Hello and welcome to my blog where I share my photos and experiences from my travels to the African bush and other wild places.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The Puku is an antelope found in wet grasslands in southern Democratic Republic of Congo and in Zambia. It stands about 80cm tall at the shoulders and weigh between 70 to 80kg. Puku are sandy brown in colour with the underbelly a few shades lighter. Males have around 50cm long ridge structured horns. Both territorial and alarm calls are a repeated shrill whistle sound. They are beautiful animals! The recent C4 Images Workshop took our guests to Puku Ridge Camp in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. There are a lot of puku in the park, but we didn't specifically go there to photograph them! Our objective was to find plenty of game and other photographic opportunities. Not only did we find exactly what we were looking for, but we were also blown away by the incredible beauty and variety that the park had to offer!

Puku Portrait
South Luangwa, Zambia
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mm | 1/1250sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

The South Luangwa National Park is a photographer's dream - wild and remote it's one of Africa's most unspoiled places with enormous spaces, a wide variety of habitats and a high density of game. It is one of Zambia's largest National Parks, covering an area of over 9,000 square kilometers in the Luangwa Valley. The survival of the valley depends on the winding Luangwa River, crowded with hippos, crocodiles and waterfowl, and its numerous tributaries that course through the park. Just before the big summer rains the bushes have wilted and the earth becomes bone dry, so animals assemble along the river and at the remaining waterholes. This is the best time for game viewing.

Leopard Meal
South Luangwa, Zambia
Nikon D3s | 400mm (200-400mm) | 1/160sec at f/4, ISO 1600

The Photographic Workshop was held at Puku Ridge Camp, located in a remote area of the National Park overlooking a floodplain close to the Luangwa River. To reach this camp requires a two hour flight from Johannesburg to Lusaka and then a chartered transfer to Mfuwe Aiport. It's a small intimate camp with seven luxury tents and a communal area with a lounge, bar, dining area and deck, all overlooking a waterhole on the floodplain. As at all Sanctuary Lodges, the food and service are exceptional and we were especially impressed by the quality of the guides. At the waterhole in front of camp there is a constant flow of animals coming to drink during the day, making it an attractive option to skip the afternoon drive to photograph at the waterhole instead, and this from the comfort of the lounge. When we saw a leopard drinking at this waterhole during dinner on our first night, we knew this workshop was going to be special.

Splashing in the Luangwa River
South Luangwa, Zambia
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mm | 1/500sec at f/4, ISO 800

As a photographic workshop our guests were not just keen to visit one of Africa's world-renowned wildlife havens, but also keen to learn all the genres and techniques of nature photography. Our workshops always attract people that have an appreciation for nature and a passion for photography which by default guarantees the workshop to be a great success. We had great fun teaching everything from light and composition, portrait, action, landscape, slow-shutter panning blur, flash, spotlight-at-night, and HDR photography, to processing photos and managing a large photo library. The theory is put into practice during the morning and afternoon game drives where the photography guides are close by to lend a helping hand.

Carmine Snack
South Luangwa, Zambia
Canon 1D Mark III | 200mm (70-200mm) | 1/2500sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

We were spoiled with excellent sightings of predators and general game, birds and spectacular landscapes. Highlights included three leopards trying to break through the tough skin of a dead young hippo. The cause of death was unsure, but the leopards struggled for hours to get to the meat without success and became very agitated with the whole situation. Later that night we returned to see how four lions eventually chased the leopards off the carcass. Other highlights included photographing at a carmine bee-eater colony, ebony forests, mating lions, elephants walking through the river, pools with hundreds of hippos, and spectacular sunsets and sunrises on the Luangwa River.

Ebony Grove
South Luangwa, Zambia
Canon 1D Mark IV | 16mm (16-35mm) | 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 400

Scaping on the Luangwa River
South Luangwa, Zambia
Canon 5D Mark II | 23mm (16-35mm) | 1/10sec at f/8, ISO 1250

A big thank you to camp managers Don and Suku, our guides Joseph and Malemia, and the staff of Puku Ridge Camp who made this such an awesome experience for us all!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Chiefs Island in the heart of the Okavango Delta is pure wilderness and a land of incredible beauty. Vast open seasonal floodplains with palm tree islands. Herds of animals roaming free and wild exactly like they have for thousands of years. Unspoiled scenic beauty that stretches as far as the eye can see. To experience this and to have it all to yourself to enjoy is pure magic! The recent C4 photographic workshop to Chiefs Camp offered our guests exactly that. This is my favorite destination in Africa.

