Monthly Archives: April 2011

Rwenzori Three-horned Chameleon

Hi guys,

Here we have one of the coolest subjects i have had the chance to photograph and a great reminder that there is so much more to photograph than just the big five.

Rwenzori Three-horned Chameleons are only found in the Albertine Rift Valley and a couple of weeks ago i had an amazing chance to spend a short but incredible fifteen minutes with this little guy.

So my chameleon top tips are macro lens, big aperture and focus on the eyes.

Stay well,

Chris

P.S. Just back from an Easter safari and got some great images of two lioness’ on a buffalo kill and over 100 elephants  around a watering hole. More to follow…

Lake Mburo Images

Hi guys,

So in order to get through my backlog of images i am going to post quite  a few from Lake Mburo.  It was my birthday back in March and with no real chance to get some time off work my wife and I went instead for another 24 hour safari extravaganza, this time to Lake Mburo National Park.

Lake Mburo is another seldom visited gem in Uganda.  With only one lion pride and a few leopard the park does not have the same draw as many tourist would like.  But what Mbruo misses in big cats it makes up in other animals with one of the largest reported concentrations of antelope in Africa, from the minute dik-dik to the immense Eland.

One of the joys of Lake Mburo is the evening boat trips along the banks.  Above is a Black-crowned Night Heron which i had never before seen.  Although i wasn’t able to get a good image we also spotted a White-backed Night Heron in the adjoining bush, again a first for me.

Another great little bee-eater shot.

A moment of good luck and timing!

I always like to go on the 5pm boat launches.  The sun is setting on the opposite shore of the lake and provides incredible light for anything  on the bank the boat follows.

And because i always have to include a monochrome image and because domestic animals are just as interesting as the ‘wild’ ones…

Due to a local drought these Ankole Cattle were being grazed inside the park and were some of the most majestic Ankole cattle i have ever seen.  Almost regal.

So that is a quick update on my Lake Mburo images.  We spent the evening on the boat trip and the next morning trying in vain to photograph some Dwarf Mongoose.  In all we spotted only one other vehicle.

I am in love with Lake Mburo.  It doesn’t have the glamour of some of the other bigger national parks in Uganda but it has an incredible wealth of animals and birds and is an incredibly rewarding way to spend 24 hours of your life.

Stay well,

Chris

Adventures with baboons, elephants and the wonders of Akagera

Hi guys,

I am finally getting round to the last of the Akagera images.

First some giraffe images!

Another stunning sunrise,

My first ever Klipspringer image (think Jack Russell size with horns and longer legs!).  Normally you see them high up on rocky outcrops but this little guy and his partner were down by the road and they refused to budge when we drove alongside them.

And my favourite, a female Bushbuck with incredible ears,

I was left breathless byAkagera National Park.  Similarly to Uganda, Rwanda cannot match Kenya or Tanzania for the sheer wealth of game but what it cant match in quantity it certainly can in quality.  For the entire 48 hours we spent in Akagera we saw only one other vehicle and we never found ourselves on the same animal throughout.

We managed to see elephant, giraffe, leopard, buffalo, all manner of antelope, hippo, crocodile and a great selection of birds in little less than two days.  Another great weekend where moments appear almost unreal in their clarity whether watching a giraffe drink from a waterhole, a herd of impala being stalked by a leopard…or being assaulted by a baboon or charged by an extremely unhappy elephant!!!

So, on day two we drove past a large male baboon who seemed unconcerned by our vehicle.  Sensing a great image in waiting i stopped the car and reversed to come back alongside him.  What i didn’t see whilst i searched for reverse was the baboon promptly leaping over to the car.  After screams from my companions i turned round to come face to face with the baboon, a matter of inches from my face.  After a bit of a standoff and my repeated accusations that the baboon had no business in my car i got the car back into first gear and drove off with the baboon seemingly nonplussed.

Five minutes down the road we found a ranger on the roadside who appeared afraid of something further on down the road.  Realising that there might be lions we invited him into the car and offered hm a lift.  Through an English/Kiswahili/Kinyarwanda combination he lead us off track into a clearing beside a lake.  And without warning we rounded a dense thicket to find a herd of about twenty elephants with a new born baby.  Instantly the bull male faced us and got nervous.

I pride myself in respecting the distance between myself and the animals i capture on camera. If i think for a moment that the animals is uncomfortable i will pull back to a safer distance.  With this in mind i stopped the car immediately and turned the engine off.  This is the point where time slowed down and a number of things all happened at once.

The lead male decided my presence was not acceptable.  At an alarming rate he began to charge the car.  My companions became…well agitated.  The ranger tried to get his weapon out the window to fire his weapon and scare the bull off.  Luckily he didn’t have to and my hearing wasn’t ruined by the firing of a weapon in a confined space beside my ear.  And thankfully I managed to get the car started and into reveres seamlessly and speed back through the bush the way we had come.

My lesson that day was that you should never assume that there is a standard distance you should take between yourself and your subjects.  Often times the presence of a newborn baby or the hope of some left over sandwiches are enough for animals to make their own decisions about how close they would like to get to you.  The key is to observe their behaviour  as best you can and adapt your strategy to suit their dispositions.  If you get this right you can often get much closer, and to a much more relaxed animal, than others can.

That’s all for now,

Stay well,

Chris

P.S.  Just back from a photography assignment at one of the lodges on our safaris.  Some great images to follow..but first Lake Mburo, Three-horned chameleons and the Virunga volcanoes as dusk.