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Mongoose

 (Patrick Kriner)Mongoose!  All creatures great and small.  Although our main focus for Safari were predators, we found many opportunities to photograph many other species in South Africa and Botswana.  One afternoon on our way back to camp, we came upon a termite mound that was habituated by what appeared to be small rodents.  They actually were mongoose.  These are very small creatures and yet very dangerous.  They kill snakes for goodness sakes.  They were a little skittish at first but came out to take a look at us after we sat for awhile.

In my past trip to Africa we didn’t see many of these little creatures.  In Botswana we saw many of them traveling across the grassy areas surrounding our camp.  This appears to be a dwarf mongoose.  They eat all kinds of insects, earthworms, snakes, lizards, birds and rodents.  They are terrestrial in nature and usually roam during the day.  Some of these mongoose are solitary in nature hunting strickly for themselves, while others travel in packs.  Since there were many of these animals in the termite mound we can assume they were not as solitary a figure as one might think.

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An Amazing Story

 (Patrick Kriner)An Amazing Story!  One of the things I think is important is how we are able to tell a story with our photography.  If your composition is right and the subject is simple, the photo should speak for itself.  The viewer should be able to tell the story of the image without commentary from the photographer.  If taken in context, the story gets a little longer and more difficult to tell with one simple click of the shutter.  In this post you will see two images.  The first is one of the Airport Male Leopard.  He is up a tree where he was getting ready to feast upon an Impala that he had carried up to where he laid on one of the branches.  We knew this was the Airport Male as his right ears had been damaged in a fight and he was blinded in his left eye.  He was partially hidden among the leaves of the tree.  We stopped to photograph him and spent quite a bit of time watching him enjoy his meal.

Now here is where the story gets interesting.  On the power chart inside Mala Mala Preserve we know that the Lion is always on the top.  The Hyaena is next followed by the Leopard.  We were surprised to hear that.  Yet the ranger told us the Hyaenas were more dominant than the Leopard and would run him off and steal the food that he had just acquired.  We also found out that one of the reasons the Leopards take their food up into a tree is that the Hyaenas can’t climb.  They have no sharp nails on their feet and are therefore grounded.  While we were photographing the Leopard, three Hyaenas appeared at the bottom of the tree.  They could smell the fresh meat and followed the scent to the tree where the Leopard was hiding.

 (Patrick Kriner)The second image was a photograph of one of the Hyaenas who were circling the tree looking for a way to get to the food.  The Leopard was unfazed as Hyaenas travelled around the tree and could not climb to the top.  Their only hope was for a piece of meat to drop to the ground.  Eventually, they just gave up and moved on.  They returned a few times to the base of the tree and still could not find any food.  An interesting story that was fun to watch.  Sometimes the story goes beyond the click of the shutter.  This was one of those instances and I am glad I have a chance to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Lion – South Africa

 (Patrick Kriner)Lion – South Africa!  As I continue to post my images from South Africa and Botswana, I will try to highlight some of the differences in the two locations.  This image of a Male Lion is from South Africa.  When I post one from Botswana, you will see that the main on the Lions from Botswana are darker black than those from South Africa.  There is a distinctive difference between to the two that I found interesting.

This Male Lion was traveling with another Male and they were lying near a road on the border of our camp at Mala Mala.  The ranger was surprised to find them.  He indicated that a larger Male had run these two off a few years ago and they had migrated of the Mala Mala Preserve.  He said that it appeared they were trying to work their way back and knew that the Male that had tormented them in the past was still on the preserve and might chase them off again.  As we were observing these two males, one of them got up and was limping as he walked across the road.  He clearly was injured.  The other male kept lying on top of him as if to mate with him.  We thought this a bit strange but the ranger indicated that this was a move to show dominance between the larger male and the one that was injured.

In addition to some great photography on our trip, our guides were quite knowledgeable on many subjects.  One of which was the Lion Prides.  Which ones were which.  Which ones had dominant males and which ones were around in the preserve longer than the others.  In the Mala Mala Camp itself, they had posted a history of the various Lion Prides in the area as well as some of the Leopards that were currently in the Camp.  Enjoy!

 

Giraffe in the Mist

 (Patrick Kriner)Giraffe in the Mist!  On one of our early morning game drives out of our camp in Botswana, we found we had a very foggy morning.  Thinking this might hamper our shooting capabilities we quickly set our eyes on a group of Giraffes grazing among some trees near our position.  We tried a few test shots and found the scene quite appealing.  We moved our Safari Vehicle to several spots around these Giraffes and captured many photographs.  The Giraffes ignored us and this allowed us to move our vehicle several times as we were looking for the best compositions.  Our guide was helpful in looking over the environment and suggesting the pest places to shoot.

This particular photograph was most pleasing as it isolated one Giraffe away from the herd, framed her with the branches of the trees, and helped to make the compositional impact we were looking for in our photographs.  A great compositional tool is the “Rule of Thirds.”  This rule gives you an outline for your photograph.  Divide your viewfinder into thirds both horizontally and vertically.  Then place your subject along one of the lines you imagine and voila!  Great compositions.  For the best impact, try to place your subject on the cross points, or power points, of two of your  lines.  The image dynamic can improve greatly if you take a few seconds to get it right in your camera.  Additional cropping in your computer can also aide in finding the best composition for a particular photograph.