Leopard and Cub
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 400mm (200-400mm) | 1/640sec at f/5, ISO 1600

New Life in Gold
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 290mm (200-400mm) | 1/60sec at f/16, ISO 800

Our photographic workshop was a great success, especially because we're such like-minded people, having a lot of laughs together, and enjoying the good photography and nature experience that this wilderness had to offer. Game viewing was fantastic with great sightings of the general Delta game, the big five, and a rare glimpse of a leopard carrying a week old cub. This leopard is close to camp and very accommodating towards photographers, a beautiful poser. We are looking forward to seeing her more during the upcoming safaris to Chiefs Island. Although we didn't do serious birding, we unofficially tallied more than 130 species for the trip. This included numerous lifers for most of the guests.

Okavango Delta, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/640sec at f/5, ISO 1600

Chiefs Camp is tucked between beautiful big Jackalberry, Sausage and Apple-leaf trees on the edge of the actual island, overlooking a seasonal floodplain. The camp has recently been renovated and the accommodation, food and comfort that the camp offers are exceptional. It's easy to see why this camp has been voted the best lodge in Botswana for three years in a row now!

Rufous-naped Lark Display
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mm | 1/2500sec at f/4, ISO 320

As a photographic safari our objective was to get top wildlife photos as much as it was to experience this untamed wilderness. Chiefs Island delivered superbly in both categories. Apart from the good photography, we also extended our experience into the air with a flip in a helicopter over the Delta, and an afternoon's mokoro experience on one of the main channels in the Delta.

Okavango Delta Helicopter Experience
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 16mm (16-35mm) | 1/1000sec at f/8, ISO 400

Elephants from the Air
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 78mm (70-200mm) | 1/2500sec at f/8, ISO 1000

Thanks to all our guests, my co-host Albie Venter, our drivers Ishmael and Sky, and all the staff at the camp who made this such a memorable experience for all of us!

Monday, November 1, 2010


How long will it take you to count two million wildebeest given that it takes you one second to count one wildebeest and that you can count for eight hours per day? This is the question that one of our guests had during the recent Masai Mara Photographic Safari with C4 Images and Safaris.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/1000 sec at f/8, ISO 320

The fact is that two million wildebeest is a lot of animals, and it is just as Shem warned people before the trip - it's a lot to take in. The sheer number of animals is overwhelming and as a natural history experience it's one of the spectacles everyone should see at least once in their lifetime!

Two brothers
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/500 sec at f/8, ISO 450

The photography during our safari was brilliant - it really put wildlife photography in a new light. The sightings in the Mara is so good that we would often just drive past inactive predators because we knew that we were going to see better action somewhere else. Everyone was keen on the classic Mara shots - cheetah on an anthill, lions on a kill, vultures on a wildebeest carcass, wildebeest crossing, and the lone tree with big sky scene to name a few. We were fortunate that we had the opportunity to cover all those shots in the first few game drives which forced us to chase better sightings and more creative shots. Apart from the wonderful wildlife photography that the Masai Mara has to offer, the other highlight of the trip was the good coffee that Kenya is known for - strong, smooth and aromatic!

Open spaces
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Canon 5D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/320 sec at f/8, ISO 200

The tent camp on the Mara river with it's bush feel was a hit with everyone. We were treated to all sorts of animal calls at night, and even leopard calls every morning. One morning during coffee we managed to spot a leopard as he walked past our camp only a few hundred meters away from us. The week before, our guests from the previous photo safari hit the jackpot when they saw one of the most dramatic wildebeest crossings right in front of camp.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/400 sec at f/4.5, ISO 800

With camp located inside the reserve and having five safari vehicles to our disposal we made great work of first morning light. Early morning landscape shots were at the order of the day. Each vehicle had the option of having a packed breakfast out in the veld or to have breakfast back at camp, but we all wanted to stay out photographing as long as we could. The vehicles we use are very photographer-friendly, with the option of photographing through the top hatch or through the side windows. Each photographer also had a whole row of seats available to him/herself which added to the comfort of the ride.

