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Kruger Park Winter Photos

Kruger National Park Winter Photos The above photos are from our visit to the Kruger National Park in July this year, which is mid-winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

At this time of year the colors are predominantly warm, ranging from golden brown to ochre. This, together with the dust, often gives photos a more muted, pastel look that, certainly for many, typifies the African bush.

The animals’ natural camoflage is also more apparent, which makes sense as there’s less cover for both predators and prey than there is during summer.

For the full selection of images from this trip, please see Kruger National Park Photos, Winter 2012.

White Rhino on the Charge

White Rhino on the charge, Kruger National Park, South Africa This White Rhino, taking a dislike to our vehicle after we’d stopped to take photographs, suddenly put its head down and charged us.

We were in the Kruger National Park and had stopped to photograph a family of three rhino on the side of the road.

Fortunately this was a mock-charge as the massive animal pulled up about two meters from our vehicle. The photo below was the last in a sequence of five shots. I was shooting our the back window and by this stage the exterior rear-view mirror was partially in the way. I was also fast losing interest in taking pictures!

White Rhino charging vehicle, Kruger National Park, South Africa

My buddy Kevin, who was in the driver’s seat, was obviously less concerned than I was as he didn’t even try starting the vehicle. He’s been going to Kruger for many years and clearly knows a bit more about animal behavior than I do.

For more pictures from our trip to Kruger, please see Kruger Park Photos, Nov 2012. And for more about the White or Square-Lipped Rhino (Ceratotherium simum), see Rhino Information.

Baby Elephant Walk

Baby elephant mimics actions of one in front, Kruger National Park Caption: As two baby elephants walk through the veld, the one mimics exactly the actions of the other, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi); Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS telephoto zoom; Shutter speed: 1/800; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400.

To see the full sequence of this amusing and mischievous behavior, please check out our latest picture story, Baby Elephant Plays Follow-my-Leader.

Young Lions Raise Heads in Alarm

Young lions look up in alarm, Kruger Park Caption: Two young lions raise their heads in alarm from the safe haven of long winter grass, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Aperture: f/5.6; Shutter speed: 1/60; ISO: 400; Time: 5.14pm

These two lion cubs – from different litters as the one is clearly older – were part of a pride of about eight lions lying in tall winter grass close to the road near Satara Camp in the Kruger Park.

It was already late afternoon and also the final day of July school holidays. Lion sightings had been sparse in the area, so for many this was the last opportunity to see the big cats before returning home.

Drivers jostled for position, blocking the road and creating a mini gridlock (below).

Lion sighting causes traffic jam in Kruger Park
In cases like this people show their worst side as they try to force their way into better positions, blocking the view of others.

Road Hog in Kruger Park blocks view of others

Driver forces way between cars, moving off road and blocking view. Lions lying in grass are circled.

The lions were fairly oblivious of all this, occasionally lifting their heads or changing positions, but it wasn’t much of a sighting, certainly from our position. In the meantime it was getting close to 5.30pm, which is camp closing time in winter.

But the road was jammed. Those on the inside couldn’t get out while those on the outside seemed determined not to move. Tempers flared and people started hooting and shouting – definitely not what you expect or want in a game reserve.

Eventually some frustrated person played a tape of lions roaring through his car speakers, probably hoping to get the animals to move so everyone could disperse.

It was this sound, rather than the hooting, that caused the young lions to raise their heads and look around in consternation. Interestingly, the one mature male lying closest to the road didn’t even lift his head, simply ignoring the tinny sounds from the car speakers.

Eventually the fear of being locked out of camp and paying hefty fines saw the traffic jam break up, leaving the lion pride in peace, free from the stares and cameras of badly behaved humans.

Baboon Mother and Youngster in Morning Light

Baboon Mother and Youngster in Morning Light Caption: A baboon mother cuddles her youngster protectively as they huddle together in the early morning sun, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Telephoto; Focal length: 200mm; Aperture: f/5.6; Shutter speed: 1/320; ISO: 800

While on a recent trip to the Kruger National Park, I was fortunate enough to borrow a brand new copy of Canon’s L series 70-300mm telephoto zoom. For some years I’ve used the older, much cheaper 70-300mm which, while image-stabilized, is not an L-series lens.

I was very interested to see how this lens would perform when used on a Canon EOS 50D with its APS-C sensor that gives an effective 1.6x magnification. I’ve always had fairly shaky hands, so hand-holding is a problem, even with IS lenses.

But I have to admit I was simply blown-away by many of the images taken with this very compact lens, specially when compared to my older 70-300mm.

In most cases I was in a vehicle, shooting through the back window. When I could, I used a bean-bag on the window as support, but there were also times where this was not possible, so I had to hand-hold.

The IS is incredibly effective and allowed me to get sharp photos at relatively slow shutter speeds, something I could never have done with my older lens and also not with the Canon 100-400 which I owned some years ago.

As one of the many positive reviewers on Amazon points out, the “4-stop image stabilization and focusing speed are far superior to the 100-400 …. overall, image quality is similar to the excellent 70-200f/4L IS, but the 70-300 is more compact with a longer reach. I think that when it comes to wildlife photography, this lens is especially well suited for a crop sensor camera where it provides a very useful 112-480mm range. I see no negatives with this superb lens except it’s a little pricey …”

Pity about the price, which right now is way out of my league. But if I had the bucks, I’d buy this lens without hesitation as find it superb for wildlife and definitely worth the money if you’re looking for a compact, lightweight, optically top-notch lens that’s also easy to hand-hold.

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