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African Adventure – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Here’s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.”

Jason Mraz

CHEETAH AT REST
CHEETAH AT REST

Most photographers love an adventure; after all, with lens in hand even the back yard can be an adventure 🙂 Those who have been following my blog know that my husband and I love to travel, and many of our journeys have been adventure-focused. We’ve climbed mountains, soared in hot air balloons, hiked on and cruised through glaciers, crossed wobbly rope bridges in the rain forest….well, you get the idea. But for me the word adventure automatically takes me back to our safari in Africa.

FOCUS
FOCUS

“Life is a daring adventure. I am enjoying every bit of the joyful journey. “

Lailah Gifty Akita

There are two schools of thought when photographing animals in the wild. One approach is to get up close and personal and try to capture the spirit within, focusing if possible on the eyes. Another option is to show the animal in its natural habitat, preferably exhibiting characteristic behavior. With thanks to Michelle for her Adventure challenge,  I thought I’d contrast the two approaches to see which resonates more strongly. I’ve opened with two different captures of the powerful and incredibly fast cheetah. It was quite something to see the burst of speed this seemingly docile creature employed when she spotted potential prey.

MACHO BATTLE
MACHO BATTLE

“Let your imagination be your adventure and see where it takes you.”

Carmela Dutra

Above and below we see first, two wildebeests locked in battle, showing their prowess with their sharp and (one would assume) deadly horns. Second, a portrait of this rather odd-looking animal – although I suppose not so odd to another wildebeest:-) – looking quite placid.

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU
HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU

 “Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”

George Eliot

One of the most beautiful creatures on safari is the lithe and graceful leopard. We saw them in trees, on the hunt, with their young, at rest, feeding on their catch – in just about every way possible. Each time we were thrilled with the sighting and watched as long as possible. Here then, a close up followed by an environmental portrait.

BIG-EYED BEAUTY
BIG-EYED BEAUTY

” Between safety and adventure I choose adventure.”

Craig Ferguson

CAT IN A TREE
CAT IN A TREE

“Even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.”

Edmund Hillary

Following the beautiful leopard, one of the most reviled of wild animals, the hyena. Perhaps they’ve been given a bad rap based on their association with witchcraft and their reputation for stealing food from other animals. In fact, hyenas kill most all of their food themselves and are quite crafty – working in packs to defeat faster, stronger predators. We witnessed a hyena challenging a leopard for her kill and were amazed that the leopard lost the battle in fairly short order. Below, two approaches to this species.

LOOKING BEHIND
LOOKING BEHIND

“I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure”

Paulo Cuelho

THE LOOKOUT
THE LOOKOUT
“Make everything an adventure.”
Nita Morgan

Finally, one cannot think of Africa without a nod to the king of beasts, the lion. Hardly the dominant creature he is reputed to be, we found them mostly sleeping or at least at rest, and bearing the scars of many battles. We saw more juveniles than mature beasts, and more females than males. Unfortunately their numbers are in serious decline due to loss of habitat, encounters with humans and continuous battles with one another. How sad to think their future could be in question as they are such incredibly majestic animals.

KING OF BEASTS
KING OF BEASTS

“Adventure: extreme circumstances recalled in tranquility.”

Jules the Kiwi

THE MAIN MAN'S MANE
BATTLE SCARRED

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller

As we all know, time does fly. Although it feels like yesterday, it’s been nearly 8 years since we experienced this marvelous adventure. Digging deep into the archives, I’ve included only shots not previously posted – with thanks to the Weekly Challenge for the pleasure of  revisiting fond memories while making my selections.

One final thought; despite my aversion to an early wake-up call, in Africa daybreak and sunset are the times when the animals are active, and mid-day sun is nearly unbearable. Even for me though, the daily 5:00 am departure hardly seemed a challenge when the promise of Africa was on the  agenda.

So…. close-up or environmental portraits? I must admit I’m partial to the close-up myself but I enjoy the habitat shots almost as much. How about you? And if you’re in the mood to enjoy the adventures of some other bloggers click here.

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