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Abstract Image, Sunset over Lion’s Head

 (Patrick Kriner)I guess you can say we are having a little fun here in Lion’s Head, Ontario.  The sunsets have been phenomenal, and I don’t even have to leave the yard at our cottage.  Just a few feet from the door you will find Isthmus Bay.  Here is another sunset image from across the bay.  It looks like an abstract painting.  This image is right out of the camera.  Add a little contrast and sharpen for the web and voila!

We wake every morning to this great view.  In the evening, the sunsets and the dark night sky are an amazing thing to watch.  Our friends told us about the dark sky and how the stars come out at night.  I was looking forward to seeing this and was totally blown away.  The constellations cover the entire sky for as far as you can see.  With no extraneous lights to affect our viewing pleasure, the sight is amazing.  I don’t know how people can go to sleep at night without spending hours out in the yard.  Fire up the fire ring, pull up a chair and enjoy.  A few Molson Exports are icing on the cake as we relax this week in a very beautiful spot here in Ontario, Canada.  Enjoy!

Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite National Park

 (Patrick Kriner)I was reading my news on line this morning and read an article about how wildfires in and around Yosemite National Park were threatening the power plants that provided electricity to San Francisco.  A few years ago I visited Yosemite with some friends and marvelled at all of the great photography that could be found there.  This is the area of the South West that made Ansel Adams famous.  It is Mecca to those of us seeking the best in landscape photography.  To think that a portion of this great park is in peril is unconscionable.  I pray fro the safety of those people trying to extinguish the blaze, as well as those home owners who might be affected by this disaster.  I pray that their efforts to stop the spread of these wildfires are successful and that one of our National Treasures remains intact.  I hope you feel the same, Enjoy!

Juvenile Eagle

 (Patrick Kriner)Juvenile Eagle.  Here isa post of a juvenile Eagle sitting on a piece of driftwood.  This Eagle was found on a spit of land out across Kachemak Bay from Homer, Alaska.  As you can see this Eagle does not have any white feathers around its head.  Although it is a young Bald Eagle, the feathers on its head will not turn white for at least five years.  So if you see an image of a Bald Eagle with white feathers, you will know that it is at least five years old or older.  When photographing wildlife in their natural habitats its important to be able to know about their habits, distinguishing marks, flight patterns, etc.  This process helps you in finding the right place and the best times to photograph.  It also helps in your overall efforts to capture these animals or birds in the best habitat pictures.  Zoos in your local area are good for finding animals in a habitat created by the Zoo staff, but photographing them in the wild is such a thrill that I can not imagine spending much time in my Zoo other than to take my grand children just for the fun of it.

I urge you to go out into your area parks and wildlife preserves and try to observe these animals in their own natural habitat.  The end result will be much more rewarding than in a captive environment.  Enjoy!

Incoming!

 (Patrick Kriner)

Incoming! Watching these beautiful predators along the coast of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska was surely a sight to see.  Diving, soaring, flying on the wing, these Eagles would search the area for food. Their talons would be tucked up under them as they would fly toward the water and then at the last second would pop out to grab the fish that they were able to see from far above the water.  Even if the fish were near our watercraft, they did not seem to care about us.  I was able to capture many of my flight shots with just a 70-200 zoom lens at about 135mm.  They were that close.  Thankfully, my camera has a great auto focus capability and can capture at rates of about 11 frames per second.  I guess that is how I was able to bring back over 5000 images for 5 days of shooting.

The weather around the bay was a little bit of a challenge, and there were a couple of trips that were cancelled due to inclement weather.  But we made the most of our time on the water and found some of the best places to photograph.  Using local guides in these situations is essential to find the right places to photograph.  Getting to Homer, Alaska was easy, finding the best place to photograph Bald Eagles needed an experience guide and a boat that gave us the flexibility to land the craft and get on and off with our camera gear.  Our guides were experienced.  They managed the wind and the waves to keep is just the right spot to photograph and also get us onto land when the Eagles were perched along the coast line.  As you might see from my Eagle Gallery, we had various lighting situations which rendered the water many different colors.  More to come, Enjoy!

 

I am Looking at YOU!

Bald Eagle Flying over the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska (Patrick Kriner)

 

I am Looking at YOU!  I just finished a difficult task that I was procrastinating on since March.  I reviewed every image I captured on my trip to Alaska and deleted those images that didn’t make the grade.  Through that process I found many hidden jewels in over 5000 images which ended up in a book I entitled ” Eagles of the Kenai Peninsula.”  I processed over 50 images and created an interesting montage.  I will be posting information on how you can view the book or maybe even purchase one for yourself.  The above image was one that really intrigued me.  It seems that the Eagle is looking right at me.  When photographing wildlife, its often patience that finally gets you the best images.  There are pictures of Bald Eagles and then there are what I call show stoppers.  Those images that make me stop and say wow, I need to post this.  So look for many more Eagle pictures here on my blog and watch for details about the forth coming Coffee Table book, “Eagles of the Kenai Peninsula.”  Enjoy!

Happy Independence Day

 (Patrick Kriner)Happy Independence Day!  Many thanks to the sponsors of our annual fireworks and Independence Day celebration here in Sylvania, Ohio.  A very special thank you to all of the men and women who serve or have served our country in the armed services.  Their efforts have protected our freedoms for centuries and we are forever grateful for them and their families for the sacrifice they have made.  All gave some, some gave all.  God Bless America!

On a personal note, since July 4th is also my wife’s birthday I wanted to thank every communtiy across this great land that scheduled fireworks in recognition of her birthday.  Happy Birthday Elizabeth Ann!