Day awakens
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Canon 1D Mark III | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/10 sec at f/11, ISO 500

From all the Safaris I've ever hosted, this was the trip where memory cards got filled to capacity the fastest! Thank you Lexy and the staff for a wonderful trip!

Sunrise over the plains
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/500 sec at f/4, ISO 100

Taking flight
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/2500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 900

So how long will it take you to count two million wildebeest? The answer is ... more than three months!!

Playing hyenas
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/800 sec at f/4, ISO 2000

Secretary bird
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 640

Friday, October 1, 2010


Finding your best photographs quickly and easily is essential for any serious photographer. This becomes increasingly important if you have a large photo library. In all the popular workflow packages that photographers use these days, the star rating system is the standard method to distinguish between exceptional, good and average photos in your library. It can be overwhelming and very time consuming to search through thousands of photos when you are looking for your best ones. The objective with star rating photos is thus to filter to a manageable number of photos for each star rating value, rated carefully through your personal well-defined process.

The physical process of star rating photos is relatively simple and can be done with ease in all the popular photo management software packages like Lightroom, Aperture, Bridge or Breezebrowser. In Lighroom, for example, I press the 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 button on selected photos to rate them. To remove the rating I simply press the 0 key again. The biggest problem I have found with the star rating system when looking at our guests' rating process is when the standard for the different rating values are not well defined by the user, they end up getting confused about the rating value, and that results in many over and under rated photos.

I've come up with my own simple and effective star rating system which requires minimum effort but provides me with the search power that I require to find specific photos. If you tend to take a lot of photos then it becomes increasingly important to follow a process to quickly rate the best photos and eliminate the unusable photos. You can save yourself a lot of time if you never have to look at any unusable photos twice. The most important initial objective for me when downloading new photos is to rate them. I "develop" the photos much later in my workflow, when I have time, usually only when I need to submit photos somewhere or when I create a collection of photos.

My process works as follows: While I download my images into Lightroom, I start going through them one by one, judging their usability. Photos that are technically correct and properly exposed I mark as 1-star, and photos that are striking and worth another look I mark as 2-star. After I've gone through all the downloaded photos, I delete all the photos that have not been marked with any star values. At this stage I've optimized my effort by getting rid of the unusable photos, but also rating the striking photos as 2-star so that I have a manageable number of photos to search through when I want to see my best work.

The second step is to look through all my 2-star photos. Now I'm looking for striking images that are unique and that have "something special" about them. I mark those images as 3-star: they are typically the ones that I recon stand a good chance to do well in a competition for example. I would also make sure that I keep a maximum of three photos within a series of very similar photos.

The grading standard between 1, 2, and 3-star photos is thus very simple and straight forward, but if you have a large photo library you might still have too many 3-star photos to search through to find your best photos. Now we have to rate the best of the best. My next step is to look at all my 3-star photos within one-month timeframes and rate the best 3-star photo as a 4-star. Thus, within any year timeframe I could have more or less twelve 4-star photos for that year. The last step is to select the very best of the best by picking the best 4-star photo from a one-year timeframe and rate it as a 5-star photo. The 5-star photos are my very best photos, and after a career of photography I might only have a handful of 5-star photos. If someone wants to see my best photos I could show them the few 5-star photos, but also the larger collection of 4-star photos which have been carefully selected but that is small enough not to overwhelm the viewer.

