African Adventure – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Hereโ€™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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

โ€œLife 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,ย  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

โ€œLet your imagination be your adventure and see where it takes you.โ€

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

ย โ€œAdventure 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.โ€

Craig Ferguson

CAT IN A TREE

CAT IN A TREE

“Even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.โ€

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

โ€œI’m an adventurer, looking for treasureโ€

Paulo Cuelho

THE LOOKOUT

THE LOOKOUT

โ€œMake 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.โ€

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 ofย  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 theย  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.

108 thoughts on “African Adventure – Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Must we choose – I like to see both: the close-ups as well as the environmental shots. Each tells us something different. These are magnificent animals and you captured them so well. My favorites are the cheetah and wildebeest portraits, so incredibly expressive.

  2. Pingback: Behind the Mirror [PHOTO CHALLENGE] | Ramisa the Authoress

  3. You had me at the first line โ€œHereโ€™s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.โ€ ๐Ÿ™‚ Incredible photos, and the big cats are such a sight in their natural habitat…and as loisajay mentions, the way you have captured the spirit of these animals via capturing the life of their eyes, really a great series of photos.

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Randall, I must agree with you, that quote is terrific. I may have to start using it as my email tag line. The adventure in Africa is quite a life-changer and the photos are a wonderful reminder for me.

  4. Magnificent photograph Tina! Such wonderful animals. What a pleasure it must be to see them first hand in their natural habitat. As a huge fan of Wilbur Smith in my youth, Africa has been one of those places I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t managed yet. One day I hope. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Lovely portraits, Tina. The hyenas (especially the one in the Look OUt photo) look so innocently charming, I would not have believed they were crafty just by looking at your photos.

  6. Tina, this is a post that makes my heart fill with joy. All the photos are marvelous (as are the quotes). I love cheetahs and our younger daughter loves hyenas for some unknown reason. I’ll have to send her the link. I may never have the pleasure of an adventure in Africa, but I feel a tiny bit of the thrill from having ready this.

    janet

    • Thanks so much janet – your comment warmed my heart! Must admit your daughter is the first I’ve ever heard of who loves hyenas – ya never know, do ya?! You’ll have to let me know how she likes the post. Then you’ll have to take her to Africa ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. The quotes are enough for me to take the great adventure and my own sanctuary but with the photos of the great wilds makes me want to include this is my bucket list. Thank you, Tina, for sharing your adventures. Perpetua.

  8. Of all your blogs I’ve visited, this one is probably one of my favorites. Your candid, close up shots seem to capture the spirit and heart of the animal.

    • Many thanks Jude – yes, it took several days to find our first leopard and then we just got lucky! How interesting you liked the Lookout considering how much people dislike hyenas!!!

  9. Hi T, I Never tire of your photos from Africa! No elephants today …. Good thing because their eyes make me want to cry….you know what I mean??
    These are incredible!

    • Thanks Jeannie; I know EXACTLY what you mean about the elephants. I put them in the header if you go to the actual post but decided they deserve their own post later so am holding back ’till then ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Jane, me either. It was fun going back – I actually went to the original CDs which I still had! (who me, hoarder???) Anyway, our trips together have all been great, haven’t they?!

  10. Your photos are always beautiful, Tina, but I think I am with you on the close-ups. The eyes of each of these gorgeous creatures are just so focused. It’s as if they don’t even know you are there…they see something else far more interesting. Thank goodness for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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