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

Monday, September 19, 2011


African skimmers were common in Southern Africa, but their numbers have dropped significantly in the last few decades. This is mainly due to the fact that they are very sensitive to human disturbance, especially close to the sandbanks in the rivers on which they breed. I've made the 3200km roundtrip from Pretoria to Northern Botswana a number of times in the last few years to photograph these elegant birds. My vision have always been to capture special behavior, especially defending territory or fighting over a mate. In the afternoon skimmers mostly become active only when the sun is about to set and the light is low. My favorite shot from all these trips was taken one afternoon when one skimmer was defending its territory from another. The sun had just dropped below the horizon and there was little light to work with. I used flash to add a bit of light.

Skimmer agression
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 600mmf/4 | 1/100 sec at f/11, ISO 100

This photograph won the Earthshots.org photo of the day contest on 19 September 2011.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The springbok is commonly known as one of the fastest antelope in Africa. It was a cloudy morning in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa when a pride of lions casually walked across a dry riverbed. I could see that they had recently eaten and were probably not interested in hunting for food at that stage. They did however spook a group of springbok that were grazing in that riverbed. The springbok did not take any chances and ran away to maintain a safe distance from the lions. I wanted to capture the running springbok with a sense of movement to accentuate this characteristic of the species.

Desert sprinters
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa
Canon 5D Mark II | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/20 sec at f/36, ISO 250

This photograph won the Earthshots.org photo of the day contest on 28 August 2011.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The dry season in Mashatu usually means good game sightings. The dry conditions force animals to congregate at the last remaining waterholes. Our recent photographic workshop to Mashatu in June always had the prospect of good sightings, but nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to see. The sightings and photographic opportunities were not just good, they were phenomenal!

First day
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/400sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

Catching up
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 200

One of the highlights on our first afternoon drive was to try different lighting techniques on a pair of lions with the vehicles' spotlights. Everyone had fun mastering backlit/rim, side and front lighting. The next morning we were out early and found a hyena den close to camp - a big clan with lots of youngsters that were playing outside the den each morning until late. Mashatu also delivered the usual specials with large breeding herds of elephants, including a day-old baby still with a piece of its umbilical cord attached, good bird photographic opportunities and the normal plains game.

Low angle glossy Ibis
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/1600sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

Open wide
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/400sec at f/8, ISO 200

One afternoon we stumbled upon a small pan with about 30 foraging glossy ibises. These usually bland subjects looked spectacular in the late afternoon sun. That was exactly the type of photography that gets my heart racing - making ordinary subjects look spectacular. They were surprisingly accommodating and allowed us to get very close to them - out of the vehicle and onto the ground for that low angle perspective.

Mounting tension
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/800sec at f/5, ISO 1000

Bone collector
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/2000sec at f/4.5, ISO 1250

You know that a trip is going well when a sighting of lions fighting with hyenas are not even considered the highlight of the weekend. On the second morning's drive we followed the same male and female lion we saw on our first game drive and observed how they wandered too close to the hyena den. The whole clan of eight adult hyenas grouped together and started harassing the trespassers. The young male's temper flared up in a number of sequences that offered first class action photography opportunities as he defended himself.

Red nose day
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/100sec at f/4.5, ISO 3200

Mom and daugter
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/160sec at f/4, ISO 2000

A female leopard with three cubs have been in the area for our entire stay and we were dying to get a good look at them. Small gaps through the thicket allowed us to get some record shots at various stages, but with such young cubs we knew our chances were slim of getting good leopard cub shots. On our fifth drive our patience were rewarded when the leopard and her cubs walked in a dry riverbed an even allowed us to observe them while drinking water. This was a special moment for us all. At the time we did not know however, that this was just an appetizer for things to come. That night she made a kill and dragged it into a nearby tree. We returned to this sighting on each of our last three game drives and felt privileged to observe and photograph an episode of these leopards' lives!

Quelea chaos
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/5000sec at f/8, ISO 800

An ear with character
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 | 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

Once again Mashatu revealed to us some of its unique and spectacular treasures. We can not wait to return there soon!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Namibia is a very special and unique place for photographing the wonders of the natural world. One of these wonders are the life found in the coastal dune belt between the towns of Walvisbay and Swakopmund. Life had evolved a little differently there compared to the species found in the rest of the dunes and deserts in Namibia. At these costal dunes, the warm desert air meets the cold air of the Atlantic ocean, creating a dense layer of mist almost every morning until about 9 AM. This layer of mist only stretches about 5 kilometers inland and creates a very unique environment. Here, in the apparently barren landscape you can find hidden life in the form of Sidewinders (Peringuey's Adder), FitzSimon's Burrowing Skink, Namaqua Chameleon, Swift Sand-diving Lizard and the Web-footed Gecko (Palmato Gecko).