My grading standard is:

1-star: sharp, correctly exposed and usable
2-star: the same as 1-star, but it has something special about it, e.g. great light, action, behavior or a unique species
3-star: the same as 2-star, but the photo is unique and draws your attention
4-star: the best 3-star image within a 1-month timeframe
5-star: the best 4-star image within a 1-year timeframe

1 Star
Greater Kruger, South Africa
Nikon D3s | 270mm (200-400mm) | 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

2 Star
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark III | 300mm f/4 | 1/320sec at f/4, ISO 200

3 Star
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 70-200mmf/2.8 | 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

4 Star
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 600mmf/4 | 1/50 sec at f/7.1, ISO 1250

5 Star
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 24-70mmf/2.8 | 1/160 sec at f/4.5, ISO 2500

Typically, if you've collected 50,000 usable photos over 12 years your star rating breakdown could be as follows:

1-star: 45,000 photos
2-star: 5,000 photos
3-star: 500 photos
4-star: 144 photos
5-star: 12 photos

Star rating photos adds a lot of value to my photography on many levels. It depends however on my decline to follow my process diligently, but I can now, with minimum effort, enjoy my photography so much more! I hope this blogpost will help you in formulating your own process to make the most of your photography!

- Isak

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The bird photographer is an interesting species. We can spend hours inside bird hides, next to dams, or in a car, patiently waiting for that perfect opportunity to come along. It’s the challenge that intrigues us, as well as the satisfaction combined with a sense of achievement when capturing the bird in that spectacular posture. It’s like a drug. If you’re new to bird photography or already a keen bird photographer, I’d like to share a bit of advice and a few tips in this post that might help you.

With the advances in digital photography, wildlife and bird photography has become accessible to most people. The current technology in DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras are so advanced that, to capture a standard portrait of a bird, sharp, and with the correct exposure requires no technical skill any more, unlike in the film and slide days. Unless the portrait is very striking, it is not an achievement and will look very ordinary compared to the images being produced today. This new technology opens up new possibilities, and raises the bar higher and higher for what we classify as good bird photographs today.

To produce a spectacular bird portrait you should aim to incorporate the rules of art and composition in your photograph. Always try to capture the bird doing something unique and interesting.

One of the most challenging genres of bird photography is birds in flight. It is also the most rewarding in my opinion. But, before you attempt to photograph birds in flight, make sure you have the right tools for the job!

Equipment required:

1) DSLR camera. When it comes to cameras there are many options in the market, and it can be overwhelming. As with most things in life, the more expensive it is, the better the quality. Just note that there are two types of cameras, those designed for action photography (which I would recommend) and those designed for portraits and landscapes. Don’t blow your entire budget on the camera, but consider these criteria when buying a camera aimed at bird photography (in sequence of importance):

a. Autofocus tracking speed – the speed at which it “grabs” focus and the ability to keep focus on a moving subject (also a function of a lens)
b. Shutter burst rate (frames per second)
c. High ISO performance – the ability to produce good quality images when shooting at high shutter speeds in low light.

2) Long lens. Good quality glass is probably the most important consideration in any type of photography. For bird photography you can never have enough focal length. Buy the best quality lens that you can afford. Anything from 300mm and longer will work well. Note that the speed and quality of any prime lens is much superior to that of a zoom lens. For example, the Canon 400F5.6 lens is less expensive than a Canon 100- 400F5.6 lens, and even with a teleconverter would focus faster and render better quality images than the 100-400F5.6 lens.

3) Tripod and head (fluid head or Wimberley head)

4) Beanbag and panning plate

5) Door bracket/mount

Black-winged stilt flyby
Marievale Bird Sanctuary, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark II N | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/4000 sec at f/6.3, ISO 400

Golden reflection
Marievale Bird Sanctuary, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark II N | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/2000 sec at f/6.3, ISO 800


With heavy lenses, good lens support is essential to keep the camera still enough for sharp images or to have a smooth and effortless motion when following moving subjects. Different places require different lens support approaches:

1. Bird Hides – The best solution is to use a tripod. If the hide, seat or opening is too small to accommodate a tripod, then a beanbag with a panning plate will work well.
2. Next to a dam – Tripod
3. From a vehicle – While driving, I use a big beanbag over the door of the vehicle and keep a panning plate attached to my lens. When I see something to photograph, it is essential to waste as little time as possible between stopping and taking my first shots. I found the beanbag and panning to be an excellent solution for this scenario. New designs in door mounts/brackets makes it an attractive option, especially when you stop your car at a place where you’ll be photographing for a while, and have a lot of time available to setup the contraption.

