KaingU Lodge

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KaingU Lodge last won the day on August 16 2016

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About KaingU Lodge

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    Kafue National Park Zambia

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  1. We just finished placing our island hide that we build every year for the white fronted bee eaters. I couldn't resist trying it out for an hour yesterday afternoon.
  2. Brilliant stuff indeed. I am amazed at how close the bears are.
  3. I am a huge fan of auto ISO too. Sadly my big old 1DMKIV doesn't allow exposure compensation in auto ISO, but it is basically my go to ISO setting for wildlife regardless of that. My strategy for moving things like wildlife is: I generally shoot in Tv and let the aperture and ISO float. Why? Well my canon 100-400 is not a wide aperture lens so 99% of the time it is going to be wide open. Fortunately it is sharp wide open and there is enough depth of field for most subjects so being wide open doesn't really matter to me. Like Xelas for me back button focusing is essential, but it always causes total mayhem when I pass the camera to someone else to use. By being in Tv I can control the camera dependent on the subject: e.g. trying to shoot white fronted bee eaters I am going to need probably 1/2000 or maybe even more. If a Goliath heron floats past then I can dial way back with one twirl of a wheel. Aperture and ISO I will leave up to the camera. If I am on a boat or vehicle with a long lens my camera is pretty much always set like that. If I notice the ISO is getting higher than I am willing to accept then it is probably time for a sundowner or to get out a wide angle and look at the sunset. But if it is anything that is not moving or not likely to move then either I am in manual or Av. I don't mean to hijack this totally excellent tutorial, but Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is arguably the best and very understandable primer in photography - I re-read it at least once a year and recommend it to anyone with an interest in learning about photography basics. He does a very good job of breaking complexity down into easy to understand concepts. Buy that, read it and experiment. Like Dave has said, modern cameras are capable of total overwhelming complexity but the basic principles haven't changed since the camera was invented. The menus and complexity of my little OMD EM1 are actually ridiculous. I like that, but I totally understand why Olympus menus get vilified at times. I too have so many people come through here saying "ah, I will never learn all these settings". Meanwhile they are teachers/scientists/accountants etc and all quite capable of understanding - its probably just that they haven't taken the time to experiment and learn the basic fundamentals. It's only three things and their relationship to each other; aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity to light. Annihilating (okay, maybe a bit strong a word!) backgrounds has it's place, but not all the time. There is somewhat of a belief that blurry backgrounds give a 'pro' look. Take this shot by Kaley (one of our field guides) from yesterday morning. Kaley has an old rebel body (like ancient thing) that Julia gave him and an old but good 300mm F4. He (like many) is really struggling with settings, but he is getting there. But look at this image (ISO I00. f5.6 ss1/500): He could have been at F4 but to be honest for me the image is actually made by the context. If he had even more depth of field it would have been even better to me. he probably couldn't really have gone much lower with the SS with that lens/body combination and contorted around in the drivers seat (he, like all good guides is far more concerned about his guests getting the shot than himself). As it stands all that means nothing. Viewed on facebook at 1800px wide on a laptop from 24" it is still a spectacular photo. I am looking at the background, the fact that it is out of focus slightly and the waxy looking rocks and thinking "he REALLY needs a better body". I am in the minority! The other three sitting here in our office are actually making gaspy mooning type noises. If he had been using a f2.8 and turned the background to total blur it would just not be the same. All our guides (except Kebby the junior) have decent cameras that we have bought them. Kaley (with the most complex and 'best' set up) probably struggles the most with settings. JohnD has a good bridge camera but also struggles. Israel has a basic bridge (with a ginormous zoom) camera that seems to only shoot in full auto. Israel gets the 'best' shots - in terms of focus and all the other technical aspects being right. I suspect that for 90% of users on 90% of general safari situations a bridge camera on auto is going to get the desired results and memories of the trip. In a guest discussion around the fire last night one guest was amazed by how his "little camera" (his words, not mine) gets everything sharp. It does. Because that small sensor and fixed lens have a massive depth of field. This sometimes helps a lot. I guess my point is that we sometimes get over obsessed with (literally) the details. For me at least the best way to learn something is by doing it. Reading a book like Bryan's really helps grasp the basics. After that then go to a zoo or sit in the garden snapping birds. You will soon learn what works and what doesn't for you. For me I am more of an instinctive person - my head doesn't work with "setting, reading and evaluating and adjusting" - I need to be relying on muscle memory, normal brain (poor in my case) memory and having been in a similar situation before. Only practise and experience gets me there. I guess validation of this is that there are so few really, really good bird photographers (as an example) that haven't spent years and years perfecting their art - it all happens so quickly and needs muscle memory to track moving birds in a viewfinder with a long lens - this is the converse of say some 20 year old super talented portrait taking savant who has all the time in the world to get the shot. I am a firm believer that the best way to get better at photography at the end of the day is to take hundreds and hundreds of pictures.
