shots.
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Beautiful safari images from Alan’s Zimanga Photo Tour

A goose stepping Vulture photographed during the NaturesLens Zimanga photo tour

The NaturesLens Zimanga Photo Tour is a combination of traditional game drives & hide sessions. In part three of this series of Zimanga blog posts, we showcase Alan’s beautiful images taken during game drives & from the Scavenger Hide.

When you are on a game drive in Zimanga, you are in one of only three vehicles on the game reserve. This means you are not competing with other cars to get the shot & you can stay with your subject for as long as you want.
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More Amazing Images from Alan’s Zimanga Photography Holiday

Cape Buffalo reflection taken at night during the NaturesLens photography holiday

Our Zimanga Photography Holiday includes two sessions in the overnight hides. These state of the art hides provide you with the opportunity to photograph mammals at close quarters at night.

The modus operandi is to enter the hide in the afternoon & have lots of fun photographing the colourful birds & mammals that come to the watering hole to feed & bathe.
This Cape Glossy Starling earned itself the nickname of the Kate Mossy Starling as it liked to pose like a model. Alan joked that it was “rocking the London look” for us.
I love Alan’s images of the tiny praying mantis & the giant cape buffalo because they give us a tiny glimpse into the mysterious world of Zimanga at night. The recommended lens for photographing visitors to the watering hole at night is a wide angle lens such as the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM with a remote release cable. The buffalo are large mammals anyway, but when you are sat only 1 metre from where they are standing, they are massive even when using a wide angle lens!
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11 Stunning Images from Alan’s Zimanga Photography Safari

A colourful portrait of a Three banded Plover as captured during the NaturesLens Zimanga photography safari

In May 2018, Alan joined me on our Zimanga photography safari holiday. His primary objective was to photograph the incredible birdlife that Zimanga has to offer, but as it turns out, he also enjoyed a spot of mammal photography too! He sent in so many beautiful images that I have decided to dedicate a series of blog posts to showcase his images.

The birds in Zimanga can be photographed from the hides & while you are out & about on a game drive. All the hide sessions are timed to take advantage of the gorgeous light at dawn & dusk.
Alan’s first photography session was an afternoon in the Lagoon hide. In order to access this hide, you have to walk along a screened walkway that leads to a 30m long & pipe with a 1.5m diameter which you have to walk through. The internal concrete wall of the pipe is decorated with the signatures of every photographer who has ever visited Lagoon hide. How cool is that?
The hide is placed off-centre in the Lagoon which means that there is a long & a shorter distance available for photography. For the afternoon session, the longer distance was better for the light & Alan found that his Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM was the perfect lens to use in this hide.
I think it would be safe to say that Alan really enjoyed his time in this hide. Just look at these stunning images of the three-ringed plover, wagtail & Egyptian geese! The lighting was just perfect for producing such colourful photos.
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12 mesmerizing images of the Dalmatian Pelicans of Kerkini

Beautifully reflected in the waters of Kerkini a quartet of the Pelicans photographed by Tony Berry during one of the 2019 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Tours

Earlier this year, Tony attended our Dalmatian Pelicans of Kerkini photography holiday. 2019 saw the return of snow & ice to the region so he faced some challenging weather conditions but thanks to our resourceful boatman, Tony came back with some stunning photos. He has very kindly sent in 12 beautiful images for us to share with you.

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White Horses of the Camargue Photography – A Minimalist Approach

A silhouette of a rearing stallion photographed during the NaturesLens White Horses of the Camargue Photography Holiday

I led our Wild White Horses of the Camargue photography holiday back in September 2018. This is one trip where big lenses are not required. In fact, the combination of a wide angle lens coupled with a mid-zoom lens such as a 70-200mm or a 100-400mm is perfect.

I had packed my 16-35mm & 70-200mm, but at the last minute, I decided to ditch both lenses in favour of my Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens. I bought this lens back in 2010 because I hated changing lenses & wanted something that would give me a wide range of focal lengths.
The Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens is known as Canon’s travel lens due to its incredible flexibility, but it wasn’t popular due to its weight & the fact that it was a push/pull zoom. I am a huge fan of the push/pull zoom; in fact, my go to lens was the original Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens before I (reluctantly) upgraded to the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Telephoto Lens. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the original 100-400mm, but I never experienced any of the issues described with my lens so I guess I must have been the lucky owner of one of the few good ones.
I found it incredibly liberating travelling so light & throughout the trip, I fell in love with the Canon EF 28-300mm all over again. In my opinion, this lens is even more versatile than the Canon EF 100-400mm since it covers most of the most commonly used focal lengths in a single lens & with an aperture of f/3.5 at 28mm, it also works very well as a non-dedicated macro lens. And let’s not forget the enormous advantage of not having to change lenses in the middle of a photo shoot!
The Canon EF 28-300mm Lens turned out to be the perfect lens for this White Horses of the Camargue photography trip. I was able to capture clean shots of the horses at 300mm, as they ran towards us in the salt marshes & the sea before they kicked up too much spray. The push/pull system allowed me to easily adjust my focal length right back up to 28mm as the horses ran past us.
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Photographing the Ice Grizzlies of the Yukon

A Grizzly Bear Making A Splash In The River   Captured During The Natureslens Ice Grizzlies Of The Yukon Photography Holiday

My experience of photographing the Ice Grizzlies of the Yukon could very easily read like one of those early childhood ‘what I did in my holidays’ essays. “I got up & then I got on a coach. I went to the airport & flew in a big plane to a place called Vancouver. I got into another, smaller plane & went to Whitehorse. It was snowy & cold. The next day I got in an even smaller plane & went to a place called Dawson City.  It was a Sunday; everything was closed. I stayed in a hotel & then we got in a helicopter. Then we saw bears & a wolf. Then we came home”.

That’s pretty accurate, albeit over-simplistic. It’s quite an adventure getting to Bear Cave Mountain, but boy is it worth it. Dawson City is a fascinating mix of history & modern. Many old buildings date from the Gold Rush era, in varying states of upkeep, & the trappings of modern life, but with a very Northern twist. A seasonal city that serves the tourist industry as well as still supporting commercial gold extraction. It was post-season when we were there but it was still fascinating & the people are welcoming.
The next stage of the adventure is the helicopter ride — two hours over the starkly majestic tundra & mountains of the Northern Yukon. Challenging & inhospitable doesn’t even start to describe it. The approach to the camp is ‘interesting’. There’s no sign of where the camp is & the pilot just took us down to river level & landed on a shingle ‘beach’. Only then could we see the camp through the trees. Settling in didn’t take long. There are only four buildings & a ‘room with a view’ – more on this later – the main cabin, three two-person sleeping cabins & a loo.
The message from the very point of arrival was that this is grizzly bear country & everywhere was a potential viewing site – yes, even the camp. And that, I suppose, is the key to the success of this place. Respect the grizzly bears & their environment & they will reward you. The local guides, Phil & Ross, were quick to induct us into the required behaviour – slow, deliberate movement, no talking unless necessary, & then very quietly. The philosophy is to give the bears nothing – no encouragement, no reward, & no bad experiences of humans. It works.

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