Thanda — Week Two

Male Lion at Thanda Private Game Reserve
Male Lion at Thanda Private Game Reserve

Week Two at Thanda Private Game Reserve is quickly drawing to a close. Tomorrow we have a 6 am game drive, then we’ll meet with Christian Sperka, the wildlife photographer from the Thanda Resort. He’ll make a short presentation on wildlife photography then review some of our photos. After that, a small group of us are headed to Mozambique. It’s a whole other country, but not too far away. So this weekend I’ll be relaxing on a nice beach and visiting the local dolphins.

Without last week’s photography classes I’ve had more time, including for more game drives. On Monday we went to Mkuze, about an hour away, to spend some time in a blind. This was well set up and allowed us to see and photograph all sorts of animals in a single location, including wart hogs, impala, nyala, baboons, zebras, a couple of white rhinos, and more birds than I could count.

Nyala at a waterhole at Mkuze Reserve
Nyala at a waterhole at Mkuze Reserve

I like this photo of the five nyala (a kind antelope).

Baboons at a watering hole at the Mkuze Reserve
Baboons at a watering hole at the Mkuze Reserve

I do wonder what the baboon in the back is thinking. Any ideas?

One of Gary's first experiments with "motion blur" (this is a nyala)
One of Gary’s first experiments with “motion blur” (this is a nyala)

Yesterday we were all encouraged to experiment with a technique called “motion blur.” The idea is move your camera with your subject (in this case a nyala) so that the animal is visible (or at least recognizable) while the background blurs in a display of motion.

On Tuesday we spent our afternoon drive photographing trees and plants and then converting them to black and white. That’s the idea behind this image of a typical South African umbrella tree.

Umbrella tree in black and white
Umbrella tree in black and white

Today the nine of us in the photography program presented a 2-hour lesson on marine life to 22 local school kids, ages 12-14. They spoke a bit of English, but one of our guides acted as an interpreter to make sure we were understood. This was quite the experience! After the lesson, we served the kids a simple lunch of hotdog, orange, juice, and lollipop. They then sang a few songs, mostly in Zulu. This was quite the treat!

Elephant enjoying a snack at Mduna Private Game Reserve
Elephant enjoying a snack at Mduna Private Game Reserve

During a drive yesterday afternoon we saw a number of elephants. You don’t just watch elephants eat, you listen to it: the crashing of trees and the crunching of leaves. It is an impressive display of power.

It’s late on Thursday (and it’s pretty much the first time I’ve had internet access robust enough to post all this pictures!), and we’ve got an early morning. So just one more image before signing off, taken near sundown at a great location overlooking the beautiful South African countryside.

Almost sunset at the Mduna Reserve
Almost sunset at the Mduna Reserve

2 thoughts on “Thanda — Week Two

  1. I so love seeing all your pictures and your posts, even the short ones. Something to look forward to every day! Sounds like you’re really living each moment and that’s uber cool! Love you!

  2. Looking at the photo of the elephant eating I could imagine hearing the sound of the crashing of the trees and the sounds of them eating. Very vivid picture in my mind. I do wish I could experience that some day. Elephants are so magnificent. I’m glad you are having a great trip.

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