Web-footed Gecko
Swakopmund, Namibia
Canon 1D Mark IV | Sigma 150mm Macro | 1/50 sec at f/16, ISO 400

This photograph was featured as one of Life's top 100 photos of 2011 and also won the Earthshots.org photo of the day contest on 28 June 2011.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Crossing the Mara river is the most dangerous time for the 1.5 million wildebeest that migrate over the grass plains of East Africa. Not only is the river full of big hungry crocodiles but it is also deep and fast flowing. Many wildebeest die from drowning or swallowing water. During a large river crossing some sort of frenzy starts where the wildebeest get bewildered, often jumping straight into the water from high cliffs, sometimes even on top of each other. I tried to capture the mood and different approach each one has to enter the water.

Jumping wildebeest
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/640 sec at f/8, ISO 800

This photo is part of portfolio of mine on the Masai Mara in Kenya featured in a leading South African outdoor magazine Weg/Go!

Monday, January 10, 2011


"Changing your angle" is one of the techniques we teach during our photographic workshops. It means photographing from a different angle than normal, usually from a lower angle, close to the ground, capturing the subject eye-level with a soft background to create more striking photographs. With the right subject and conditions, this technique can help you make a good photo, GREAT!

Leopard King
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mm | 1/20sec at f/4, ISO 800

During C4 Images' last Mashatu workshop for 2010, in early December, we focussed on applying this technique - with great success I might add. It's not just the freedom that a place like Mashatu Game Reserve gives us to get out the vehicles and try different techniques, but also the number of photographic opportunities that makes Mashatu such a productive photographic destination. It always delivers unique and spectacular subjects and environments.

Saddle-billed Stork Looking for Breakfast
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 200mm (200-400mm) | 1/1600sec at f/4, ISO 400

During the photographic workshop, our clients thoroughly enjoyed exploring all genres of photography. It was not only the striking images we got from changing our angle and photographing laying flat on the ground on numerous occasions, but also one afternoon's spectacular thunderstorm with photographs of lightning and landscapes that had everybody very excited. A great sighting of a leopard on a log and lions with very small playful cubs rounded off a very successful five days spent in the bush.

Low Angle Hyena
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 320mm (200-400mm) | 1/320sec at f/4, ISO 400

Mashatu always deliver spectacular subjects in unique environments. C4 Images are looking forward to 2011 and our workshops to this wonderful place!

Low Angle Photography
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 16mm (16-35mm) | 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 800

Mopani Contrast
Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark III | 150mm | 1/20sec at f/22, ISO 400

Saturday, January 1, 2011


The scenic beauty and wilderness feeling that Chiefs Island offers makes it one of my favorite places in Africa to visit. It was quite fitting to end the year for C4 Workshops at such a great location.

Typical delta
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/3200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

Shake it off
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

With the early December rains, the area has transformed into beautiful green, different from what we had seen five weeks earlier on our previous workshop to the island. It was quite noticeable how much more water was around from the local rains they've had - a beautiful sight to see and exactly what one always envisage the Okavango Delta to look like.

Painted snipe
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

Feeding time
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 2500

The workshop was a great success - from the flight into the lodge over the Okavango Delta that gets the excitement going at the beginning of the workshop, to the sharing of photos during our afternoon informal workshop sessions. Anywhere in the bush where you have great game-viewing and a relaxed atmosphere is a great place to learn and put the theory of wildlife photography into practice.

Who's looking at me?
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

Horns of the bushveld
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Nikon D3s | 200-400mmf/4 | 1/500 sec at f/4, ISO 400

December in the Okavango Delta means lots of birds, and we had great sightings of raptors, waders and the all the migrant species. Some of our highlights included seeing Pygmy Geese and Rosy-throated Longclaw, and in addition we got great photos of kingfishers and the African Painted Snipe to name a few.

We made the most of the variable weather conditions we experienced as we photographed everything from early morning backlit buffalo, carmine bee-eaters in the rain, to lions shaking their head after the rain. I loved the variable weather and mild temperatures and I like in particular how it forces you to be creative and experiment with all the different genres of photography to make the most of the trip.

Striped kingfisher
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 1D Mark IV | 600mmf/4 + 1.4tc | 1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 640

Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon 5D Mark II | 16-35mmf/2.8 | 1/200 sec at f/8, ISO 800

Chiefs Camp is one of the best camps in Africa. Having cocktails on the deck while watching elephants bathing in the water right in front of you makes you realize that this is a special camp. It's not just the location, the luxury, the quality of the service or the food, but also the homey feeling that it provides that people always enjoy the most. Besides game drives, the camp also offer a variety of other activities. A flip over the swamps with a helicopter was a great way to end our workshop and we were all very sad to leave Chiefs Island. We are already looking forward to visiting there next year again. We'd like to say a big thanks to Rory, Jade, Basil, Petra, the rest of the camp staff, and our fantastic driver guides Rex and Jonathan who made this such a memorable trip for us all!