Red-billed teals
Marievale Bird Sanctuary, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark II N | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/5000 sec at f/6.3, ISO 640

Air brake
Drakensberg, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark II N | 600mmf/4 | 1/2500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 500

Camera settings

Fast moving subjects like birds in flight requires fast shutter speeds to freeze the moment and have a sharp image. I use Aperture Priority mode because I want to control my depth of field, and adjust it in combination with my ISO value to produce the required shutter speed. I usually
photograph small, fast moving birds at about 1/2500th of a second. With larger birds, like vultures, you can still get sharp images with as slow as 1/800th of a second.

Evaluate your scene and adjust the exposure compensation for correct exposure. When the scene is darker than neutral grey you’ll have to underexpose the image, and overexpose it when the scene is very bright. For example, a small bird against a dark background would require about -2/3 exposure compensation, while a bird on a dead branch of a tree against the bright blue sky would require about +2/3 exposure compensation. One of the advantages of digital photography is the ability to view your images on the screen at the back of the camera. I always advise people to check their exposures regularly.

Remember to have your camera on multiple shots mode. This will enable you to take a series of photographs when pressing down the shutter button. It’s impossible to capture that precise moment, where the bird is in the perfect posture with open wings, with a single shot. Rather take a whole series of photographs and pick your favorite from the lot afterwards. Put your camera on AI-Servo mode, to have the camera focus continuously as you press the shutter down half way or full, in effect “tracking” the subject automatically.

The last tip on settings is to have only one autofocus point active, the center one. It is the most sensitive one, and with only one autofocus point active, the camera has to do fewer calculations to determine focus. It allows for faster and more accurate focusing.

Shoveler take-off
Marievale Bird Sanctuary, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark II N | 600mmf/4 | 1/2500 sec at f/8, ISO 500

Marievale Bird Sanctuary, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/2500 sec at f/8, ISO 800


To photograph birds in flight with regular success requires practice. It involves seeing the bird, pointing the lens at the bird while starting to move the lens at the same speed and in the same direction as what the bird is flying, pressing the shutter half way down to get focus on the bird while still panning the lens with the subject, and then continuing with this movement while pressing the shutter all the way down and taking a series of photos. You have to teach your brain the hand-to-eye coordination required to be able to see a bird flying across the sky and then point the lens straight at it. Find out where a local heronry, or any place where you can get close to a lot of flying birds is, and practice this technique.

Bonaero Park, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 | 1/1250 sec at f/8, ISO 1000

Hanging in the air
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/50 sec at f/7.1, ISO 200


It is almost impossible to compose a photograph while following a flying bird through your viewfinder, especially when you have the center autofocus point active and locked onto the subject. Rather crop the photo afterwards for a start, before trying to move autofocus points while tracking a bird through the viewfinder.

With stationary subjects, composition is especially important to create a striking photograph. Use the rules of art as a guideline to compose your image. For example, place a subject on one of the intersecting “3rd” lines while giving it space to look into. Also think about including shapes and textures and make use of leading lines.

Be selective when picking a background for your bird portraits and birds in flight photos. A naturally toned background creates much more striking photographs than the blue and especially white skies. Try and look for a tree, dune, or bush in the background. Move your vehicle or tripod until the desired background in exactly behind your subject. This incidentally makes autofocus more challenging. If the autofocus point is not precisely on the subject, the focus might easily “jump” to the background and it will be difficult to regain focus on the subject.

Vulture family
Drakensberg, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark III | 500mmf/4 | 1/2000 sec at f/4.5, ISO 125

Catching breakfast
Botswana, South Africa
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 | 1/2000 sec at f/5, ISO 800

I hope these words of advice will help you in your pursuit to take better bird photographs!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


When you go to a place where there are abundant wildlife, water and sunshine mixed together, you are guaranteed to see something spectacular! The Okavango Delta is such a place, a pure wilderness and probably the most exciting game viewing destination in Southern Africa.

