Monday, 17 June 2013

Tracking Lions in the Kalahari

Flying into the central Kalahari desert on a small Mack Air Airvan. It took three planes to get us there on a 60 min flight. Perfect visibility and great for aerial shots of the countryside. First night we went off looking for lion. After dark one of the local San trackers found sign - then the lions themselves. Three females.  Shooting them using only a searchlight for illumination is hard - these lions were shot at ISO 10,000 [on my EOS 5DIII] at [ExpComp] minus 2 stops (to counter the centre hotspot such a powerful light creates). Tungsten White Balance sort of helps reduce the intense red WB but a Custom one is better (but then there's no time to test once the lions are found as they move into the bunch after a few minutes. We managed to get within three metres before they loped off into the blackness.

Mack Air - Maun-based air taxis for getting around Botswana's game lodges
Large female Kalahari on Deception Lodge reserve after dark.  Intense light makes it tricky to get a decent exposure. A tripod or, in our case, a monopod keeps things sharp.
After about ten to fifteen minutes of being spotlighted, they move off into the bush

The Kalahari lions at Deception lodge are very large and in excellent condition
Here's one from the same pride the next day
HDR of our trusty Landcruiser while we enjoy a well-earned sundowner...
Lipsmakin' good.  Finishing off a meal of kudu
Cub at play with one of the adults

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