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Pete Davie's Botswana #2107
02/13/06 02:20 PM
02/13/06 02:20 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline OP
I
James Morrissey  Offline OP
I
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
Hi Everyone,

Thanks to Pete for taking the time to write this piece. Every time I go through it, I find that I enjoy it more. I do have a question though...using a full frame DSLR like the 1ds, how close were you to some of these critters?

"It was useful when I was in the hide, but the game viewing was so intimate I needed the 70-200 f2.8 more often. I also suffered with the dust as I only had one body (I can't afford a second 1DS Mk2). "

James

Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: James Morrissey] #2108
02/13/06 04:20 PM
02/13/06 04:20 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
PeteD Offline
Tracker
PeteD  Offline
Tracker

Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
Hi James

Thanks for your kind words! I hope it is enjoyable (although short!) In answer to your question;

On safari we had a guide who drove the 4x4 - he was responsible for finding the game to view, the commentary on all the stupid questions we ask as tourists (how old is it, how much do they eat etc etc) and getting us the best view possible. To help him he has a tracker - usually a young apprentice that sits on the back of the 4x4 on a seat next to the spare wheel - he is given the job of trying to spot things that the guide misses as he is concentrating on driving. He has a vary tenuous position as he is sat outback with no protection. Our guide "Bashi" was one of the most experienced guides I have met. He left no question unanswered and knew the area so well he could always find what you wanted (no mean feet in 20,000 acres!) Now our tracker was fairly new and he was frightened of leopard and lion. We sat watching a lioness and her cubs one afternoon when the lioness moved on - she walked past our 4x4 into the bush but wasn't followed by her 3 cubs so she ended up coming back for them right past our tracker. As she got level she stopped and called them by which time her head was probably less than 12 inches away from my trackers rear end - I had stopped taking pictures as I didn't want to startle her and as I glanced at our tracker he had gone so pale I though he might pass out. The picture of one her naughty cubs is in the article (the one pulling the funny face - they had found something that smelt bad and didn't want to leave it) You obviously need to have a certain amount of common sense in when and where to take pictures.

The following day we were following a leopard and just as I was setting myself up for a beautiful shot of it drinking - it took exception to us and charged the 4x4. We were side on to it and it ran straight towards the back of the truck towards our tracker who went deathly pale again. He allowed himself a nervous grin only once he was sure that he had both arms and legs. This time I could have stroked it if I had put my hand out. Unfortunatley this time events were quicker than I and I didn't get the shot.

The final time of note was when we were watching a herd of elephants in the river. When they had finished drinking they all walked past the 4x4 but started to edge closer. We had been allowed out of the vehicle to get a better view but when the matriarch came towards us, Bashi asked that we quietly returned to the truck. It slowly ambered up and then stopped its enormous body almost leaning alongside us. It then sniffed all four of us slowly and deliberatley its trunk flicking around our heads. Whether it was his aftershave or not this grand matriarch seemed to prefer the smell of our poor tracker who had to sit perfectly still with his body almost next to two huge tusks. Quite incredible! I think he was pleased when Jane and I left the country!

This pictures show us with one of our many flat tyres. Just to the right of Jane (on the right hand side of the picture) you can see a small seat and cushion - this is the trackers seat - totally exposed! You can also see that with no doors you get fabulous views but are open to the elements (ie dust) and also to wayward elephants!



So if you bear in mind I struggled with the 300mm lens as it was too long for most shots you can get an idea that I was really close. None of the pictures I have submitted are cropped - they are all full frame. The only time I needed a longer lens was for some of the shots of birds (although all the ones I have included in the article are on the 300mm).

If anyone is interested in going to Mashatu I will happily forward details - it is quite honestly the best game viewing I have ever had. Its going to be very hard to beat that.


Regards PaparazziPete www.marlboroughphoto.co.uk
Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: PeteD] #2109
02/14/06 12:56 AM
02/14/06 12:56 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline OP
I
James Morrissey  Offline OP
I
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
"As she got level she stopped and called them by which time her head was probably less than 12 inches away from my trackers rear end -"

This is a pretty impressive account. I am surprised that there are not more injuries while on Safari. Your poor guide sounds like he was one step short of ending his career on a couple of occasions.

James

Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: James Morrissey] #2110
02/19/06 04:49 AM
02/19/06 04:49 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
London UK
wingnut Offline
Wanderer
wingnut  Offline
Wanderer

Joined: Feb 2006
London UK
Hi from a new member,
I have been on a few safaris, (Ruaha, Tanzania, South Africa and have just come back to the UK after a week in Etosha, Namibia). I generally love the experience, apart from one thing, I absolutely hate seeing a kill. I know its natural etc. etc. but everytime I see lions when they are in their hunting mode, I just think about the potential victim's and what they will experience if caught. I love the beauty of Giraffe's and Zebras and the fear of seeing one caught and eaten ruins the experience and enjoyment of the trip often. I had a bad experience in Ruaha. I was syaying at Mwaguisi Sand River camp and the Lodge owner was always out looking for Lions 'interacting' with the Buffalo. It just upset's me and I was always hoping that nothing would happen!

Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: wingnut] #2111
02/19/06 03:31 PM
02/19/06 03:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
PeteD Offline
Tracker
PeteD  Offline
Tracker

Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
Hey Wingnut,

I totally agree with you - although once I am looking through the lens I do feel a certain emotional detachment as I concentrate on technique to try and get "the shot". My wife is very sensitive to it - we could hear her shout "oh no" 20 metres underwater when we were diving in the Maldives when she saw a fish get eaten!


Regards PaparazziPete www.marlboroughphoto.co.uk
Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: wingnut] #2112
02/19/06 04:10 PM
02/19/06 04:10 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne, A...
PossumCorner Offline
Old hand
PossumCorner  Offline
Old hand

Joined: Dec 2005
Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne, A...
Quote:

I absolutely hate seeing a kill. I know its natural etc. etc. but everytime I see lions when they are in their hunting mode, I just think about the potential victim's and what they will experience if caught.




Welcome Wingnut, and well done for being another voice on this issue. I lived and worked in Kenya/Nigeria for a couple of years and had unlimited access to the Parks which was fantastic. But I could never come to terms with the excuse that "it is natural" for everyone with a camera trying primarily for kill-shots or movies. From my viewpoint the reasons for it were as base as they are today for the underground viewing of "snuff" movies. Obviously this obsession has not changed, as I recently watched a documentary on wildlife movie makers in Africa living and breathing to film a kill.

The results often make me think of that contrived image in NG years ago, so always make me wonder if there wasn't some interference to set up the shot, as does happen.

Please post some shots soon of your Etosha visit.

Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: PeteD] #2113
02/19/06 04:35 PM
02/19/06 04:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne, A...
PossumCorner Offline
Old hand
PossumCorner  Offline
Old hand

Joined: Dec 2005
Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne, A...
Quote:

Its going to be very hard to beat that.




I totally agree, the combination of place and the weather co-operating, close to perfect!

Pete thank you for this article and your beautiful shots. Your leopards are great - I knew people who had lived in Kenya for ten years and never saw a leopard although they really 'worked' to find one. (I saw two there, and later a black leopard in Sri Lanka so felt privileged). The Parks in Kenya had 'lost' some tourists earlier, so there were strict regulations against open vehicles. Even in a closed LandRover I felt very vulnerable when close to lions or elephants (and especially rhinos) so can imagine the sheer terror your Spotter was feeling.

The Lapland dog images on your website are also beautiful, that must have been an equipment challenge - maybe no dust but so cold. And again so worth it.

Last edited by PossumCorner; 02/19/06 04:45 PM.
Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: PeteD] #2114
02/20/06 01:38 AM
02/20/06 01:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Adelaide, Australia
C
Cain Offline
Wanderer
Cain  Offline
Wanderer
C

Joined: Feb 2006
Adelaide, Australia

Howdy Everyone (Another newbie)
Great article Pete!
I have been on a few safaris now and while I have never seen an 'actual' kill I have have been there shortly after. I agree that its not a pleasant thing to watch, but I can also sympathise with the detachment aspect when viewing from the lens. I have some shots from my first experience but I am in no hurry to add to them. Having said this though there is certainly something to seeing lions do what they do best; Hunt. The best example being one day we were in an open land rover in Mala Mala (South Africa) and were in a dry creek bed in a slight ravine. Moments later 2 lioness came charging through the bush very close to us. We were the last straw for them and they gave up the chase but you could almost see their adrenalin pumping. The intense gazes, twitching nose, muscles rippling. It made a stark contrast to the usual languid daytime lions we had been viewing. It was a very primal moment. This then brings up the other side of the argument. In this case the lioness looked in good condition but what about the energy levels expended by Cheetah to capture their prey. A female with cubs misses a few missed meals and they can be in serious trouble. There are 2 sides to every story, both with tragic, unsettling endings. Its a personal decision as to whether you take the shot though.


-------------------------------- Cain www.wildfocusimages.com
Re: Pete Davie's Botswana [Re: Cain] #2115
02/20/06 04:43 AM
02/20/06 04:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
PeteD Offline
Tracker
PeteD  Offline
Tracker

Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
Hi

I'm glad you liked the article. It was like being back at school trying to put words together! I am currently trying to persuade my wife to go back to Botswana (up to the Okavango Delta) but she is not keen on safari by mokoro (dugout canoe) as someone I know was killed in a hippo attack/accident a couple of years ago. (Mind you - I also want to go cage diving off South Africa to see Great Whites and she is not keen on that either!)

In defence of people who watch any predator hunt I guess that its the only time where you see a raw animal instinct take over. As Cain said its the time when all the adrenalin takes over and they are totally pumped up. I once watched a solitary lioness kill a zebra on the shore of Lake Nakuru in Kenya she then had to drag it in the midday sun to her three cubs who were hiding almost a mile away. She was exhausted after a long chase and although she had disembowelled it to make it lighter she could only go about 10 metres before collapsing. It took a long time to make it "home". It wasn't the kill that enthralled me it was the determination in her face to get back to her family.


Regards PaparazziPete www.marlboroughphoto.co.uk

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