The silent hunter
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 70-200mmf/2.8 | 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

C4 Images and Safaris have just concluded a very memorable photographic safari to the Okavango Delta at Stanley's Camp. The camp is situated in the heart of the swamps just below the South Eastern tip of Chiefs Island. They've had extremely good rainfall in the Okavango Delta during January and February. This resulted in unusually high levels of water on the floodplains for this time of the year. The water level was almost as high as when the flood waters push in from the Okavango river during July and August. This meant that we were in for an interesting time ahead! Just as at Chiefs Camp, Stanley's Camp uses game viewing vehicles specifically modified with bigger wheels and raised suspensions to negotiate the swampy terrain effortlessly. I've never seen so much water around and having water rush over the bonnet and over the floor of the vehicle provided an additional thrill for everyone!

Delta roads
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/3200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

Swampy roads
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

The safari was led by Greg du Toit and myself. Drizzling and overcast weather on the first two days meant that we had a slow start to the safari. Luckily we were all serious photographers and this could not damped our spirits. In fact, we were excited to use the elements to our advantage, searching for unique photo opportunities of impala and wildebeest in the rain! We also enjoyed the dramatic skies for which the Okavango Delta is famous. On our second drive, a great sighting of a leopard that entertained us for an entire morning got the shutters working properly.

Cloudy skies
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/30 sec at f/8, ISO 1000

Wild dog in the water
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 600mmf/4 | 1/1600 sec at f/4, ISO 200

The next few games drives delivered sightings of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and letchwe before we were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime sighting of a lion kill. We witnessed a pride of six lions killing a young zebra thanks to Greg du Toit who made the call to stick it out for an afternoon with the lions, watching them sleep, waking up, stalking, ambushing, and finally devouring. A complete cycle rarely seen, and of course stunning photographs by everyone! Oúr vehicle, on the other hand, stumbled onto a few wild dogs staking a herd of impala on our way to the lions. "Spoilt for choice" got a new meaning as we had to choose between following wild dogs on the hunt or lions stalking zebra. We decided to follow the wild dogs for a while but when the call came over the radio that the lions had killed a zebra we quickly rushed to witness the action.

Feeding time
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 300mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600

King of the meal
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 70-200mmf/2.8 | 1/200 sec at f/4, ISO 1600

Another memorable sighting we had on our way back to camp one evening was of a spotted hyena walking in the road and in the swampy water looking for a meal. With the dark water at night and subject illuminated only by the spotlight, this made for some dramatic images. During our final game drive of the safari we were luckily to find a big male leopard crossing one of the water channels. I was interesting to see how he very slowly and carefully made his way through the water trying not to make a sound! This is a sight that you'd only find in the Okavango Delta and it ended our safari on a high.

Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 600mmf/4 | 1/80 sec at f/4, ISO 2000

Juvenile red-billed oxpecker
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/2500 sec at f/8, ISO 800

The Okavango Delta is of course also a bird paradise. With most of our guests being keen bird photographers it meant that everyone were in their element! Fish Eagles around every corner, Grey-headed and Striped Kingfisher, Saddle-billed Storks, Wattled Cranes and Dwarf Bittern were a few of the species that got us really excited.

Wattled cranes
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 300mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/1000 sec at f/7.1, ISO 1250

Striped kingfisher
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/500 sec at f/8, ISO 1600

When hosting a photographic safari it is important to go to a camp that can take care of our clients, making them feel at home and relaxed after a hard day of photography out in the African bush. Stanley's Camp is exactly such a camp! It is a very intimate camp gathered around a large sitting and dining area which offers great views over the Okavango Delta floodplains and one of the best camps I've ever been to. Apart from the filter coffee wake-up call, the friendly staff and exquisite food prepared by chef Harry is what made the camp extra special. The camp also offers an elephant interaction experience, mokoro excursions, and guided walks if you want to try something different.

Looking up
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 300mmf/4 | 1/800 sec at f/4, ISO 200

Red-billed spurfowl
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

Unfortunately all good things had to come to an end. We were sad to leave but enjoyed the last breath-taking views from the Okavango Delta as we flew back from the camp to Maun where we all went our separate ways. A big thanks to Evelyn, Harry, Jonathan, Carter, and the rest of the staff at Stanley's camp for making it a trip of a lifetime!

Leopard prints
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 70-200mmf/2.8 | 1/320 sec at f/8, ISO 800

Lion eye
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/2500 sec at f/8, ISO 800