  4. The first one is a stitched panorama (9 pictures if I remember right) taken with my 1D MKIV and Samyang 14mm - so in reality an 18mm with the crop factor. 30 sec exposures - which were actually borderline too long as I was getting some star movement - ISO 1600. The 2nd one surprised me.... it is one from the timelapse sequence that I was shooting. ISO 2000 at a 15 sec exposure with my little omd em-10. The fact that the m4/3 sensor picked up so many stars at quite a short exposure (f2 with samyang 12mm) slightly amazed me.
  5. With a fire many many kilometers away I went up 'the rock' to see if I could get wildfire and stars together.
  6. A weird one as I think I can count on one hand the number of selfies I have ever taken. But I couldn't resist messing around a bit under a full moon while trying to put together a small timelapse sequence...
  7. Always! (well actually my last fly in safari was like 9 years ago, so that is a bit of an lie, but it does go everywhere with me). Its obviously very limited and I haven't tried my sigma 120-300 and 1DMKIV on it and I don't think I will! But for a quick video, timelapse, long exposure, hell even a selfie with my little mirrorless it is quite useful. I have done some long exposures with it too and it managed:
  8. My personal take on it is that there is an inbetween and it is all about context for the animal... I believe we credit animals with perhaps more (and sometimes maybe less) perception than is there when it comes to them encountering humans in vehicle. For example; of course the lions smell the humans on the vehicle and for sure they see them. But they don't see the humans in their normal context - i.e. on two legs and mobile. As such they cannot put together the 'normal' human situation and so in areas where they are used to vehicles and have learned that they are not a threat then their behaviour is very tolerant. However generations and generations upon generations have learned that humans are a threat (but when on foot). Get out of the vehicle and everything changes.... In areas where big cats are less used to vehicles often lions will flee or behave quite threateningly to the vehicle (not necessarily the occupants). They haven't yet realised that they are not really a threat. The leg outside of the vehicle: well the lion is suddenly seeing unusual movement and behaviour - it might well be not suddenly thinking "ah, a human", but they are attracted and interested in movement (like all cats) and this is a different movement so the interest level rises massively. As does the risk factor... As for what to do if a cheetah jumps in the vehicle - I would recommend you be very still and calm and thereafter complain to the guide and explain that allowing (and indeed promoting this behaviour) is going to end badly (for the cheetah) and must be stopped.
  9. You could just get a 2nd hand or cheap Netbook with a decent sized mechanical hard drive. This one is like the price of a basic external hard drive... Example: Netbook Personally I cannot really go more than a few days without my laptop to download pictures, cull the rubbish and select the few keepers. If I was on say a multiple day canoe trail then sure the laptop would stay at home. But for a normal safari I would find space.
  10. Tom, the yellowish cast is how the snake's colours were - it was almost mid day. As has been said there can be huge variation in colouring with snakes. I don't know enough, but this one was in a grassy dambo and so blended into the dry grass amazingly... Design or chance? I suspect the former. Most of my previous sightings of vipers were in rainforest where the colouring was much darker and tended to match the forest floor perfectly!
  11. Another colour variation on the puff adder. Taken this morning while myself and the guides were checking camera traps. JohnD being snake mad was right up close... I was happy to stay back with the camera!
  12. awesome stuff Martin, some great shots indeed.. I would love to go there one day - it's not even far from 'home' (my folks live quite near there) but the only bloomin' time I can get away is the dead season of Jan/Feb.....
  13. We have had a media group here and on the first day they were blown away by the river in the early morning at sunrise. So we took some of them out yesterday morning and to my astonishment JohnD and I saw that the skimmers had arrived (first sighting of the season). I remarked to John that I was then hoping for mist, skimmers and sunrise and so was marginally surprised that it came together - although at a fair old distance.
  14. Tom, your words make me very happy. Thanks very much indeed. The area where we are is truly spectacular. Yes there are areas and lodges with more game, more luxurious chalets and what not. But there is no section of river that I have ever seen that is as special as here and where you can get true solitude and the feeling of wilderness. The 'raptor's eye' view is sort of capable of showing the beauty. To be honest I wish the drone could go higher - 200m is the threshold for the radio controller (newer ones apparently go hundreds more) - to really show even more. A couple more simply because your enthusiasm is so rewarding!
  15. Here are a few Tom:

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